Many people take the benefits of inhaling essential oils for granted. Something smells pleasant, or it does not. Yet only the sense of smell has a direct connection with the brain. It also is considered to be the oldest sense.
Think about that immense power. The sense of smell helps alert us to danger, the nearness of a loved one, and most powerful of all – triggers deeply forgotten memories.
Essential oils are often diffused into the air to calm, cleanse, energize, or purify the environment of an area (a room, a hospital ward or workspace, etc.) Inhaling diffused vapors can be the most effective way of drawing in the benefits of essential oils – far more effective than through topical or ingested means.
This is how it works:
When inhaled, essential oils become a vapor that connects with the sensory nerves of the nasal passages. That vapor is converted into an electrical charge and carried through the olfactory nerve, to the olfactory bulb, into various receptor sites of the brain including the limbic region, and on to the hypothalamus where it is again diverted. The electrical charge(stimulated by inhaling the essential oils) will trigger memory, learning, or emotional responses.
At the same time that some of the inhaled aromas are converting and traveling to the brain, other essential oil molecules are drawn through the nasal mucosa and alveoli in the lungs into the blood circulation.
Isn’t it amazing how inhaling essential oil vapors can so quickly and completely circulate through our bodies!