The sense of smell is the first active sense in newborn babies, along with hearing it creates a way for babies to recognize their environment. A baby recognizes his mother by her smell, for example.
Unlike the rest of the senses, which get processed by the brain (a receptive organ, a translation and a proper reaction), smell doesn’t go through any translation. The scent gets carried directly into the brain which then receives it without going through the thalamus (a part of the brain responsible for getting information from the senses and then passing it along to the different parts of the brain).
The sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain, which is responsible of processing sensorial data, survival actions (FFF - Fight, Flight, Freeze) and their immediate reaction and feelings.
The sense of smell and taste are built like receptors that respond chemically to the concentration of substances. Both senses usually work in collaboration with each other. About 80% of the taste of food is established by the sense of smell.
Thanks to our sense of smell we can receive information and identify different situations of danger such as: smoke, gas, bad food etc. for example, we smell the food then classify it as tasty or not tasty and recognize when it’s gone bad. This works also with identifying people by their perfumes, body odors and deodorants.
Our sense of smell unconsciously effects our choices in life partners (boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife)- pheromones. It also effects our memories (the memory of our favorite home cooked meal, a certain perfume that we associate with different people in our lives or some specific information). Furthermore, smell effects our immune system and our endocrine system.
Researches prove that some of our non-verbal and unconscious communication is done by our sense of smell… accepting or rejecting one person or another.
In alternative medicine we acknowledge molecule frequencies, so some may say that we recognize smell by identifying its frequency.
Aromatherapy is made from two words put together: Aroma- scent and Therapy - taking care of the body, mind or social state.
Aromatherapy is one of the methods in alternative and complementary medicine where we use essential oils and base oils (or vegetable oils) that are made from aromatic flowers, medicinal herbs, spices and trees.
The term “Aromatherapy” was first embedded by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist who discovered the capabilities of the lavender essential oil to cure burns quickly and without leaving any scars, this after he got heavily burned from an accident at his lab and then proceeded to dip his hand in the lavender oil. Still today the French are considered to be manufacturers of high-quality aromatic and essential oils.
The ancient Egyptians used aromatic and essential oils in their religious rituals and in order to keep away the bad spirits.
The Indians mentioned the healing powers of aromatic plants such as: rose, ginger and coriander.
The Japanese used aromatic oils in their rituals of beauty, self-care and hygiene.
The Hebrew people used aromatic plants in their temples for special rituals, both the Myrth oil and the Frankincense oil are mentioned quite a few times in the bible.
I use essential oils (aromatic) for both mental situations like: improving moods, the capability of coping with traumatic situations (the death of a loved one, rape and more), stress/ excessive pressure and physiological situations like: wounds, benign tumors, burns, skin irritations, stiff muscles, urinal infections etc. In addition to that I also use it for spiritual situations like helping reach a meditative state and focus.
There’s not one person that enters my clinic after I had used aromatherapy in my treatment and doesn’t react to it by saying “what an amazing smell”, “nice”, “refreshing”, each person experiences it differently.
You can use essential oils as part of a treatment bottle that consists of several oils put together, according to the problem at hand, or as one bottle containing one oil for treating one specific thing.
I believe that by being the first sense we physically experience, smell has the ability to help us heal or fix the things that have gone wrong within us.