Stop and Smell the Roses

Scent. We are surrounded by it and yet often we don’t even register it. But, our experience of smell is deeply linked to memory and emotion and can be a powerful mental tool. Smells can support a sense of calm, relaxation, or alertness.

Pleasant odors are soothing and have been found to alleviate nausea and promote sleep. In a healthcare environment, smells can often be unpleasant and overwhelming. This represents just one example of when aromatherapy can be particularly beneficial.

Research into aromatherapy has returned interesting results. Clary sage and chamomile have been found to alleviate pain during child delivery and reduce the anxiety and fear of the mother. Aromatherapy massage has a short-term reduction in anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Lavender has been found to improve sleep, relieve headache pain, ease depression, reduce blood pressure, and decrease the need for opioids post-surgery. Citrus has been shown to boost energy and alertness, support the immune system, aid digestion, reduce nausea, and lower anxiety.

So the next time you’re feeling down, un-energized, or unable to sleep, try lighting a candle or using an essential oil. You might just find that all you needed was a pleasant smell.