The sense of smell is one of the most powerful cognitive tools. From a biological stand-point, the olfactory bulb, which houses the sense of smell, neighbors and connects to the limbic system where memory is created, processed, and retained. Mentally, smells and odors can create nostalgia, trigger emotions, and elicit "flashbacks"-- allowing individuals to directly associate a certain smell to a specific person, place, or event.
During a session, a counselor might utilize essential oils while guiding clients through talk therapy. The combination of the aromas and recalling memories or emotions can draw forth physical feelings on certain parts of the body; and from there, the therapist can assess areas and direct questions to address any trauma or pain correlating to that specific body part(s).
Aromatherapy can be applied in more than one fashion-- through deep breathing exercises, direct skin contact by use of cotton or paper applicant, or through a diffuser.
Aromatherapy can benefit an array of mental health conditions or disorders, but is especially useful for those with:
- Past traumatic experience
- Domestic violence experience
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks