Updated: Jun 26, 2018
Scent and fragrance have an incredible ability to open up the brain to new ways of perception, enabling the creation of positive feelings and resulting in new approaches to life.
Science tells us that our sense of smell is the only sense whose sensory messages do not go through the rational part of the brain. Instead it connects with instinctive and unconscious behaviour.
This poses a question of whether it was the first sense to be developed in the course of evolution.
Let's explore how scent awakens nerve impulses, triggers your unconscious responses and affects your brain.... with just one breath, an incredible process of sensory stimulation begins to transform your consciousness!
When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules rise to the top of the nose and meet the olfactory mucous membrane.
The olfactory membrane has thousands of receptors that identify the smell and thus, the sensory stimulation is sent through the olfactory bulb, which acts as an amplifier, through the olfactory nerve into the limbic system of the brain.
This is the oldest, reptilian area of the brain. It deals with emotional and psychological responses that rule our basic instincts.
The limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses.
The scent is compared to a known scent, compared and labeled, thus we can have memories associated with the scent information and react emotionally and physically through our autonomic nervous system.
These responses are determined by the specific qualities of the essential oil being used, and can range from relaxing to stimulating.
The nerve impulse in the limbic system leads to other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones and regulating body functions.
The entire process from the initial inhalation of the oil to corresponding gland secretion takes place in a matter of seconds.
Therefore, a simple inhalation can cause changes in the body from stimulating the immune system, to initiating the digestive system into action and so on.
The action of smelling something bypasses our conscious mind, causing minute changes in our brain chemistry that in turn send signals directly to our automatic responses.
Nerves, muscles and internal organs - all these systems respond to these signals, changing our tone and response to situations that override conscious thought.
By using specific scents, we can intentionally address the body’s physical, mental and emotional responses.
This is the foundation of the practice of aromatherapy.
Humans have been doing this since time immemorial, as perfumes and incense are some of the most ancient means of adornment, beauty and spirituality.
Because the nose is the ONE organ that does not regenerate all through one’s life, scent has an unparalleled ability to bring back memories in a whole sense - meaning that a scent can conjure up and evoke entire scenes from the past, including its taste, texture, emotions and so on. This gives scent and the nose a prominent (and central) place in matters of healing past issues.
By changing our brain chemistry, we are literally changing our energy structure and our potential for aligning with other energy structures - specifically the energy structure of our goal.
The scent pattern you use will be the most important tool in structuring the changes you wish to bring about.
We can speak the language of scent and command its power, in subliminal and conscious ways, to create emotional well being.
It is no wonder the ancient Egyptians considered the nose the most important sense that human beings possess!
Today, Scent is considered to be one of the most promising areas of research for medicine. We anticipate that scent medicine will provide answers to currently insoluble medical issues in the next few decades. Watch this space!