The Science of Aromatherapy

How essential oils enter the body:

Surprisingly, the nose itself is not the “organ of smell”. It simply modifies the temperature and humidity of the air we inhale and collects any foreign matter which may be breathed in. The first cranial nerve (olfactory nerve) is responsible for the sense of smell and serves the receptor cells, of which there are 2 groups of about 25 million, each occupying a small area at the top of the nostrils (Van Troller 1993).  Access via the nasal passages is the quickest and most effective route in the treatment of emotional disharmony such as stress and depression. The reason is that via the olfactory nerve the nose has direct contact with the brain which is responsible for triggering the effects of the essential oils that are being utilized virtually in an instant.

When essential oils are inhaled, the volatile molecules in the oils are carried by eddy currents to the roof of the nose where delicate cilia (hairs) protrude from the receptor cells into the nose itself. When the molecules lock onto these hairs, an electrical message is transmitted via the olfactory bulb and olfactory tract to the limbic system. This may trigger a memory or an emotional response which can cause messages to be sent to the other parts of the brain and the rest of the body. The received messages are converted into action(s) resulting in the release of euphoric, relaxing, sedative or stimulating neurochemicals. The neurochemicals are the change agents that create the desired therapeutic results from the oils that are inhaled.

Each essential oil carries its own exclusive electrical foot print. All essential oils, whether used individually or as a blend, are recognized and interpreted by the brain as unique.

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