Scent is a powerful thing. It can make your mouth water, or get your heart pumping, or even trigger a memory. Even though humans aren’t exactly famous for having great sniffers—especially when compared to a lot of other mammals—it turns out our sense of smell is pretty gosh darn powerful.
At Rocky Mountain Soap, scent is an essential part of every product we create. You may think that we just make things that smell amazing, but a lot of thought goes into how and why we make our stuff smell so good. In some cases, we apply the principles of aromatherapy to our products with the help of our in-house herbalist, Tara. In other cases, we aim to evoke an experience. Using scent in different ways can have a profound effect on your mind and body, thanks to a complex system of nerves in your brain called the limbic system.
The nose knows Because the limbic system involves areas of the brain that help control instinct and mood—think fear, pleasure, or caring for your little ones—as well as olfaction (your sense of smell), you can use scent for aromatherapeutic benefits. But sometimes, it’s about triggering a memory or a good feeling (like a Vanilla Coconut scented tropical vacation, and sometimes you just need to be Refreshed).
This is how it works: after a smell enters the nose, it travels through the cranial nerve to the olfactory bulb, which helps the brain process smells. As a member of the limbic system, the olfactory bulb can easily access the amygdala, which plays a role in emotional memories (it’s also where the "fight or flight" reflex comes from).
Scent can be therapeutic If you’re feeling lethargic, the right scent can energize you. If you’re feeling anxious, the right fragrance can help you calm down. And if you’re suffering from a cold, a scent can help you breathe a little easier. Things such as diffusers, aromatic spritzers and even bubble bath use the power of scent to help us create the right atmosphere.
Maybe you’ve relaxed in a steam room before and felt the clearing power of Eucalyptus through deep inhalations. Eucalyptus is largely composed of Eucalyptol—which may help clear sinuses and relieve congestion. The main constituent of Peppermint Oil is menthol, a natural decongestant. If you’re feeling under the weather (something that’s bound to happen this time of year) drawing a hot bath and tossing in a Minty Eucalyptus Bath Bomb can help you breathe easy, just like our bath salts.
Citrus sparks positivity, and that’s a really good thing, because the notes tend to be crowd pleasers. But not only can scents like Sweet Orange smell mouthwateringly juicy, this super fragrant oil uplifts the spirit, eases anxiety and depression, and stimulates the appetite. The fresh yet soothing aroma blocks the brain’s receptors responsible for cortisol uptake, the dreaded stress hormone. Let your stress melt away at your sink with our Juicy Orange Bar, in the bath with our Juicy Orange Bath Bomb, or shed your stress with our Blood Orange Body Scrub.
When you think calming scents, what else comes to mind but Lavender. Known for its skin-healing and sense-soothing properties, Lavender has been used as a secret ingredient for the last 2,500 years in the bathwater of Greeks and Romans to help wash and purify their skin,and in folklore the sweet, floral, herbaceous plant was stuffed in pillows as a sleep aid. You can use it to help you drift off, either as an essential oil, or as part of a relaxing bath ritual. Lavender calms, sleep arrives.
You can use scent throughout every part of your day. Perhaps it’s an energizing blend of essential oils in your diffuser to help you get going in the morning, or applying our Stress Away Wellness Balm during a tough work day and letting the Rosemary ease tension invigorate your memory. And, of course, there is good ol’ Lavender to help you sleep.
You can take the power of aromatherapy on-the-go with our Wellness Sprays. Use them at home, at work, while travelling or for meditation. Mist them above your head and inhale deeply through the nose to bring you back to center. You can also spritz them on pillows and linens to refresh your home.
Diffusers are a great way to fill your home with enticing fragrances and you can customize them for the holidays, or to simply set a mood. Just add water and essential oils for an aromatherapeutic experience to relieve stress and give you a boost. Diffusers are also great for reducing pet and smoke odors, calming allergies, and even fighting cold and flu germs.
So go ahead, get creative and play around with aromatherapy and scent work for you in your life. Remember that it’s okay if certain scents make you turn up your nose. Just because something is said to be relaxing, that doesn’t mean it will have that effect on everyone (especially if you have a not-so-great memory associated with it). Find the smells that work for you and harness the power of scent in your life!
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