Scents and ‘Scensibility’ II

I am always amazed at the senseless marketing of scents. It is true that since the dawn of time mankind has been aware of and utilized scent as a medicinal as well as a pleasure tool. Today though, through the mad marketing mentality we are inundated with images of happy people smelling good smells and the idea that scents are needed to ‘balance’ our lives and all of the stresses we must endure in this modern age.
We expose our families and pets to a myriad of different odours from moment to moment without a thought as to how this is affecting ourselves and the ones we love.
First let’s look at some science on how scents work.

Very plainly, smells go up our nose and the molecules or little particles attach themselves to our olfactory membranes in the lining of our nose and cause electrical impulses to the part of our brain called the amygdala and other parts of the limbic system (this regulates your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, hormones). So smells can trigger changes in our body and mind by altering chemical and hormonal levels.

Now we come to a hot potato in the media today; the endocrine disruptor. The endocrine system is one of those regulating systems that produce hormones, that is affected by the limbic system. It is ‘disrupted’ when we inhale scent. Any scent. This system is also disrupted when any chemical is absorbed by our body either through ingestion or topical application.
These days we are mostly informed that the use of all of these endocrine disruptors is harmful to us such as dioxin, DDT, fluoride, bisphenol, to name a few. This would be accurate.
Right now the world seems to be enamoured with the use of essential oils to assuage their daily trauma. What people seem to fail to realize is that essential oils are made up of chemicals as well. Some of these with hazards and safety issues all their own. Although these chemicals are naturally occurring chemicals they can have profound effects on the body as well as the mind. They are endocrine disruptors.
Each person in the world has a specific set of criteria for their needs and what is good for one person may not be good for another. There are weight, health, size, age, gender, diet, and the use of prescription and over-the-counter medication to consider. Also, the extent to which people apply their scent can cause incredible side effects and reactions. Just because something is natural does not mean that it is safe in any circumstances.
I find it amazing that a whole culture has developed around the DIY health treatment with essential oils. Even massed produced essential oil products are marketed as ‘safe and natural’. For the most part they are. But then, so are antibiotics. If I take penicillin, I will die. My neighbour won’t. So how can you tell?
We are a society of symptoms. In this time of holistic medical advancement we should strive to find the root cause of our issues. To continue to self medicate with anything is not an act of self love, it is an act of denial. I shiver with dread when I read some of the aroma-recipes that people post on-line. Pinterest is not your friend.
Am I advocating we all stop using essential oils? No, of course not, I’m an aromatherapist. I am simply saying that we need to stop slapping and sniffing all sorts of chemicals to try and find our happy place. We should be trying to find someone with a qualified background who can help find the root cause of our distress. There are those of us who have been studying for years and have achieved degrees and certifications from certified institutions. We study not only aromatherapy but chemistry, biology, physiology, botany and have access to the latest news and research in the field and are familiarized with drug interactions. We want to help you find out why you think you need help. We are, for the most part, holistic aromatherapists.
Finally, a word about our furry friends. A dog’s sense of smell is anywhere from 1 000 times to 10 000 000 times more effective than yours. So, what is happening to them while you are diffusing eucalyptus all through your house? As for cats, aromatherapy is not recommended. Give your pets Reiki, they’ll love you more. For that matter, your kids too. Let their systems grow naturally without help, it doesn’t need it.

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