Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to promote health and well being. It’s based on the knowledge of natural plants and their unique benefits that our ancestors have passed down through generations. And that scientists have recently confirmed (finally!).
When we inhale fragrances, our sensory system reaps the benefits of the scents that go straight to the part of the brain that triggers memories and feelings.
“Scents play a big role in how we feel, improve our mood, reduce stress, promote sleep and increase focus,” says Helen Armstrong, lover of fragrances and Founder of Apsley.
Burning fragrance candles in your home is a great way to alter your mood. And basic knowledge of essential oils can help you get the maximum benefits of aromatherapy. Read on to learn how to choose a candle based on your mood.
If you’re looking for a candle to:
Revitalise and help you concentrate
There are many scents in nature focused on perking us up and helping us find focus.
For example, rosemary has stimulating properties that fight mental fatigue, which makes it the ideal Monday morning pick-me-up. And because peppermint oil fragrance improves mental function, smelling it helps with focus. Now that’s your healthy Bloody Mary cocktail for the start of the week!
Another good scent that revitalises and increases positivity is that of freshly-cut grass. While it’s a more unusual fragrance that’s not often talked about, it doesn’t mean its properties are less efficient. Dr Nick Lavidis, a neuroscientist at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, has been documenting the positive effects of this scent for over 20 years.
Plus, a Japanese study found that citrus fragrances lowered depression in the study participants. That means a happier person that can focus on life’s joy and challenges. Look for a scented candle with notes of lemon, lemon myrtle, tangerine or orange peel.
So if you want to feel happy, reach for freshly-cut grass or freshly-squeezed-lemon scented candles.
Create a cosy and romantic atmosphere
To set the mood, light a candle. Whether you’re looking for cosy time alone or romantic time with a partner, there’s a scent for that (or a dozen).
In a study conducted by The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago, several fragrances were found to get people feeling cosy. Notes of cinnamon, pumpkin, apple, licorice and spicy scents were some of them.
That makes a lot of sense. At the core of Danish culture lies the concept of hygge – the cosy Danish lifestyle. And what makes a cosy lifestyle for these happy people (Denmark is the second happiest country in the world, after their Finnish neighbours)? Cinnamon rolls, a candle-lit dinner, curling up for a warm night in and sipping on a delicious hot drink (perhaps licorice tea?).
Other scents that promote a romantic atmosphere are roses, ylang ylang, and patchouli. So before your next date, choose one of these fragrances for your candle and enjoy a good time.
Help you relax and have a good night’s sleep
R&R time is important. And so is sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a modern-day epidemic, and many people are resorting to sleeping pills to combat their caffeine intake and overall daily stresses. The consequences of poor sleep are many: they can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, reduced immunity and mental health issues.
Establish a bedtime routine that incorporates scented candles (with the fair warning to remember to put them out). Some of the most common scents that promote relaxation and quality Zzzzs are floral fragrances. Choose a candle with lavender, rose, geranium, bergamot or jasmine and witness your mood changing.
Another scented candle to use at night is one with pine notes. Japanese are so well aware of the stress-relieving effects of pine that they have a well being practice associated with this called shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.”
Aromatherapy is a powerful tool we have at our disposal to create the mood and atmosphere we desire. And by knowing more about what different essential oils do, you can invest in candles with specific fragrances based on your mood.