Embraced by the ancients, and proven by modern science, scent therapy can be serious therapy -if practiced with discipline and focus. In an era addicted to the quick fix, therapy that requires extra effort can be daunting.
You can pop a pill anywhere and change your mood. But you can't light an aromatherapy candle while multi-tasking on your computer, media blaring, cell phone ringing, and expect the desired results. That's because all of those ambient noises and distractions produce emotional reactions that cloud the results.
The power of aromatherapy to affect our moods lies in the fact that scent "cuts to the core" so to speak, scoring a direct hit on the most primal part of the brain, home of the emotions. Aromatherapy can be a true emotional intervention, if you can clear your mind.
Scent therapy requires that you participate in your recovery; demands that you isolate, concentrate, and meditate. Here's a little guidance to set you on your way.
Upbeat Scents and Moods:
Start with scents known to promote joyful, spontaneous and happy moods. The affect of upbeat scents is easier to identify, especially the impact of mints, like peppermint.
Pick up essential oil of peppermint and a burner, or a quality aromatherapy candle with peppermint as the top note. Avoid paraffin. Soy candles burn cooler, dispersing scent into the room.
Put yourself in a quiet and undisturbed place. Turn everything off. Shut everything out. Focus on the scent. Breathe deeply, relax, and let yourself drift...to a sunrise, a starry night sky, an ocean at tide.
Now, experience the aroma drift into the back of your mouth: let the essence fill you, surround you, and affect you. Feel your whole being respond and your mood change.
Your mood will change. If you need scientific proof, there are hundreds of studies to draw from: "Shizuo Torii, a professor at Toho University...showed that some scents produced a calm brain-wave pattern, and some showed a stimulated pattern... peppermint stimulates; nutmeg and lavender reduce stress..." The Futurist, Sept.1, 1990
Here are other "happy" scents you'll want to try as you continue your exploration:
Grapefruit is all about freshness, newness and a joyful spontaneity. It is a great way to start the morning.
Cinnamon, a warm essential oil, is native to Sri Lanka but lives in our collective conscious as an affable and happy scent, benevolent and invigorating,
Spearmint stimulates alertness. In combination with a mood-boosting lime or basil the effect can be quite a pick-me-up.
After a few weeks of eye-opening aromatherapy, move to the other end of the spectrum and try scents that produce a quieter, reflective, and centered state of mind. These are the scents of inner peace, meditation and spirituality.
Scents and Moods of Peace and Quiet
You might begin with frankincense, a haunting aroma prized for creating calm, and inner peace; properties so wonderful it was considered a commodity more precious than gold during the time of Christ.
Do not judge the scent, or compare the fragrance. Just be aware of its affect. Once again, we relax and breathe deeply; feeling the aroma traveling through our brain and then through our spirit. Let the essence completely envelope you as the noise quiets, thinking stops, and tranquility sets in.
Other scents to help experience these emotions include:
Juniper: The lively scent of juniper--at once familiar as the wood in pencils-- supports inner vision and intuition. And, helps induce a reflective and thoughtful mood.
Geranium balances, uplifts and heals. And can help lessen the anxiety of withdrawal
Lavender, the preferred essential oil of the nursing profession, is a woody floral coveted for its calming, embracing and comforting spell. This is a scent to help you chill out!
You can practice anytime, anywhere. During the day, light an aromatherapy scent in your office as a reminder to close the door for a moment, relax and take it easy. But whatever you do, practice.
Our sense of smell bridges every step of our evolutionary journey. Scent is so primary to how we intuitively connect to the world; it resonates at the deepest levels of consciousness.
In deep meditation, you clear a channel choked up with fear and confusion. The universe flows. It is no longer a hostile world. You move through a field of knowing, and understanding, and calm.
At this level of being, you can experience a profound sense of belonging. It's in you.
Aromatherapy can help you find it.
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