Essential Oils, Memory + Emotion

flowergirlWhat is the strongest memory of a smell that you can recall instantly? Perhaps it’s your Grandmother’s hand lotion, or your dad’s favorite recipe. Our experience demonstrates that scents are powerful anchors in our memory, with the ability to transport us instantly back in time. Have you ever wondered how this works?

When different aromas enter our olfactory system, they also pass through the brain regions that connect directly to areas that process memory (hippocampus) and emotion (amygdala). “This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.” (1)  Scientists have shown that odour-cued memories are much more poignant than other memories, and are associated with much stronger feelings than visually-cued memories. It’s worth noting that our other senses do not pass through these same brain regions, nor do they seem to elicit such vivid emotional responses.

Essential oils sit in a category all their own. They smell incredible. In fact, their unqiue aromas help us distinguish between them. But did you know that the physiological impact of smelling an essential oil is as fast-acting as it is powerful?

When we inhale a high quality essential oil, via a diffuser, or by applying it on our skin, the signals transmitted by these microscopic molecules effect changes in our brain (and subsequently in our body) within 15 seconds after use. Aside from helping us manage a variety of emotions, such as stress, anxiety or depression (2) we can utilize this knowledge of essential oils to anchor our own experiences, including when we practice meditation, manifestation, affirmation and visualization techniques.

When we create vision boards in an environment paired with pure essential oils, and the creation of a personalized blend of oils we’re drawn to, we give ourselves the power to breathe life into our vision, and to call upon this memory, vividly, at any time in the future. Creating a custom blend with the intention of smelling the same aroma down the road, offers our future self the ability to teleport back to a particular day and the intentions we set when creating our vision.

Most of the research conducted with essential oils has occurred through the use of aromatic applications, and has provided a wealth of evidence showing the effectiveness of this approach.

When we apply this knowledge to an event, such as this upcoming Essential Oils and Vision Board Workshop, we bond our creativity and intention together, linked to our beautiful blend, giving us several gifts to guide our path forward throughout the coming year(s).

Our bodies possess hundred, perhaps thousands more receptors for smell than for any other sense. New research has even shown that every organ in our body possesses scent receptors, lending even more credibility to the power of essential oils to effect powerful changes within our body.

To learn more about the aromatic effects of essential oils, I highly recommend Dr. David K Hill’s article, The Power of Aroma