How does Fragrances work on Human Psyche?

How does Fragrances work on Human Psyche?

Perfumes and essential oils have been associated to pleasure and happiness since ages. It used to be a luxury of the elites of the distant past. Though the concept of the use of aroma for therapeutic purposes exists since first century, but over the recent years, there is an increase in the interest for Aromatherapy. This is because people have started to realise that essential oils act as medication for mind, mood and emotion. Originally, all medications were natural and people used Ayurveda and essentials oils as mode of medication. Due to capitalisation, industrialisation and the sole good of the pharmaceutical companies to earn easy cash, cheap and artificial chemicals and ingredients are being used. With past revising itself, now there is a major shift in emphasis from these chemical cocktails to natural treatments. Incorporation of aromatherapy into the designed psychotherapies is being realised as an important part of holistic therapy.

Essential oils enhance both health and mood. These oils either be applied on the surface or inhaled. This can be done by either diffusing the oil or by applying it on your clothes or as a linen spray. Essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin but it has to be mixed with a carrier oil first. When we inhale the fragrance the molecules of the essential oil immediately interacts with the olfactory organs, the respiratory system and the brain. During inhalation, these molecules go to the receptor system, which is the limbic system that acts as the emotional brain. This system contributes to control blood pressure, stress, hormonal balance etc. This connection explains why a certain scent elicits a certain emotion.

Mind and body have a strong connection in a way that one is bound to effect the other. It is often witnessed almost all the physiological disorders are caused by psychological factors, like stress is known to be the leading cause of cancer. A number of researches has been conducted on how aromatherapy can affect psychology. Many essential oils have been found to affect the mind. For example Lavender which is adaptogen which means that it has different effects depending on the quantity used, one drop of lavender can help someone fall asleep however a few extra drops of lavender can act as a stimulant and have the opposite effect. Essential oils help in enhancing the mood, hence is advised to be used in the hospitals to make the place warm and accepting.

"Stress reduction" is the biggest benefit of essential oils. Aromatherapy is found to reduce stress and anxiety. It can help prevent onset of diseases and control stress related disorders like blood pressure.  In fact, many counselling centres use essential oils in their clinics to make the clients more comfortable and they feel more at ease and are open to talk freely.  Psychotherapists can give their clients essential oils to use in conjunction with therapy. Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Bergamot, Chamomile, Vetiver and Rose are some of the best essential oils to reduce stress. They relieve stress, relax the body and promote better sleep. In addition, fragrances bring back vivid memories of pleasant times which can help people relax during anxiety provoking situations.

Essential oils also help to boost mood and reduce feelings of irritation making a person feel happier and calmer. Essential oils like Lemon, Sandalwood, Orange, and Rose have been found to enhance mood and make the person feel relaxed. "Lavender" is one of the most versatile oils in addition to calming and inducing sleep, it eases depression and anxiety. If you feel low try the refreshing "wild orange" essential oil, it has been shown to increase positivity. "Peppermint" boosts your energy and helps to clear your mind, it has amazing calming powers. Essential oils also improve the atmosphere in your home. You can simply diffuse the essential oil to make your home feel warmer, welcoming and to promote tranquillity.

Essential oils can help those suffering with depression and aromatherapy can be used in conjunction as a holistic treatment. Essential oils demonstrate benefits as a complementary therapy. Essential oils help to improve the quality of life. For some it improves the symptoms of a disorder, while for some it enhances the effectiveness of the treatment.

Thus using essential oils as a holistic treatment is now gaining more prevalence because it is easy to use and very effective.

About the Author

Neeta Shetty
Psychotherapist and Life Coach.

I have done M. Phil in Psychotherapy and pursuing my PhD in Psychotherapy and Counseling. I am also practising as a Psychotherapist and Life coach.

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