In ancient times, physicians used the sense of smell as a diagnostic tool. They knew that particular diseases caused particular smells or odor changes in the body. Arthritis and rheumatism carry an acid smell, diabetes has an acetone smell in the urine, perspiration odors can tell about the functioning of kidneys, while the odor of feces can say which part of your digestive tract is affected. The sense of smell is something native to the human body. It is said that the human nose has the ability to distinguish even thousand different smells in its subconscious mind. This is why aromatherapy works for human beings.
How do aromatic oils affect emotions? A smell can bring up a vivid memory of things. Be it the scent of a flower or the aroma of an apple pie, your subconscious mind rises up the memory associated with that particular smell even after so many years. This is followed by a string of emotions associated with the memory (good or bad). With such a deep connection between the olfactory nerves and emotions, one cannot doubt the effect of aromas on our emotional wellbeing.
Everything starts with the sensory nerve endings in the nose. When these sensory nerve endings sense odoriferous molecules (aromas), they immediately relay the nerve impulses to the part of the brain called the Limbic System. Since the Limbic System activates the pituitary gland (the seat of hormones) and the hypothalamus (the part which controls body functions and endocrine system), the aromas affect the emotional and physiological wellbeing of an individual. Unlike the skin which processes impulses in a much complex way, the nose or the olfactory system relays impulses readily, making aromatherapy one of the best and quickest ways to set right your emotions.
Healing oils for emotional balance: Emotional transformation cannot happen in split seconds – psychoanalysts know it is a complex process that involves rationalization and acceptance of an individual’s situation. But aromatherapy is different. It overpowers the rational mind, bringing a sudden surge of happy and peaceful emotions. It can even affect the memory aspects of your body. However, one should understand that reaction or response to aromas vary from individual to individual. Though lavender is a calming oil, if an individual has an unpleasant memory about it, he may not respond to it in the expected way. In which case, a different oil is to be tried on him.
The below list can help in easing emotions with the appropriate essential oils:
1. Depression: Essential oils like basil, bergamot, chamomile, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, lavender, neroli, geranium and jasmine can be used in treatment of depression.
2. Anger: Anger or aggressive behavior can be controlled or managed with chamomile, jasmine, marjoram, ylang-ylang, rosemary, palma rosa, melissa, bergamot, lemon, juniper etc.
3. Fear: Fear can be crippling if left untreated. Oils like cedarwood, fennel, ginger, thyme, pachouli, sandalwood, clary, jasmine and basil can be used to reduce your fear palpitations and relax your mind.
4. Hypertension or hysteria can be treated with chamomile, lavender, neroli, orange, tea tree and melissa.
5. Impatience, irritability, disturbed state of mind can be treated with chamomile, camphor, marjoram, frankincense, clary and lavender.
6. Grief or sorrow can be alleviated if hyssop, marjoram, rose, benzoin, jasmine, rose and rosewood oils are used.
7. Stress: Stress is a constant in everyone’s life. To reduce stress, you can use bergamot, atlas cedarwood, geranium, lavender, sweet marjoram, sandalwood, vetiver, ylang-ylang, petitgrain, rose, melissa, clary sage and all citrus oils.
8. Aphrodisiacs: Clary sage, jasmine, patchouli, ylang-ylang increase the secretion of endorphins and increase sex hormone activity.
9. Memory stimulators: Black pepper, lemon, peppermint, rosemary and other such oils stimulate the Amygdala and hippocampus in the brain to improve functions related to thought and memory.
10. Sedatives: Oils like chamomile, lavender, marjoram and orange blossom aid in sleep by secreting serotonin in the brain.