Olfaction Therapy consists of inhaling the scents of essential oils to help balance moods and emotions, improve alertness, cognition and memory and restore wellbeing and emotional wellness. Although nobody knows how it works, it is believed that it works because of the olfactory system's direct link to the limbic system and because of the link between odours, olfaction, memory and emotions.
Smelling the natural scents of essential oils are known to by-pass waking consciousness and help us reconnect with our instinctive nature and past experiences. It seems that each fragrant odour has a story to tell and can help us process our painful feelings and emotions rather than repress them. Through patient recollection and introspection, we may reach a place where we can diffuse the negative impact that such hidden powerful influences have on our current wellbeing. Olfaction therapy can also help us become more aware of how we respond to life's ups-and-downs and help us release our trapped emotions thus allowing our energy to flow more freely.
The idea of a fragrant olfaction therapy is not new as some of the greatest physicians in history such as Galen and Avicenna already believed that the heart could be trained to respond with joyful emotions when smelling fine fragrance and that the sweeter fragrances fortified body and spirit and were highly beneficial to the physical heart. For example, the scents of lavender can improve respiration, decrease pain and induce sleep while rose can reduce emotional pain.
The sense of smell & the olfactory connection: Essential oils first enter the body through the nostrils and contact the olfactory receptors at the top of the nose. There specialise receptor cells will decode odour molecules and transduce them into electrical messages that will travel through the bony cribiform plate (tiny perforations in the skull above the nose) and reach the olfactory bulbs for further decoding. Odorant messengers will then move onwards via the olfactory nerve tracks and reach different areas of the brain but most particularly the limbic system. Once the brain has received the odorant messages, it may respond with a physical, physiological or mental stimulus.
Our sense of smell is closely involved with some of our deep instinctive processes and smelling an essential oil can result in mood or emotional changes. This is not entirely a surprise as the sense of smell is known to be the most direct contact the brain has with the external environment. It is the oldest of the five senses and is quite unique in the way it conveys sensory signals to the brain. The scents of essential oils are known to stimulate the area of the brain that houses the control for the emotions (e.g. unpleasant and intense emotions such as rage, hostility, etc). The messages from the scents of essential oils can reach deep within the mind and tend to bring into consciousness difficult and latent feelings and help release them. Although the effects of the scented essential oils, may only be temporary, they can help restore feelings of inner peace and deep contentment and in general bring in a more optimistic outlook to life.
1. Where does Essential Oils Therapy come from?
The revival of interest in essential oils was instigated by the French perfumer- chemist RM GattefossÃ© (1981-1950) at the turn of last century after a long period of being eclipsed by the rise of modern medicine. Later on, Dr J Valnet (1920-1995) and M. Maury (1895-1968) added their own research and experience of essential oils to this growing body of knowledge. These three pioneers had a special interest in the psychological and physiological activities of essential oils and were the original contributors to what became aromatherapy as practiced today. Since these early beginings, aromatherapy has moved on and is practiced worldwide but there is a lot of confusion about what aromatherapy really is as many people assume that essential oils have to be applied with a massage to be efficient which is not the case. This combined with a lack of scientific evidence has limited the acceptance of essential oils as therapeutic and medicinal cures by the medical profession, although, they are widely use in pharmaceuticals and 'dermal care'. Essential oils have been/are investigated for their therapeutic properties such as antifungal, antimicrobial, antidepressant, etc. Essential oils are also an important natural resource, not only for us but also for the bees and insects who depend on them and should be treated with care. To address the demand for a professional qualification in use of essential oils, the International Federation of Aromatherapists has created a syllabus specifically for Essential Oils Therapy and offers accreditation and membership to practitioners who complete one of their accredited training courses. click here for courses.
2. What is Essential Oils Therapy
Essential Oils Therapy is a specialised branch of aromatherapy which uses essential oils from aromatic plants to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. The study of Essential Oils Therapy does not include any other forms of therapy or massage; instead, it focuses on the potential healing power of the fragrant odours of essential oils and on the benefits gained from of making individually formulated remedies for each client. Essential Oils Therapy can be used in a therapeutic context combined with other health therapies. Although, the medical profession has been so far doubtful about the claims made by professional aromatherapists because there is not enough evidence that supports these claims, essential oils are very popular because they help deal with the 'human factor' in illness. Currently, many essential oils are being studied for their antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal and potential antibiotic activities and a number of them have proven to be effective as anti-infectious agents. Additionally, some researchers are also investigating the vibrational energetic properties of essential oils in order to understand their more subtle effects on the mind. Essential Oils therapy is a safe and non-addictive complementary therapy and can be used on all age groups, genders and even in veterinary medicine.
3. What are Essential Oils Therapy Benefits?
Essential Oils Therapy can provide deep relaxation, promote good health, decrease anxiety, decrease stress, help restore emotional balance and confidence, help increase alertness, help stimulate memory, help rebalance moods, help diffuse the intensity of past emotional trauma, help recovery after ilnesses, help encourage self-discovery and self-awareness for spiritual growth and can be used to train the mind to respond to certain scents with a happy mood.
4. How does Essential Oils Therapy works?
Essential Oils Therapy uses essential oils to bring better health and wellbeing. Essential oils can be inhaled and interact with the sense of smell and the limbic system which may help stimulate menta function, help adjut moods and decrease emotional stress. essential oils can also enter the body via the lungs wthen we breathe and pass into the blood stream and eventually reach the local body tissues and energise cell function. Finally, essential oils can be blended with vegetable oils, creams and the likes and applied to the skin where they will diffuse through the epidermis and again have an effect on local circulation or travel further and energise the whole body and promote healingThe effects of essential oils on the body may be physiological and/or psychological, for example, they can encourage hormone release, decrease pain, help with depression, improve general energy levels, improve circulation, etc. . Practitioners will use either 'olfaction therapy' or/and formulate 'aromatherapeutic remedies' while chossing an ppropriate method of delivery to suit client's needs. Olfaction Therapy consists of inhaling the volatile molecules from essential oils using smelling strips, inhalers, sprays, steam inhalation, etc and is more suited for dealing with mental, emotional or spiritual issues or to help with psychosomatic conditions. An Olfaction Therapy session will include a consultation anda specialist EOT health assessment followed by a discussion with the client about possible options for treatment and outcomes. The PEOT practitioner will then make up remedies and/or during the session begin tointroduce certain of scents essential oils the client and record his/her repsonse. The first few sessions will be aimed at building trust between client and practitioner and at developing a supportive therapeutic relationship.