Sense of smell: Diffusing oils help boost mood, improve sleep |

Sense of smell: Diffusing oils help boost mood, improve sleep

Sarah McCallum
Special to the Bonanza
A drop of lavender essential oil might ease stress and anxiety and put you in a better mood.
Courtesy | iStockphoto

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — Are you aware of how powerful the sense of smell can be on your emotional and psychological wellbeing?

Our noses are able to pick up on thousands of different odors all at once. When something foul-smelling comes into our system, we immediately react with a sneeze or perhaps even a headache. When something pleasing enters our sense of smell, we react with a smile and an uplifting attitude.

The chemical definition of aroma states that individual compounds are able to interact with olfactory receptors in our nose, head and face. Because each essential oil contains a different blueprint, different oils will affect us in different ways.

Those smell receptors high up in the nasal cavity are linked up with our limbic system, and therefore the scent of an essential oil can have quite a strong impact on our emotions. You may find that a particular essential oil helps to aid in the reduction of anxious feelings, while another reminds you of a soothing place from your past.

Moreover, essential oils also interact with the hypothalamus and may even aid in the regulation of blood pressure, sleep and memory. When using a diffuser, look for a unit that does not use heat to emit aroma.

Heating essential oils can alter their delicate and intricate chemistry, so opt for a cold air diffuser instead. Simply placing a drop of your favorite calming oil in the palm of your hand and inhaling before entering a stressful situation like a doctor’s appointment or an interview can be very helpful in maintaining feelings of calm and peace.

Our talented therapists enjoy using a wide array of essential oils during their healing sessions. Just walking into a room filled with a mellow blend of essential oils like Lavender or Vetiver can bring the client from a place of extroversion to a place of stillness and introversion.

Our sense of smell is linked up with so much more than previously thought, and diffusing essential oils is a great way to boost the mood, improve sleep and maintain a healthy and happy household.

If you have any questions about diffusers please don’t hesitate to ask! Be well.

Sarah McCallum is a massage therapist at North Lake Massage & Skin Care in Tahoe Vista. Visit to learn more.

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