How does it work scientifically?
Why do fragrances affect us so much ? What makes them make us open the door to our hearts?
You must be wondering why fragrances affect us so much. So are a lot of scientist all over the world.They have discovered a connection between fragrances and memory triggers in brain. Memory is often associated with smell. They also believe that there is also a connection between fragrances and substances (neurotransmitters) in our body that influence physical attraction.
While breathing we inhale the fragrance molecules. These molecules are absorbed by the olfactory bulb, which is placed on the inner side of our nasal cavity, which eventually passes on these molecules to our brain.
The olfactory bulb contains special tissues consisting of millions of olfactory nerve cells that are coated with a thin layer of mucus. The olfactory bulb is the only place in the human body where the central nervous system is exposed and in direct contact with the outside environment.
The olfactory nerve cells are capable of carrying amazing amounts of information, so much so that they out performs almost every known analytical human affair. Smallest of information, of our environment, is conveyed through every breath we take. Vanilla for example, can be detected even in concentrations of 0.00000000762 grains per cubic inch.
The olfactory bulb can detect even a mere presence of an odour molecule, which the brain registers while we inhale. Hair carried by the nerve cells gets stimulated by the odour molecules and generates electrical impulses. Then these impulses are passed to the relevant location in the brain without even the cerebral cortex coming to know of it.
In the brain odour molecules are passed on to the limbic system (primitive brain structures that govern emotions, behavior, and memory storage). Where they interact or rather stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters like Encephalin (reduces pain and leaves u feeling good), Serotonin (keeps u calm and relaxed), Noradrenaline (keeps you awake) and Endorphins (stimulates sexual feelings). So basically before we can find out that we have come in contact with an aroma, our brain is already reacting to it. It is the olfactory function that then signals to the cerebral cortex which then gives you the feeling of ‘fragrance is present’.
So since the release of neurotransmitters is also governed by fragrances , this is what forms the basics of Aromatherapy. Various essential oils stimulate the brain to produce various neurotransmitters which effect us in various ways.