Aromatherapy relies on Smell, Inhalation & Skin Absorption
- Smell & Inhalation
Have you ever walked into a home and smelled freshly baked cookies? Did the aroma remind you anything? Our sense of smell is the most primitive of our senses and is rooted to some of the oldest and deepest parts of the brain (thalamus, hypothalamus and hippocampus). Scent memory has a much longer term than visual memory.
Our memories of odour are stored within the limbic system which is the centre of emotional behaviour (fear, anger, happiness, joy). It is also with memory, that memories of odour also reside.
The olfactory is the part of the nervous system that is concerned with our sense of smell, olfaction. Odour is translated into nerve messages to the thalamus and hypothalamus region. Here, the hippocampus, (the emotion and memory silo) controls the storage of your memories.
To translate this science to aromatherapy, as we breathe in the aromas of the essential oils, it can be said that the odour will trigger emotional and even physical responses and allow vivid memory recall. The scent of some essential oils may represent peace and tranquility while others will not. Essential oils are the platform of aromatherapy while the odours are its foundation.
- Skin Absorption
The molecules of essential oils are miniscule thus enabling them to penetrate the skin via the hair follicles and sweat glands. Through skin absorption, essential oils are absorbed by the capillaries and lymph where they are then transported around the body by the circulatory system. Like an aspirin or any other form of medication, they ‘go where they are needed’.