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August 04, 2021 3 min read

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the word "aromatherapy"? Do you think, "Oh, that's where you smell things that make you feel calm and happy"? Or maybe, "That's where you diffuse essential oils." True true. But there's so much more to aromatherapy, and I'd like to show you how you can use aromatherapy to make your self-care experience the best it can be.


Aromatherapy, by strict definition, is "the use of aroma to enhance a feeling of well-being." Most definitions specifically restrict aromatherapy to massage or baths, or to the use of essential oils or candles. So I can't practice aromatherapy by applying a body butter infused with lavender oils because I'm not massaging or bathing with it?! That's silly! There is so much more to aromatherapy than that.


Aromatherapy still gets the eye rolls from a lot of serious scientific and medical types. But there's a lot of science to back it up (even if you ignore the fact that people flock to stores offering lovely smelling lotions and candles and are willing to shell out big bucks to take a candle home to burn simply for the scent). To give just a simple and brief science lesson (I hope you don't mind, but I'm a total science nerd and this fascinates me!) our sense of smell has actual physical connections through the olfactory nerve to a couple of very important parts of the brain controlling emotion and memory, the amygdala and hippocampus.


That's why scents can trigger memories and create a sense of well-being. Pseudoscience or not, aromatherapy has the potential to transport us from those blah days to a place happiness and peace. Think of it as a bio-hack that can take you away from the present stresses of life to a place of calm and relaxation simply by smelling something.


But I've got a crazy idea! How about jazzing this self-care + aromatherapy thing up a little? How about adding together scent and a warm bath? Or sent and a luxuriously velvety body butter? Or scent and gentle heat to worn out neck and shoulder muscles?


Ok, so these are not new ideas, but my point is, it seems silly to think that aromatherapy is going to be a stand alone when it comes to self-care. There are so many ways to combine real pampering and aromatherapy. And consider this: since smell is connected to memory, the next time you take a self-care day, your body and brain will be ready to transport you back to that place of total relaxation and bliss because you've been there before and loved it!And, if you add physical touch like massage, applying that butter, or relaxing heat, you'll be creating a powerful combo of scent and physical memory that you can use to transport yourself back to bliss at any time.


These days we all need a little time out for ourselves. If you don't already have any self care regimens set up (and please note I said "regimens" not "regimes" lol) you really should just take the leap and do it. The benefit to yourself is ginormous. And no, you don't have to lay in a warm bath lined with candles listening to Enya. Make it your thing. For me, sometimes all I need is a little essential oil and a long, deep yin yoga stretch to change my week around. Sometimes it's a warm Neck Wrap to ease my stress-carrying shoulders while I read a book. Self-care is what you make it, what your body needs to reset and be ready to take on the rest of your life. Make it your own today, and use the power of scent to make it the greatest experience it can be.