The scent of essential oils is more than just a nice smell. Here you’ll find information on how essential oils affect the mind and advice on sourcing the best essential oils to support your mental and physical wellbeing.
Can scent impact the mind?
Aromatherapy has long been associated with having a positive effect on the body and science has shown us that the natural chemical compounds found in essential oils can indeed impact the mind.
Once an essential oil is detected by the nasal cavity, scent signals travel up to the brain. The brain then reacts to these chemical compounds by signalling us to turn up our noses in disgust or to perceive an aroma as pleasant and enjoy its scent.
Scent’s journey to the brain passes through the body’s olfactory nerves and concludes in the olfactory bulb area of the brain. This controls our emotions and, once there, scent can have a wide-ranging effect on the mind and can even stimulate the amygdala gland to release emotional trauma.
Can scent support wellbeing?
Scent’s holistic impact on the mind means it is capable of helping to trigger emotional reactions and this is why certain scents can make us feel calm, happy or relaxed.
Emotional wellbeing factors that can be affected by scent include:
- Relieving depression and anxiety
- Reducing stress
- Supporting sleepiness/relaxation
- Improving mood/a positive mindset
The olfactory bulb also sends scent signals to the limbic system and the holistic benefits of scent can have a positive effect on heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance.
Best essential oils for emotional wellbeing
With essential oil blends featuring at the centre of the Alexandra Kay wellbeing range and essential oils used in many Green People organic beauty products, we create our scent profiles very carefully to give maximum benefit to wellbeing.
The best essential oil scents for emotional wellbeing are:
Lavender: This sweet and aromatic scent evokes a feeling of calm and tranquillity and is an essential oil that we use in our Time to Sleep essential oil blend. You will also find Lavender Oil in our soothing shower gel and bath washes and in our Silent Night skin care set for infants that resist sleep.
Lavandin: This essential oil has a similar soothing property to Lavender and is a hybrid of two species of Lavender. Used in our best-selling Organic Babies Soothing Baby Salve, it has fresh and floral scent and is best inhaled by dabbing the salve onto the temples or pulse points.
Bergamot: Citrus-fresh Bergamot also has a subtle floral undertone and can both uplifting and relaxing! An ideal essential oil for when you’re feeling unsettled and anxious, Bergamot is used to make the Time To Ease Muscle Relax Body Oil and is the top note in our Time to Relax and Time to Sleep essential oil blends.
Mandarin: Like Bergamot, Mandarin essential oil has a sweet, fruity scent with a delicate floral, undertones. This makes it effective at for soothing the nervous system and relieving stress. In Time to Sleep we blend its tension-reliving properties with Bergamot and Lavender.
Rose Geranium: The sweet, floral scent of Rose has a balancing effect on the body and helps to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. Inhale this soothing scent whilst you sleep by applying our Age Defy+ Hydra-Glow Sleep Mask before bed. Made with essential oils from Rose Geranium, Bergamot, Lavandin and Mandarin, its natural actives nourish the skin while its scent soothes the mind.
Ylang Ylang: Delicate Ylang Ylang has properties that can be helpful with anxiety, shock and fear. It also helps physical exhaustion, insomnia, and stress. You can find Ylang Ylang in The Age Defy+ Hydra-Glow Sleep Mask and the Age Defy+ Pure Luxe Body Oil. When purchased together they create the perfect pamper night set for mind and for body.
Best essential oils for physical wellbeing
Feelings of discomfort can be eased with essential oils and the best scents for easing aches and pains are:
Vetivert: This herby scented essential oil helps relieve nervous tension, restlessness, and muscular pain and is used to make all three Alexandra Kay essential oil blends.
Frankincense: This earthy scent has a spicy undertone and its properties relieve stress, aches and pains. We use it in our One Balm which can be used to care for skin, lips and cuticles. We also like to smooth it onto our pulse points before we unwind by practicing yoga or mindfulness.
Black Pepper: Featured in our Time to Ease Muscle Relax Body Oil, Black Pepper Oil feels warm on the skin and because it is a long oil, it is ideal for teasing out tension through massage.
Eucalyptus: This herby essential oil opens the airways and is great for when you have a cold or are experiencing muscular pain. If you are prone to feeling congested try hanging a fresh bunch of eucalyptus in the shower and inhale its soothing properties as you cleanse or, if you prefer, wash with our Eucalyptus-scented Green People for Men No.5 Energising Body Wash.
Ginger: Ginger’s warm and settling properties mean it is often used to in herbal teas to help soothe feelings of sickness. Its warm, energising properties are also great to muscle aches and we use Ginger Oil to make our Time to Ease Muscle Relax Body Oil.
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