Last night as I was treating my pulse points to a generous dose of our Aromatic Bedtime Treatment and and giving it a few deep inhales from my palms, I wondered to myself – how exactly does this stuff work? How is it that some concentrated essential oils can produce a complex scent that specifically targets my restless mind and helps calm it down, bringing deep relaxation and sleep a little closer? Naturally I turned to Tata and Leilani (one of the experts in our lab – we’ll introduce her to you later) for answers and what they gave me was fascinating. If you’re curious as to how exactly an aromatic treatment accomplishes what it says it’s going to, and are ready for a fairly scientific answer, here we go:
Essential oils are concentrated plant essences, aka liquids, extracted through a distillation or expression process, that have psychological and physical effects on the human mind and body. When a person inhales an essential oil, that scent is carried by over 10 million olfactory nerve cells (!!!) in the nose to the olfactory system, which is located at the top and on both sides of the inner nasal cavity, which then sends the aroma to the limbic system in the brain, which is the center for our emotions and behavior.
So how do essential oils affect us physically? The sense of smell can be directly linked with reactions in our physical body. The autonomic nervous system is not usually in our conscious ability to control, and includes activities like breathing, digestion, walking, heartbeat, etc. However, essential oils can influence these functions by triggering the release of neurotransmitters into our blood stream. Some of these neurotransmitters include Encephaline and Endorphins which reduce pain, produce pleasant, euphoric sensations, and create feelings of well-being, as well as Serotonin that helps relax and calm the body. Certain essential oils like Neroli and Roman Chamomile have exactly that effect on the mind and body, which is why they are star actives in all 3 of our Aromatic Treatments, all of which aim to de-stress and relax in some way.
Did you know our sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than any other sense and that the recognition of smell is immediate? Other senses, like touch, travel a different path to the brain via the spinal cord where the sense is then recognized and processed in the cerebral cortex to determine how to proceed with this stimulus. The sense of smell is different because it is the only place in the human body where the central nervous system is exposed and in direct contact with the environment, and does not need to be registered by the cerebral cortex. Fragrances and scents reach the innermost control centers of our brain, even before we consciously know we are in contact with one.
If you’re curious to try out one of our our Aromatic Treaments and see the magic of aromatherapy in action for yourself, check out our treatment options here.
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.