Sure, It smells good… But is it good for you?
I used to be like many people who would wander down the corridors in the mall smelling the delicious wafting fruity and floral fragrances emanating from stores like Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works and Perfumeria. I would breathe in deeply thinking how good they smelled. I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved going in these places and smelling fragrance after fragrance.
But now that I have done so much internal detoxification and found more natural scents in essential oils and pressed extracts, when I smell these artificial fragrances now I can distinctly tell they are chemical in nature. They no longer smell good to me. But more importantly, they no longer smell like something that even feels safe to inhale.
Our sense of smell is far more powerful than most of us give credit to. It doesn’t simply allow us to feel out our environment and know what is around. Smell enhances our world; our life and can drastically affect our health. Your nasal cavity is on average only three inches and it leads directly through your sinus cavities to your brain.
Scents directly trigger the limbic system. Because the limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, therapeutic-grade essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. The sense of smell is the only one of the five senses directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain, our emotional control center.
The limbic system activates the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, acting as our hormonal control center. It releases chemical messengers that can affect everything from mood to sex drive to energy levels.
Here is where the problem with commercial perfumes, lotions and potions comes in. The fragrance industry is not regulated. Companies are allowed to add whatever ingredients they want to add to their products, safe or toxic. These ingredients are then breathed in and/or applied to our skin. Both avenues allow unknown chemicals directly into our brains and our blood streams.
These chemicals can have an adverse effect on our health, either immediate – causing an allergic reaction such as hives or sneezing, dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, slurred speech, drowsiness or a far more subtle cumulative effect over time with use leading to issues such as damage to the GI tract, kidney damage, respiratory issues and liver damage.
I strongly believe that we are drawn to these fragrances because our bodies are inherently looking for something. On some inner level we know that scent can be healing. But what most of us are finding isn’t natural, safe or really what is sought.
If you are so inclined, check out some of the links below or search out your own sources for natural scents and products. Your body will thank you!
Sources for natural perfumes, soaps, essential oils