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The Elder-Boomer Buzz, Issue #027 -- Aromatherapy: Scents and Sense
September 21, 2010

Issue #27
Aromatherapy: Scents and Sense

Fall and winter are great times to indulge in a little aromatherapy. And did you know that our sense of smell directly connects with certain parts of the brain, primarily the limbic system – the part that controls our memories, emotions, behavior, and being motivated (or not). So if you want a really relaxing experience, use aromatherapy along with soothing music and colors. Here are a few basics.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils and fragrant oils that are taken from natural plants. The process of extracting the oils, or distilling, captures many more properties of the plant than may be contained in other types of products.

There are three main ways to experience aromatherapy – through diffusion in which the scent is emitted into the air, and through inhaling directly. The latter is excellent for respiratory problems and congestion as well. The third is through the skin, as in baths, massages, lotion application, compresses, etc.

Some of the oils have been laboratory tested and have an added benefit of being anti-viral (i.e., sandalwood, tea tree oil, ginger); and anti-microbial (tea tree oil, rosemary, clove). Others are anti-fungal (lavender, patchouli, thyme, tea tree oil, clove); and anti-inflammatory (eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon). Citronella and bergamot have also been used to repel insects. These are just a few examples.

Here is a list of the most popular aromatherapy scents:

Lavender – for stress and anxiety; also migraines
Sandalwood – lifts the mood
Chamomile – lifts the mood and relaxes, as well as helps with sleep
Ylang-ylang – helps with sleep and relaxes
Peppermint – mental clarity, concentration; also congestion and digestion
Cedarwood – inner strength; congestion
Lemon – mental clarity, concentration; also relaxing
Ginger – reduces tension, muscles aches, anxiety
Vanilla – calming; sense of well-being and enjoyable memories
Bergamot – soothes and relaxes; helps with insomnia
Cinnamon – helps with drowsiness, irritability, concentration
Jasmine – depression, insomnia
Orange – lifts the mood
Anise – lifts mood, euphoric
Citronella – energize and vitalize
Eucalyptus – invigorating

It’s also been scientifically proven that when a store or commercial property has been scented, people stay longer and revenues increase. (Thus many casinos such as the Venetian, Bellagio and Wynn in Las Vegas use a highly sophisticated aromatherapy system right through their HVAC, as do hotels including the Marriotts and Hiltons).

It is no secret that the smell of baked bread or apple pie invite a sense of nostalgia and well-being. The scent of leather gives the feel of luxury. And lavender is associated with calm; pine with freshness and the outdoors. But when it comes to making sense out of scents, we either love them or hate them. And this differs not only from person to person, but with cultures. So when you’re considering aromatherapy, you may know what you like. But don’t assume someone else does. It’s always best to ask, and offer choices.

Making a lavender aromatherapy pillow is a great activity, and easy. Check it out on our web site at: Lavender Pillow.

Visit our web site for lots more great articles for baby boomers and seniors at

The best to you,


The Elder-Boomer Buzz comes out during the first and third weeks of the month.
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