Aromatherapy: everything you need to know

"Perfume has a more convincing power of persuasion than words", this is how the writer Patrick Süskind introduces us in his famous book entitled "Perfume".

Do smells really have powers?

Today I wanted to talk about the power of scent from the point of view of a fragrance lover and connoisseur.

Everything can probably better simplified by breaking it down to aromatherapy and aromacology (or psychology of aromas), the two things should not be confused: the first one is a therapeutic approach based on concepts that are not scientifically proven, whereas aromacology is a newly developping scientifically proven study of the relationship between aromas and our mental state.

When I am tired or when I simply want to relax, I have a habit of resorting to the healthy practice of a massage. The pressure induced with hands is enough to activate certain beneficial functions our body has to offer: there are those who like delicate movements, those who like a thinking hand, I prefer massages with a good scent.

Using scented products or spraying the room with aromatic essences turns our experience into a moment to remember. Does aroma improve a massage? It has not yet been proven, but it is suggested that it makes us think, until it leads us to a feeling of relaxation that sometimes turns into a deep sleep.

Human kinds’ use of scented products for body care, both internal and external, goes back to ancient history, smells are vehicles which promote the most bizarre fantasies and various kinds of associations.

In 1810, in order to eliminate the spread of the false belief that cologne was the panacea of all illnesses, Napoleon Bonaparte issued an imperial decree, bringing order to the matter: from that moment on, whoever continued to sell scented waters as drugs would have to declare the formula.

Considering the base is composed of alcohol, there’s no doubt that the only property this product would have had was disinfecting the skin. Lavender, bergamot, lemon, besides being a pleasure for the nose, could never have cured the plague.

It is important to note that those who remember with their noses do not forget. It has been proven that the sense of smell helps in remembering more details in time than with the use of sight alone. Those who, like me, are of the generation of Vicks on the chest, will probably remember sleepless nights, swollen tonsils, a family member tucking you in and the pleasure of somehow getting back to breathing normally. The first thing that comes to mind is definitely the scent of the balsamic compound. Mint: a strong, bittersweet and pungent essence consists mainly of menthol.

The balsamic aspect, that feeling of well-being that "opens the nose" when we have a cold, mainly comes from the terpenes present in the compound. Obviously, when it comes to a drug, we should not exclude the benefits of the active principles present.

It seems that mint herbal teas are ideal to fight disorders such as, gastritis, nausea or belly pains. Rich in diuretic properties, herbal teas can also be used as a mouthwash to eliminate unappealing breath.

Studies on the therapeutic effects of essential oils are numerous, the problem is that the results are often contradictory. The use of certain odorous essences (essential oils) in the right concentration and in the correct way, involves distinct and various beneficial effects. The essential oil of lavender is among the most studied: linalool, another terpene, the main element of lavender, would have the ability to reduce anxiety and emotional stress.

One thing is for sure, sensorial activity is the one which is most involved and, differently from the other senses, olfactory stimulations pass directly to the cerebral cortex, without being filtered by the receptor center of the thalamus.

The experience we are looking for when we choose the scents we surround ourselves with in our daily life is pleasure: starting from the selection of detergents, to candles, up to the products we put on our skin.

The ways in which we take care of ourselves are endless, as are the ways to scent ourselves.

Some people enjoy the constant company of an Eau de Parfum, others like the discretion of an Eau de Toilette. Finally, there are those who like to feel surrounded by light clouds, which caress every part of our body.

These are refered to as Scented Waters, they have a lower concentration of fragrance and alcohol, and are applied generously all over the body.

It is precisely for this purpose that Alyssa Ashley's Scented Waters were created, an ideal product for every seasons: they are light, airy, have a delicate olfactory impact and give an immediate and pleasant feeling of freshness.

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