Breathe in the orange blossom to soothe her anxiety, jasmine to be more joyful or lemongrass to reconcile … Aromachology explores the influence of odors on our psyche and their ability to improve our well-being at daily. But can aromatic plants really change our moods? Explanations.
What is aromachology?
The use of aromatic plants for their curative effect on the mind has existed for millennia. In ancient Egypt, myrrh, the aromatic resin produced by the balsam tree, was burned at sunset to calm anxiety and improve sleep.
In ancient Greece, saffron scents were used to promote sleep and Hippocrates even claimed: “Perfume is a remedy to cure bad mood.”
It was only in 1982 that the term “aromachology” appeared, suggested by Annette Green, President of the Fragrance Foundation. The expert in perfumery then uses it to qualify the search for well-being and emotions through a fragrance.
Despite a common root, aromachology should not be confused with the aromatherapy . “It’s a branch of the olfactothérapie” explains Laurent Berlie, founder and director of Eona Laboratories , experts in aromatherapy bio. “More subtle than the aroma that meets a need physical care (infection, scarring), she studied the link between odors and psycho-emotional.
Essential oils of true lavender, geranium, tropical basil or ylang-ylang are commonly used to relieve stress, while black spruce, bergamot and rosemary are stimulating and help fight general fatigue. Oils of sweet orange, green mandarin and Roman chamomile have a calming effect that promotes falling asleep.
To take full advantage of the benefits of plants in aromachology, Alexia Blondel , specializing in essential oils, recommends the dissemination of a preselected gas in the room, to create an individual space of cocooning . Massage tension areas such as wrists, cervicals, solar plexus or feet with a few drops of essential oil diluted in vegetable oil is another effective method: it combines the relaxing effect of massage with the chemical properties of Oils that penetrate quickly into the skin “. Laurent Berlie underlines the immediate perception of the benefit during a single inhalation, on handkerchief or stick odor, which can be coupled with breathing sequences inspired relaxation therapy.
From the nose to the brain
Often relegated to the rank of unconscious, the olfactory sense is in direct contact with our emotions and our behavior. “In today’s society, the sense of smell has been totally neglected,” observed Pauline Dumail , aromatherapist. “The brain was originally an olfactory bulb. Smell is the primary sense of the human being, but one really realizes its importance and its intense connection with our emotions only when one suffers from anosmia (loss of smell) “.
When one feels an odor, a nervous impulse joins the limbic system, the core of memory and emotions. It is in this cerebral structure that the olfactory message is analyzed by our brain before being transcribed into a sensation of pleasure or displeasure. This real action is proved through the study conducted by Professor Arnaud Aubert, doctor of neurosciences and psychophysiology at the University of Tours. It demonstrates the calming effects of water to the fig flower on muscle tension, cardiac activity and voice after fifteen days of use. The fragrance effectively regulates stress and improves well-being.
Beyond their chemical compositions and their directly observable characteristics, aromatic oils offer this strange power to resonate with the intimate history and the very personal universe of each. “When I was little, my mother gave me a glass of water with a drop of orange blossom and a sugar when I was sick,” says Camille. “Even today, the smell of the orange blossom immediately appeases me. ”
Each of us can find a buried memory or an emotion in contact with an odor. It is precisely because they cause the reminiscence of a vision that certain plants reduce stress or anxiety. But can we reduce it to that? Not only as Pauline Dumail and Laurent Berlie, because essential oils have a “vibratory action” that goes well beyond. In his book And the smell? The nose upside down , Catherine Bouvet assigns three businesses with essential oils: Molecular (antiseptic, healing), bio-electronic (energy) and the third, “more subtle, linked to the past and the emotional content of each.”
Aromachology introduces another perfume vision. It is no longer an accessory of seduction but a resource that does us good, sometimes even without our knowledge. By allowing everyone to practice the gestures that heal and relax, aromachology contributes to our balance and our joie de vivre.