Aromatics and Techniques For Naturally Stimulating The Brain

Posted on Wednesday 20 April 2011

Despite its widespread public acceptance being relatively recent, evidence shows that civilizations have been stimulating the mind with essential oils for thousands of years. Archaeologists and historians have found proof that ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Roman, and Greek civilizations all used some form of the techniques described below to alleviate mental and physical illnesses.

Essential oils are comprised of volatile plant material and are a liquid concentrated version of a plant’s scent. Some of the most popular scents specifically for stimulating awareness are bright scents, such as lemon, rosemary and sage.

Aromatherapy is the process of using scents, specifically those found in essential oils, to stimulate the senses and engage mental processes. The most popular uses of aromatherapy are memory stimulation, mood improvement, general cognitive function, and health improvement. Aromatherapy is often grouped under the umbrella of alternative medicine. Researchers who study the effects of scents on the brain cannot come to full consensus on whether it has a scientific basis.

It has been found than many essential oils do in fact result in changes in chemical processes that affect thinking. The most commonly noted is the ability of many essential oils to inhibit an enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine. This is the brain’s “information processing” neurotransmitter, and inhaling essential oils potentially will increase the amount of this substance in the brain. It is not yet agreed upon, however, that these changes result in measurable changes in mental acuity.

Many different methods exist to deliver these aromas to reach the desired end, though they are often broken down into three categories. Users can determine which method works best for them based on an already standing personal routine or a desire to try something new in hopes of sparking a new mental process.

Aerial diffusion methods are one popular delivery method used. Diffusion in this way can take many forms. Sometimes there is a conducting material, such as wooden sticks, soaked in the oil in order to diffuse the scent throughout the room. Other times the oil is heated slightly in order to prompt the spreading of the scent. This method is most effective in smaller enclosed spaces.

Some people prefer to directly inhale the scent in order to prompt mind stimulation more quickly. Its immediacy is thought to create a quick awakening to the senses and the mind, making it very popular. The most common inhalation technique involves steaming an oil in water and leaning over the steaming mechanism and inhaling deeply.

Finally, topical applications allow a more readily available and portable method of mind stimulation using oils as no actual props are needed to deliver the benefits. Topical application is most commonly associated with massages, baths, compresses, and skincare regiments. Because of the perceived benefits of aromatherapy scents, many businesses have incorporated essential oils into lotions and other skincare products in order to add additional benefits to their products.

Regardless of how the oils are delivered, they are each thought to cause different stimulating effects. Mental processes are thought to be impacted by their use, including relaxation (examples include basil, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemongrass, and rosewood), reduction of stress or anxiety (lavender, peppermint, cypress, lemon, black pepper, and rosemary), and memory enhancement (rosemary, cedarwood, and sage). These scents can also be mixed to create a combination effect.

Though users feel strongly about the positive effects of aromatherapy, and the body of scientific data is growing, some professionals still believe that mental stimulation is just a placebo. However, most doctors agree that patients who find it to have beneficial qualities should include it as part of a well-rounded health mental scheme.

The benefits of aromatherapy practices go far beyond simple aromas. Learn more about the important health supportive properties of others such as rosewood essential oil and mandarin essential oil.

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