Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition


Aromatherapy and essential oils for Mental health, memory, mood, and cognition

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition

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"Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary, and fleeting yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountain", quoted Diane Ackerman. Science established the fact that aromascents can actually improve the functioning of the human brain. Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils is widely employed across the world in treating patients suffering from insomnia, migraine, digestive problems, eczema, asthma, stress, depression, sundry other mental and physical disorders.

In this article, ’Aromatherapy and Essential oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition’, we shall look into various ways in which aromas and scents can help improve the brain functioning, cognition, memory, mental health, mood, and many more facts alluded to the same. 

Aromatherapy and Essential oils in healing

Healing the mind, body, and soul using various scents or fragrances made from natural substances through various techniques like massage, oral inhalation, or dermal application techniques is termed Aromatherapy. The term 'Aromatherapy' was coined by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist.

Aromatherapy is primordial and it has been administered in treating several maladies. Since ancient times, healers have been making use of this treatment, and evidence of this has been found in ancient Indian, Egyptian, and Chinese civilizations.

Depending on the ailment, different oils are used for different treatments because, each oil possesses unique therapeutic benefits. These oils contain certain chemical compounds, which on application, enter the main blood stream and in relevant molecular or cellular levels, exert psychological effects by acting directly on the brain, suggesting that the effects are pharmacological.

Types of Aromatic Oils

Several plant species like lavender, neroli, valerian, chamomile, bergamot, anise, basil, cinnamon, jasmine, mogra, sandalwood, rosemary, etc have been of significant aid in the administration of aromatherapy. Oil is extracted from these species through simple distillation process.

Sometimes, multiple oils are blended to yield the desired results. Probably the most common and widespread ways of aromatherapy administration are dermal application and inhalation. Sometimes, they are orally consumed too.

Aromatherapy and scents in our daily lives

Smells, scents, or aromas play a significant role in our lives. They have great potential in affecting our moods, energy, and emotions. They also affect our psycho-physiological conditions. 

The scent of incense sticks, soil before the advent of rain, flowers like lily, jasmine, shiuli, lavender, rose, etc make us feel tranquil and transcend us into a serene ambiance. Many people claim to be more confident after applying a fragrance of their choice. Did you ever experience nostalgia after feeling the scent of something close to your heart? Did you ever sniff a lemon to get rid of nausea? Did your head ever ache terribly after sniffing a strong, unpleasant odor? Undoubtedly, aroma and scents play a crucial role in human lives.

Why is Aromatherapy gaining popularity?

Stress, anxiety, work-related pressure, tension, etc have become integral parts of our lives. Living blissfully and sleeping peacefully have almost become scarce in our sophisticated world. These negative emotions have vitiated our natural state of balance and rhythm, resulting in various kinds of disorders like asthma, diabetes, obesity, mental disorders, eczema, hypertension, cardiac troubles, etc. 

Aromatherapy tries to find the root cause of your problem. It doesn't obliterate the problem completely rather tries to soothe you, calming your mind, and wiping away the devitalizing thoughts. 

Now you must be wondering how this can heal your troubles and enable better functioning of the brain.

Our brain is the primal organ of our system which controls almost everything related to our body. For holistic well-being, it is essential that both physical health and brain health stay fit. Since they are intertwined, any sort of disturbance in one can affect the other. 

The Sense of smell and its prominence

Before we get into our core topic, ‘Aromatherapy and essential oils for mental health, memory, mood, and cognition’ let us first emphasize on the prominence of the sense of smell.

In a survey done on teenagers, they were asked to choose between one of the given options.

1. Give up on their sense of smell.

2. Give up on their social media accounts.

Astoundingly, the majority chose to give up on their sense of smell rather than losing their social media account. That's how little we care about it. We devalue it almost ignoring its prominence. Let me give you a quick note on the vitality of our sense of smell.

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Human nose has 5 million receptor cells that sense the stimuli, and the circuit thus goes with the end result being the response sent by the brain, identifying the smell. The olfactory (smell) nerves play a vital role in this orchestration.

The flavor of the food you eat comes from what you smell. If you try to eat an orange or any food item, with your nose pinched, you could feel the sweetness or taste, but not the flavor. That's why food doesn't taste good when your nose is blocked.

A baby recognizes its mother from her scent. Parallel to other senses, the sense of smell also aids in pattern recognition. Smelling fragrant flowers before sleep can lead to more positive dreams. Another life-changing fact is that people over the age of 57, possessing a weak sense of smell, were found to be 4 times more likely to die within a 5-year period compared to people with a good sense of smell.

I highly recommend purchasing Pure Source Aroma diffuser oils. In this purchase, you would get 6 types of exquisite essential oils namely lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, mogra, lemongrass, and rosemary, 15 ml each at a reasonable price. The manufacturer, Pure Source, is a genuine and trusted brand. With This Pure Source India Scented Diffuser oil you can transform your home, workplace, or hotel room into your personal aromatherapy oasis with elegantly designed diffusers and aroma diffuser oils. You can infuse these essential oils into any setting and create a spa-like experience anywhere life takes you.

All you need to do is add a few drops of these oils to your candles, diffuser, or potpourri and let the magic unfold. You can also simply apply them on your body and enjoy the rejoicing aroma. After a stressful day at work, when you get home, the aroma of these oils soothes you from within and declutters your mind by easing stress, tension, and helping you sleep better and relax. Moreover, these oils are much safer alternatives to usual candles and incense sticks considering pets and young children. Another exclusive benefit is that they repel insects and pests from entering your home. Click the link or image below to buy from Amazon. After all, you are a special person who deserves something special like this. If you are still hesitating about the benefits these oils offer, check out the topic mentioned below.


Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition

Aromatherapy is now being employed across the world as a supplementary treatment to the originally prescribed method to speed up recovery. The benefits it has to offer are plenty. In this section, Aromatherapy and essential oils for mental health, memory, mood, and cognition, we shall explore several ways in which aromatherapy helps.

1.Promotes Neuroplasticity and Improves Mood

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to learn by adding new connections or improving existing connections of the neurons. Aromas and scents, also promote the plasticity of our brain. Exposure to multiple odors increases the number of brain cells and the connections between them. This suggests that aromatherapy aids in attention, learning, and memory related tasks.

The basis behind aromatherapy is that some sorts of smells stimulate your brain to release endorphins which help in elevating your mood and fighting away free radicals( waste). This soothing effect lifts your mood making you feel light, optimistic, and tranquil.

Rachel Sarah Herz, an American psychologist says, "I love my nose. Because it makes my life delicious and joyful". She also adds, "Our sense of smell is fundamentally tied to the quality of our lives".

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2. Improves memory and mental clarity

Have you known that memories triggered by smells tend to be clearer, more intense, and emotional? This is because the part of the brain that processes smell (olfactory lobes) has direct connections to the parts of the brain that processes memories. Your sense of smell connects you right away to the Amygdala (emotional part of the brain). 

Have you been struggling to remember the concepts you learnt? Very often does it happen that we study something at night and wake up the next morning to oblivion, barely remembering anything. If you’ve been there, here’s a life-saving point you must immediately make a note of. In one of the studies, it was found that lavender oil helps with memory and recalling information.

It was found that a person exposed to aromatherapy scents (especially lavender oil) will be able to recall information much faster (when exposed to the same scent when the information was first presented) compared to a person who was not expected to any aromatic scent and asked to recall the information presented before.

Yet another experimental study was conducted on 30 college students in Korea to investigate the role of rosemary (essential oil) in memory retention. It was suggested that list learning and verbal span were significantly improved in the experimental group than the control group.

3. Reduces the risk of Neuro-degenerative diseases

As we age our ability to sense/ distinguish smells decreases due to cognitive decline. People who experience this have a higher proclivity to be attacked by neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and Dementia.

Aromatherapy doesn’t just completely rule out diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia but instead contributes a great deal of help in the treatment required.

According to a study published in Cochrane Library, the most distressing features of these neurodegenerative diseases are the behavioral and psychological problems. Aromatherapy might not help much with regard to cognitive dysfunction but instead it helps in reducing the distressing behavioral and psychological features.

Lemon and lavender based oils are particularly used for treatment of Dementia and Alzheimer’s due to their neurochemical properties and cognition improving abilities.

4. Resistance to Stress, Depression, Anxiety

Perhaps, this aspect doesn’t require much explanation as most of us are already familiar with its wondrous effects. A scent can adversely impact one’s mood for better or for worse. But have you known that your sense of smell can make you immune or atleast provide some resistance against various mood disorders?

A pilot study, carried out with eight subjects, for six weeks, aimed at addressing the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy massage on mood, anxiety, and relaxation in the category- adult mental health.

The subjects’ levels of anxiety and depression were measured prior to and right after the completion of the study. Results suggested that improvement was shown in 6 out of 8 subjects when the levels of depression and anxiety were measured against HAD (Hospital Anxiety and Depression) scale.

(RELATED: Self-compassion: 12 Proven ways to be kind to yourself)

Concluding: ‘Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition’

Aromatherapy is now gaining widespread popularity due to its exquisite healing benefits. Now, there’s something to note in this regard. Aromatherapy is not the solitary cure for any kind of disease or ailment. But, it definitely speeds up the process of recovery by contributing to the treatment. Don’t try advanced aromatherapy massage techniques unless you are rightly qualified. Because, there have been instances when such techniques backfired.

I hope my article, ‘Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Mental health, Memory, Mood, and Cognition’ is of assistance. Subscribe to my newsletter to get all updates delivered straight into your inbox.

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