THE WELLNESS ESCAPE
THE TRUTH ABOUT SCENTED CANDLES
SATURDAY 28 MARCH 2020
Smell is called a chemical sense. This chemical sense is first and foremost a system for warning and attracting. It plays on our drives and emotions more than on our intellects. We as humans can distinguish among roughly 1 trillion different chemicals by smell (bushdid et al. 2014.). How? The answer is hidden in ’: ’the anatomy and physiology of our smell.’
’the anatomy and physiology of our smell.’
When you inhale a scent, the molecules enter the nose through the nostrils. These molecules dissolve in the muscous fluid. This muscous fluid then covers the olfactory epithelium and bind to receptor sites on the sensitive tips of olfactory sensory neurons. Each receptor is activated by different odour molecules. So one receptor is activated by lavender scent while the other is activated by a vanilla scent. The sensory neurons then carry their signals through the cribriform plate ( a small bone shelf ) to neurons in the glomeruli ( a part ) of the olfactory bulb. An area above the nasal cavity ( inside of your nose). In the olfactory bulb the scent will be processed. And the output will be send to various other parts of the brain.
There is also another route for scents to reach the olfactory epithelium. That route is through our mouth. An opening called the nasal pharynx connects the back of the mouth cavity with the nasal cavity. So when we chew or swallow, the air will push the chemical scent from the mouth up into the olfactory region of the nasal cavity. The scent will activate one of the receptors. Then sensory neurons will carry their signals through the cribriform plate ( a small bone shelf ) to neurons in the glomeruli ( a part ) of the olfactory bulb. An area above the nasal cavity ( inside of your nose). In the olfactory bulb the scent will be processed. And the output will be send to various other parts of the brain.
The limbic system also called the emotion centrum, has a strong connection with the olfactory bulb. So strong that the limbic system was at one time referred to as the rhinencephalon, which literally means nose brain. This area plays a key part in creating new memories associated with past experiences/ emotions. So if you inhale fresh lavender, your hippocampus/ orbitofrontal cortex may recognise the scent from a holiday in Nice. This scent can cause the limbic system to release neuro messengers including serotonin and endorphins to the pituitary gland. This gland will reduce low levels of these hormones. Which will send a signal to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates our blood pressure, breathing, stress levels, hormone balance, heart rate to reduce your stress levels, slow down your heart rate and even reduce blood pressure.So you will feel mild effects of relaxation and happiness.
But what about synthetic scented candles?
Synthetic scented candles contain synthetic chemical fragrances. If you use them carefully and not to often, it’s okay. But of course I would advise you to go for the real aromatic scented candles. So you can reap all the benefits. ( all-natural & carries pure essential oil, lasts longer and burns evenly, fire safety, great for human wellbeing )
The benefits of various scented candles
It’s a superb antioxidant.
We’re always hearing about antioxidants and how they can improve our overall health. Vanilla is full of antioxidants and definitely a more pleasurable way to get that dose of wellness!
It helps fight fevers and infections.
Vanilla essential oil can effectively reduce fevers by fighting infections. It also reduces inflammation from fevers.
It’s one of the best scents for relaxing.
The oil has a relaxing and calming effect on the brain and the nerves, providing relief from anxiety, anger, and restlessness. In fact, it has even been proved to have a positive effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety. This was proven with studies by Chemical Senses and International Flavors and Fragrance. They found that vanilla scent makes people feel happy, relaxed.
Vanilla also increases sexual desire.
Researchers have tested it, and found vanilla to be the most attractive to men. Also the Taste Treatment and Research Foundation discovered that vanilla was one of the scents that produced increased penile blood flow in male volunteers.
Vanilla also promotes more restful sleep.
The National Center for Scientific Research in Strasbourg, France, found that smelling vanilla can ease breathing problems and sleep apnea complications in premature infants. The researchers said the vanilla helped the infants by directly affecting the respiratory centers in their brains and helping them adapt to stress.
Relieves stress and anxiety
Many studies but also the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand noted that lavender lowers the blood pressure, slows the heart rate and skin temperature. This brings the brain in a relaxed state of mind.
Promotes restful sleep
There are three important compounds of lavender that promotes sleep quality. The volatile oils in the plant, simply said the lavender smell, small amounts of coumarins. These coumarins open up the blood vessels so the body and mind will enter in a relaxed state. And an important substance called linalool. Which has a calming effect on gamma-aminobutyric acid: a substance that acts as a neurotransmitter in the body. This compound has a dampening effect on the activity of the central nervous system and is important in the brain areas that are involved with sleeping.
The Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand also stated that participants felt more energized.They found a significant increase in the brain activity of people who smelled lavender. There was an increase of theta (4-8 Hz) and alpha waves (8-13 Hz). They especially noticed alfa waves in the bilateral , temporal and central part of the brain. Which explained why people felt more energized. They felt relaxed which resulted in more energy
4. It reduces pain
Another quality of lavender is pain relief. Multiple studies have already been conducted.
Showing that patients who had been participating in lavendel aromatherapy after surgery, had less pain during their recovery.