aromatherapy via inhalation
 the science behind essential oils....

Inhalation of Essential Oils; The Psychology and Physiology

Essential Oils enter the body through the skin and nose. They have tiny molecules, which disperse into the air and reach the nose. When inhaled the oils reach the olfactory epithelium, a small patch at the top of the nasal cavity, which contains about 5 million receptor cells. Odors are converted into messages, which are relayed to the brain for processing.

Brain activity has been observed and documented by brain scans and other imaging techniques. Smell triggers psychological and physiological responses in the body. Smell receptor cells transmit impulses about the smell to the olfactory area of the brain in the limbic system, which is linked, to memory, emotions, hormones, sexuality and heart rate. These impulses trigger neurochemicals and endorphins that can stimulate, sedate, relax, produce gratifying sensations, restore emotional equilibrium, or cause euphoria, thereby bringing about a mental and a physical change. The limbic system plays an important role in provoking feelings and memories and can assist in stimulating learning and retention. The limbic system works in coordination with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus area of the brain to regulate the hormonal activities of the endocrine system, triggering the production of hormones that govern appetite, body temperature, insulin production, overall metabolism which influence immunity, stress levels, sex drive, conscious thoughts and reactions. In the limbic system is the amygdala where we process anger, the septum pellucidum, where we process pleasure sensations and the hippocampus, which regulates how much attention we give our emotions and memories.

Additionally, smells have a powerful effect on the sex drive. One out of every four people who suffer from anosmia, a loss or impairment of smell, lose interest in sexual activity. Smells trigger a memory response. Smell memories may trigger changes in body temperature, appetite, stress level and sexual arousal. There are no short-term memories with odors, that is why a whiff of a familiar perfume can bring back a flood of memories so vivid it brings tears of joy because of the direct physical route which exists between memory and smell. Smells can transport us through time and distance. Have you ever walked into a room and smelled the exact smell your Grandmother wore, and found yourself smiling warmly without even realizing it. Conversely if you come across a smell that floods you with negative memories you may find your heart rate racing and a nauseous feeling at the pit of your stomach. Smell has a chemical response to stimuli, which explains the wave of chemical response to your stomach when confronted with a negative smell. A yummy smell may make you hungry because it sends a chemical reaction that stimulates your gastric juices. Vladimir Nabokov wrote, "Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell." The average person takes about five seconds to breathe, two seconds to inhale and three to exhale. During an average year, we breathe 6,307,200 times and with every breath, we smell. The human body is capable of registering and recognizing thousands of different smells. Smell is ten times more sensitive than taste. Although smell is incredibly precise, it is almost impossible to describe a smell to someone who has not smelled it. It only takes 0.5 seconds to respond to smell as compared to 0.9 seconds to react to pain. We all have our own genetic encoded odor print as individual as our fingerprints and only identical twins smell alike.

Additionally, women who live together have the tendency to menstruate at the same time every month. This is attributed to a natural scent regulation of women living in close quarters who pick up a subtle glandular odor allowing their bodies to regulate themselves by using the pheromones.

Source: Kayla Fioravanti

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