How does aromatherapy affect the brain?
Aromatherapy is a common holistic practice that uses natural plant extracts to promote physical and emotional health and well-being. These plant extracts are known as essential oils, which have powerful aromas that are most commonly used through inhalation by diffusing the essential oils or topically, on the skin, by diluting the essential oils in a carrier oil. Practicing aromatherapy by inhaling the aromas of essential oils is commonly used as an alternative holistic method to improve both physical and mental well-being. Essential oils can be inhaled via several methods including using a diffuser that spreads the aromas of the essential oils into the air, soaking a cotton ball or cloth and inhaling the scent, creating a spray, or by more convenient methods such as Nasal Inhalers or Personal Aromatherapy Diffusers.
How does aromatherapy work?
Aromas have the ability to trigger memory recall—think back to a time when you smelled something that brought back a vivid memory from your childhood or even just an emotional response that you couldn’t quite understand. Aside from having pleasant aromas to enjoy, the inhalation of essential oils is a practice used by many for the physical and psychological benefits that essential oils can provide when they interact with interconnected systems in the body. In short—essential oils are thought to have therapeutic effects by stimulating the olfactory system, which is connected to the limbic system in the brain—the part of the brain which controls functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. The olfactory system is the structure of the body responsible for our sense of smell. The olfactory system begins in the nose and continues into the brain, where smells are processed and can influence mood and behavior. The aromas of essential oils work their way through the olfactory system all the way to the brain, via several chemical processes. There are millions of chemical receptors located in the nose that detect odors and send signals to olfactory bulbs, where those signals are sent along olfactory tracts to the olfactory cortex of the brain. The olfactory cortex in the temporal lobe of the brain is where the processing of these aromas happens—it also happens to be part of the limbic system, which is responsible for the processing of our emotions, survival instincts and memory formation. The limbic system contains the amygdala, hippocampus and hypothalamus—the structures in the brain responsible for forming emotional responses and memories, indexing and storing memories, and regulating emotional responses, respectively. Inhaling essential oils for aromatherapy is thought to be able to influence emotions and memories due to the direct connection that the olfactory system has to the limbic system.
How different essential oils effect the brain
Different essential oils are known to have different chemical properties, so when choosing an essential oil or blend of oils for aromatherapy, it’s important to know what oils to look for depending on what emotional or physical concerns you are looking to treat.
Essential oils to reduce stress and fight insomnia
Aromatherapy is often used as a method of relaxation and there are several essential oils that are used to reduce stress and promote a peaceful mindset. Lavender is an essential oil that is most often used for its therapeutic ability to induce relaxation and reduce stress—there have been studies that show that inhaling the aromas of lavender oil can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety symptoms.
Try: MOXĒ Dream
MOXĒ Dream essential oil blend contains lavender, lemongrass and grapefruit essential oils and helps to reduce sleep disturbance by promoting a peaceful mindset and naturally reducing stress. MOXĒ Dream Essential Oil blend can be purchased in either a MOXĒ Personal Aromatherapy Diffuser or a MOXĒ Nasal Inhaler.
Essential oils to improve concentration
Certain essential oils are used for their ability to improve focus and concentration, due to how the stimulating aromas travel through the olfactory system and interact with the limbic system to produce feelings of alertness, as well as improve memory. Peppermint oil is one such essential oil that is known for its ability to have an immediate effect on focus and concentration. Rosemary oil is another essential oil that is often used for its ability to help sharpen attention and memory. A 2016 study found that rosemary oil may have the ability to enhance memory due to how the aromas interact with the limbic system in the brain, after students carrying out memory tests in a room filled with the aroma of rosemary oil achieved 5% to 7% better results than those who did not take the exam with the aroma of rosemary oil.
Try: MOXĒ Breathe
MOXĒ Breathe is an aromatherapy nasal inhaler that contains Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Cajeput, Tea Tree, Lavender and Rosemary essential oils, as well as Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. This aromatherapy inhaler combines natural plant therapy in energizing essential oils that help you inhale yourself into focus and fight headaches, using the power of therapeutic essential oils. The invigorating aroma of the essential oil blend contained in MOXĒ Breathe stimulates the senses and can help to improve focus, concentration and enhance memory!
Essential oils to improve mood
Since aromatherapy is known for its ability to influence mood and emotions, its no surprise that there are specific essential oils known for their ability to improve one’s mood and promote feelings of happiness. Fennel and cinnamon oil are two essential oils that are known for their ability to help boost mood and reduce negative energy in the body. Fennel oil can provide clarity and elevate the soul, while cinnamon oil warms the body and increases blood flow to the brain—providing a foundation where happiness can thrive.
Try: MOXĒ Happy
MOXĒ Happy essential oil blend contains fennel, thyme, cinnamon and sage essential oils. The uplifting aromas of this essential oil blend can help to elevate the mood and repel negative energy. MOXĒ Happy Essential Oil blend can be purchased in either a MOXĒ Personal Aromatherapy Diffuser or a MOXĒ Nasal Inhaler.