BRAIN CHEMISTRY AND EMOTIONS: PART 3
In the part 1 and part 2 of Brain Chemistry and Emotions, we covered the many ways the brain and hormones are responsible for our emotional well-being. Now let’s talk about how our sense of smell and essential oils can play a major role in helping with emotional trauma.
As scientists have studied to understand the neural basis of emotion, they have discovered that the limbic system of the brain plays a vital role in interpreting and channeling intense experiences, particularly memories of fear or trauma. Interestingly, the two parts of the limbic system that play a major role in emotional processing-the amygdale and the hippocampus-are located within less than an inch of the olfactory nerve.
Olfaction, or smell, is the sense that is physically the closest to the limbic system structures of the amygdale, which is involved in experiencing emotion and also in emotional memory, and the hippocampus, which encompasses memory: working memory and short-term memory. This gives you an idea of how closely linked the sense of smell is to emotion and memory.
Researchers agree that the amygdale – one of several structures in the cerebral cortex – plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma and that aroma has a profound effect in triggering those responses.
Many of the biochemicals in essential oils – particularly sesuqiterpenes – can increase blood oxygen levels in the brain. The stimulation of both aroma and oxygenation seems to affect the amygdale in ways that facilitate the release of stored emotional blocks, both in the subconscious and in various body systems.
Combining the aroma of essential oils and oxygenation regularly over time – accompanied by mental focus and intent – has proven to be effective in many cases for resolving unexplained physical problems that were rooted in past emotional trauma.
ESSENTIAL OILS THAT CAN HELP*
*From the Essential Oil Desk Reference 6th Edition, for a full list of emotions and oils, see pages 421-424