How essential oils work in your body?
Essential oils can work through inhalation, ingestion, and topical application - depends on the purpose and focus.
One of the most effective and well-known ways to use essential oils is by direct inhalation or by diffusing. When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules rise to the top of the nose and meet the olfactory mucous membrane.
The complete process from the initial inhalation of the oil to the secretion of the corresponding gland takes place in seconds. Hence why a simple inhalation can immediately cause changes in the body from stimulating the immune system to initiating the digestive system into action, to helping achieve a dreamy restful sleep and so on.
The olfactory epithelium sends the information to the part of the brain where memory and emotions lie. This area connects with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which controls the hormonal system. The aromas from the oils prompt a variety of chemical actions within the body. The release of specific natural chemicals like Endorphins (also reduces pain and induces sexual feelings) Serotonin (to relax and calm down) and Enkephalin (reduced pain and creates a feeling of wellbeing) are a result of the olfactory nerves being an extension of the brain’s limbic system - commonly referred as well as the “emotional brain”.
The sense of smell is directly associated with memory, as these share the same correlated area of the brain. The olfactory membrane has thousands of receptors that can quickly identify the smell, from there the sensory stimulation is sent through the olfactory bulb, acting as an amplifier, through the olfactory nerve and into the limbic system of the brain. This part of the brain controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This relationship helps explain why particular aromas often trigger emotions, for example, a whole string of forgotten memories.
We need to be aware that Essential Oils are 100% natural extractions of plants and they will work gently on your body. We need to allow them to build up in your body with time in order to really feel their potent effect. I always like to compare them with vitamins or supplements, which effect might not be noticeable immediately, but rather needs at least a couple of weeks to start feeling their effect.