You know that feeling when you catch a whiff of a scent and it brings you back to a different time and place? The smell of fresh-cut grass might bring you back to weekends in your childhood, a passerby's cigar might remind you of your grandpa or a cup of coffee remind you of your travels in a faraway city.
Smell is one of the most powerful senses for invoking memories. That's because the olfactory system is connected to the limbic system which is where we store emotions and memories. Whenever we breathe in a scent, the olfactory system processes it and then sends it through the nervous system to the limbic system1. Once in the limbic system, the scent triggers responses in our brains based on memories and experiences associated with that particular scent. This connection is what makes aromatherapy such a powerful tool for flipping the switch on your mood.
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils topically and/or aromatically to promote wellness. Some studies have shown that aromatherapy can help provide relief from anxiety and depression, a better quality of life for people with chronic health issues and dementia, pain reduction, relief from nausea improved sleep2.
One of the simplest ways to reap the benefits of aromatherapy is by adding your essential oils to a diffuser, like our AquaFlame color-changing fountain. The falling water from the tabletop fountain will naturally lift the scent of the essential oils into the air around you so that you smell it with each breath that you take.
So now that you know the benefits of essential oils through aromatherapy, you're probably wondering which oils help promote what moods. Since we each have our own emotions and memories, different scents can trigger different feelings and produce different moods for each person. In general though, the makeup of a lot of essential oils have specific chemical elements that help promote calming, relaxing, energizing or uplifting feelings.
Relaxation: Whether you're having a particularly stressful day and need to just chill a little, or you're trying to decompress before bed, these essential oils will help set a relaxing atmosphere.
- Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils out there, probably in part because it's so versatile. Some of the benefits of lavender oil include promoting feelings of calm and fighting occasional nervous tension3, making it perfect for both relaxation and your pre-bedtime routine.
- Patchouli is another name you'll probably recognize, it's used in a lot of soaps and perfumes. This musky-scented oil has a calming and grounding aroma that can help relieve tension after a long, stressful day4.
Energy: For those mornings where you just can't get out of bed or fighting off that afternoon slump, these oils will help you feel energized.
- Peppermint oil is a staple in most essential oil lover's collections. The bright, invigorating scent is a great way to wake up your mind and create a focused and energized mood. It’s also great for relieving headaches5!
- Lemon has its own bright and clean scent that creates an energizing, focused and uplifting atmosphere that will help you feel refreshed no matter what time of day it is6.
- Orange essential oils have uplifting and energizing properties similar to lemon oil, but the aroma also has a calming effect that can reduce anxiety and tension. Uplifting + energizing - anxiety = happy7!
- Geranium essential oil has a strong, sweet floral scent that helps create a peaceful, happy environment. Added bonus, it can help keep bugs away so if you're using your AquaFlame outdoors, you can combine a few drops of this with the included citronella oil for extra protection8.
These are just a few of the many essential oil options out there, not to mention essential oil blends that you can make on your own or buy in the store, but this pretty basic list is a great starting point. What are your favorite essential oils to diffuse and what moods do they help you promote?
1 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-babble/201501/smells-ring-bells-how-smell-triggers-memories-and-emotions 2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566 3 https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0030-1250136 4 https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/healthy-ingredients/ 5 http://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol7Issue07/jpsr07071524.pdf 6 https://www.youngliving.com/blog/lemon-essential-oil-uses/ 7 https://www.sid.ir/en/journal/ViewPaper.aspx?ID=267537 8 https://curehht.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Geranium-Oil-Benefits.pdf