So you’ve heard that essential oils can address many physical as well as psychological issues, but you have never understood how they work. Here’s a quick primer – especially geared to science minded skeptics:
When inhaled or applied onto the skin, essential oils are able to affect our minds and emotions. The aromas have a potential emotional impact that can relax the mind and uplift mood.
Scientists tell us that our sense of smell is approximately 10,000 times more acute than our other senses and responsive to about 10,000 chemical compounds. Once perceived, scent travels faster to the brain than either sound oright.
When we inhale the aroma of an essential oil, molecules move through the nose where they’re perceived by the nerves of the olfactory membranes. These odor molecules stimulate the nerve cells which trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to the amygdala – where emotional memories are stored – as well as to other parts of the limbic system.
Since the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels, hormones, breathing, memory and balance, essential oils can have profound psychological and physiological effect. Ultimately, olfactory responses to smell cause the brain to stimulate the release of neurochemicals and hormones and that can alter the body’s physiology and behavior.
I hope I didn’t get too ‘sciencey’ on you, but I wanted you to understand how powerful the aromas of essential oils can be. Hopefully, you are now more open to their potentially positive affect on your teen’s ablity to focus and concentrate.
Here are some fascinating stats:
This is from the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, compiled by Connie & Alan Higley:
“A university in Japan experimented with diffusing different oils in the office. When they diffused LEMON there were 54% few errors, with JASMINE there were 33% fewer errors, and with LAVENDER there were 20% fewer errors.
When oils are diffused while studying and smelled during a test via a hanky, cotton ball or plastic nasal inhaler, test scores may increase by as much as 50%. Different oils should be used for different tests, but the same oil should be used during the test as was used while studying for that particular test. The smell of the oil may help bring back the memory of what was studied.”
So what is the best way to use essential oils:
- Sprinkle several drops into a diffuser. (There are many good ones, not just this one.)
- Inhale deeply 3-4 times from the bottle.
- Mix with a carrier oil – such as coconut or avocado oil – and add about 10 drops of a blend. Put in a roller bottle and apply on the wrist, neck, or forehead when needed.
- Buy a blend already prepared in a roller. (See below.)
- You can even purchase colored markers that contain essential oils!
Here are my recommendations for prepared blends of oils that can aid in gaining focus and clarity. Different oils stimulate different areas of the limbic system. You may need to experiment to see what fragrances are enjoyed as well as most physiologically responsive:
21 Drops: contains Frankincense which induces clarity;peppermint stimulates the mind; rosemary reduces fogginess.
Focus Essential Oil Blend: Vetiver, Cedarwood, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Ginger Root, Sandalwood, Patchouli Cablin, Nutmeg which have calming, grounding properties emotionally and physically. Lemon, Red Mandarin, Cinnamon Leaf, and Melissa enhance focus by gently stimulating the mind. Frankincense enhances self-esteem
Eden’s Garden Synergy Blend Stay Alert: mixture of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint and Pine which all aid in keeping the “mind steady and clear”.
Plant Therapy Brain Aid: a mixture more known oils to clear the mind and help it stay on task: Pink Grapefruit, Bergamot, Palmarosa, Juniper Berry, Basil linalool, Lemon, Rosemary, Peppermint, May Chang, and Star Anise.
Just like drugs don’t work the same for all, the same is true for essential oils – everyone’s biochemistry is uniquely unique. Since the worse it can do is have no effect, it certainly is worth a try!
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