Aroma Therapy Notes (from practice)

Notes from therapists from the Madison VA:

It seems that Lavender works pretty good for you, but not so much the sweet orange and rosemary. I know that Jaclyn had planned to work with you, on some clinical Aromatherapy when you saw her. Thank you for keeping such a great log. It seems as if taking that time for yourself, being in the present moment and recognizing where your breath is worked out pretty well. In the meantime, I would use just the Lavender, towards the end of the night, when you are preparing for bed. Some EO’s can give you headaches and such if you are using to much, so please make sure you are using just a few drops, enough to have benefit from the oil, but not so much that it overtakes an area. If you like the smell of the Sweet Orange, that is a good oil for areas that you want to improve overall smell ( especially smoky type smells). Sweet Orange is what we call a Top Note EO. What that means is it does evaporate very fast and can do wonders with it’s anti-viral properties. They are light, fresh and uplifting in nature. Top notes are highly volatile though, fast acting, and give the first impression of the blend. However, they are not very long lasting, as you may know.

For starters our sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than other senses. Once Aromas are registered, scent travels faster to the brain than both sight or sound.

Aromas can trigger emotional and even physical responses and allow vivid memory recall of people and places. Think of a time a smell has reminded you of something… Maybe your favorite place, a loved one or even a childhood memory. This is because the sense of smell is linked to some of the oldest and deepest parts of the brain.

The physical structures of smell found in the nose and brain are together called the Olfactory system. The sense of smell is a dynamic sense, its effect is not constant but immediate and then it fades.

Aromatic molecules are volatile meaning that they become gases and spread quickly. We inhale them with the air we breathe which is the first step to detecting an aroma, when the molecules connect with hair like cilia in our nose, the olfactory cells produce a nerve impulse which reaches the Limbic System. The Limbic system is one of the most primitive parts of the brain concerned with survival instincts and emotions. Scientists believe that the activity of the nerve signals passing through this region cause mood change by altering brain chemistry.

The nerve impulse eventually passes beyond the Limbic system to the Olfactory cortex, located towards the back of the brain. Here, the aroma will finally be recognized but by this time the brain and body will already have responded to it.

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