Aromatherapy: Evoking Powerful Memories


Aromatherapy: Evoking Powerful Memories

When I hear a tune on the radio that I haven’t heard in years, it evokes potent memories. When I smell certain scents, they may remind me of anything from my grandmother to my favorite hotel. My Paris stories are always filled with smells: the patisserie on the corner, the open rotisserie pits at the farmer’s market, and one of Paris’ most wonderful hotels.

My favorite Parisian hotel has a fragrance that creates such wonderful warmth and memories. The minute I walk in the door, it surrounds me, and I get that ahhhhh feeling. The managers understand the power of aromatherapy, and the fragrance carries through the hotel from the front desk and sitting room to the small hotel amenities in the bathroom. It was when I smelled it for the first time on the streets back in the United States that I realized the power of scent.

Last month, I decided to do a little test as I ordered an aromatherapy diffuser and a variety of essential oils. I’ve heard all sorts of claims, but I’m a skeptic. I wondered:

  • Would I find having a scented home overpowering?
  • Would I react differently to one aroma over another?
  • Most of all, would I notice anything other than the fact that my house smells better?

The First Thing I Learned

If you have a positive or negative memory associated with any scent, it will bring back those memories. There is no way I’d ever put Lily of the Valley in a diffuser. I’d walk around with a headache and miserable. Why? My second grade teacher wore that scent, and she was as mean as they come. That feeling remains with me over 50 years later. When I smell Lily of the Valley, I turn into the scared kid sitting in the back of the classroom. Before you begin using aromatherapy in your home, you have to honor the past experiences you link with scent.

The Diffuser

If, like me, this is your first experiment with aromatherapy, keep it simple. An aromatherapy plug-in diffuser with a scent ball is the easiest way to get the scent into your home or office.  It’s easy to use; you simply put 5 to 10 drops on the reusable pad and place it in the diffuser. Plug in the diffuser, and voila! Within minutes, you will begin to experience that essential oil. I figure if I love using aromatherapy, I can always upgrade later.

The Amount

Experiment. I find that 10 drops are too many when I’m using lavender to relax. I don’t like to be overpowered by smell. If I’m looking for a little pick me up, I do need those 10 drops to really get me going.

The Oils

I was overwhelmed when I looked at the various essential oils available. I could spend days–no, make that months–learning about the benefits of each of the oils. My motto has always been to start off slowly and keep it simple. Rather than spending a fortune on a huge assortment, I chose a variety of four to begin with.

  • Aromappeal® Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oil: Traditionally, lavender oil has a calming effect, but I seem to have a hypersensitive sense of smell.  If I use too much, it has just the opposite effect on me. I tend to be ultra-conservative with lavender, and a mere 5 drops in my diffuser is all I need. If I really need some me time, a few drops in the bathtub take me completely away. I add some of my favorite music, a bath pillow, and candles (lavender scented, of course), and I’ve created my perfect spa getaway. Remember, the amount you use is based on your own sense of smell.
  • Aromappeal® Peppermint 100% Pure Essential Oil: I realized that I love using a peppermint soap to really get me going in the morning, so I’ve been trying to use this peppermint oil during the day. I turn up the scent in the late afternoon when I have that slump (Here’s where I go for the full 10 drops.). I know it’s got to be better for me than that afternoon cup of coffee that perks me up but leaves me in a bigger slump when the caffeine wears off.
  • Aromappeal® Eucalyptus 100% Pure Essential Oil: Back in the late 60s and early 70s, I used to buy dried eucalyptus branches. They were cool and everyone had them. While this essential oil can cultivate your senses and refresh your outlook, there’s more to it for me. It brings back memories of the days when I wore imported Indian clothes and bell bottoms while we sat around discussing how to change the world. Yes, eucalyptus is a powerful memory scent for me. It puts a smile on my face (and takes years off my mind) when I place a few drops in my diffuser.
  • Aromappeal® Wonder Oil: While the other three essential oils I chose were varietals, I picked one that was a blend of scents. The olive, sunflower seed, wheat germ, sweet almond, sesame and jojoba oils in this blend are all great for your skin. And since it’s also enriched with citrus scents (grapefruit, lemon and orange), it also reminds me of my grandmother’s baking. On the plus side, I figure that since they’re the traditional oils I’d use on my hair and skin, with winter coming (and the house getting dry from the heat being turned on), I can use all the moisture I can get.

If you’re new to aromatherapy like I am, my suggestion is to keep it simple and start with just a few scents like those I mentioned above. If there are scents you know evoke great memories, do a little digging to learn which essential oils will have that same effect. For example, the scent that reminds you of your first love might have been made from sandalwood. Add those memory evokers to your mix. They might just lift your spirits, relax you after a particularly hard day, or remind you of fun times.

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30 Comments

  1. Posted December 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I recently tried the wonder oil and it was wonderful for my child’s dry skin!

  2. Terri C
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree certain smells can evoke great or bad memories. Lavender to me is so very calming, it puts me back to my childhood at my grandmas farm. The oil you speak of sounds wonderful !

  3. rochelle haynes
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    i like to use these products i here that they are great

  4. Amy
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I love this article, I can’t wait to try some!

  5. Ann Cluck
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I have fibromyalgia and I find anything lavender helps. It clears the fog and helps the pain. Oils are a much better choice than creams, because they don’t coat your skin. Very nice review!!

  6. Misty Lilley
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love using aromatherapy!

  7. Diane Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Eucalyptus is also a powerful memory scent for me. I always choose this scent over all others. It just makes me happy! Plus,it seems to clear up everyone’s nasal passages!

  8. Deborah Caudill
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I really want to try the lavender scent because that will always remind me of my grandmother. I also love pine and cinnamon scents around Christmas time. Vanilla is a pure clean scent that I love if used in moderation with perhaps lemon or another citrus scent.

  9. Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    That is funny about your teacher lol! I love lavender and peppermint, both calming and good to get rid of headaches! But I also love my citrus scents too!

  10. Mippy/Sabrina
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Peppermint is one of my faves! :D

  11. Debbie D.
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I would love to try your products. I hadn’t realized that aromatherapy could do this. Very interesting.

  12. Sue S.
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Thanks for all the information. Really helpful.

  13. Paula Weintraut
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I have not tried these yet, But would love to. Especial the oils to help me relax. I am disabled in constant pain at night and the relief would be so welcomed. Thank you for sharing with us.

  14. Shelton
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m a big believer in aromatherapy and holistic healing.

  15. Sharon G
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s kind of fascinating how the brain links smells to memories. Good and Bad. I hadn’t thought of it before. I knew I felt certain ways (more relaxed/anxious ect) around different aromas, but hadn’t linked it with memory. And it’s so true! I usually just try various oils at random, but now I have a better idea what will work for me!

  16. Georgia Beckman
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I am just getting into essential oils. I love that I can put a few drops on my pad in the diffuser & have my home smelling wonderful within a matter of minutes. Right now I seem stuck on patchouli, but I’ll be delving into other scents soon. I,too, love that a scent can bring back so many memories.

  17. Sue J.
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Scent certainly brings back memories – one of my first fragrance gifts was a roll-on from my aunt. It was lavender-scented. I still love lavender. I also keep eucalyptus branches in the bathroom in a vase – it’s a light fresh scent!

  18. Jill A. Collins
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve used essential oils as a massage therapist for years and seen their therapeutic value first hand. It’s amazing how closely tied scent and memories truly are and through that how healing can start.

  19. Jill Jackson
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I love that the Aromappeal Wonder Oil can be used on your hair and skin

  20. Anne White
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I love aromatherapy and agree completely that certain scents can trigger memories that can take you back to a different place. For me peppermint oil is actually very calming. I used to have peppermint lotion and also have a major “habit” with eating Starlight Peppermint candies! Smelling this again calmed me, help relieve a large amount of stress (and in turn pain), and also brought a wave of happiness and peace over me. It was truly wonderful! :-)

  21. heather
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I would love to try these. Lavender is my favorite and it really helps me to relax.

  22. patricia luthe
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    i love lavender it puts me right to sleep

  23. Renee
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The diffuser sounds perfect! I already use plugins so it wouldn’t be a change from my normal routine, but maybe these could help me relax

  24. lisa
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    There is something to it. To this day certain scents can change my mood.

  25. Jennifer Johansen
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never used a diffuser before, but I’ve always been curious to try. Thank you for the review!

  26. Tiffany Elliott
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I would absolutely love to try the Aromappeal® Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oil!! I am a mother to 7 so the Lavender would help calm me down after a hard day! I know my husband would love the Eucalyptus Oil!! Thanks!

  27. Lisa Kerr
    Posted December 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I would love to try the oils for energy, stress, and pms! I hope your oils are as good as your vitamins! (Im sure they are!)

  28. kamilah
    Posted December 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I too get headaches w/ certain scents. Good read.

  29. Posted December 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I have never thought about scents and memories.but now that I think back it makes sense.

  30. md Kennedy
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Scent has always been something that can soothe me, particularly when it brings back great memories. Although essential oil scents can be very calming and mind clearing, I still yearn for the scent of my grandmother – a mixture of brown sugar and Jergens lotion!

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