Living with cancer blog
Explore the uplifting effects of aromatherapy
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. April 13, 2013
Think back to the last time you experienced a pleasant smell. Remember how it made you feel? For me the smell of fresh-cut grass puts my mind at ease and instantly relaxes me.
The scent of lavender makes me less anxious and ready to fall asleep. I also love the smell of lemon — which reminds me of my mother's lemon pie and summer.
These are just a few examples of how scents can have a powerful effect on the mind, influence your mood and lower anxiety.
Aromatherapy usually involves the use of essential oils extracted from plants. However, other pleasant smells associated with fond memories can have a positive effect on mood and perspective.
Some studies on aromatherapy have shown these benefits:
- Lower anxiety and stress levels
- Improved mood
- Improved quality of life
You may want to explore using aromatherapy in your daily routine. It may be a helpful form of stress relief that's easy to incorporate.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy may be inhaled directly or indirectly, or applied to the skin through massage, lotions, oils or bath salts.
Aromatherapy works by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, sending messages via the nervous system to the limbic system — a part of the brain that controls emotions.
Some common aromatherapy scents used for relaxation include: lavender, jasmine, chamomile, bergamot, rose, clary sage, neroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla.
Explore the scents to discover the ones that work for you. I'd love to hear any of your experiences with aromatherapy.
April 13, 2013
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.