Smell is one of the strongest of the five senses, and it is connected to one of the deepest parts of the brain in which our basic instincts are governed, explained Geraldine. “When we smell an aroma it triggers both an emotional and physiological response and is capable of improving our general state of health and wellbeing.” She said.
Our sense of smell is also linked to our memory, which is why specific scents, perhaps ones we recognise from our childhood or another particular moment, will stimulate a wide range of emotions besides just making us feel more relaxed or awake.
Whether you are planning on mixing your own oils or purchasing them from the shop, below are some of Geraldine’s top tips to make sure that you are in the know:
- When choosing aromatherapy products steer clear of those that contain mineral or sulphonated oils as these can inhibit the performance of the essential oils.
- When concocting your own essential oils you will need a carrier or base oil to dilute the essential oils that you plan to use. Undiluted oils are very potent and if used on the skin when too concentrated they could cause irritation. Grape seed and sweet almond oil are two of the most popular base oils.
- If adding essential oils to a bath no more than five drops will be needed, whilst in shop bought bath soaks the percentage of oils will only be around 30 per cent.
How do I know what scent to choose?
As discussed above, certain scents can impact our mood and thus you may feel drawn towards specific smells.
Ylang-ylang and lavender for instance, are renowned for their calming properties, whilst petit grain (an oil extracted from the twigs of the orange plant), is known to be a relaxant for the body and the mind.
Our body requires different things at different times, so whether we are craving sleep or feeling lethargic, the oil you need will be dependent on the requirements of your body at that particular time.
If you do some investigating and find that after that you are still confused, Geraldine recommends pure frankincense oil, which she says provides a grounding and supportive effect during stressful times, and is a great oil to get you going.
For further information about aromatherapy, visit our fact-sheet.
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