Smell is such a powerful sense. A scent can take you straight to a moment, and even if you are not familiar with its name you may often say ‘it smells like…’
Throughout history, aroma has been used to support people during palliative care, to help newborn babies to feed, and even to lift someone out of a heavy depression.
A beautiful way to first engage with smell is to tune into the plants around you, in your home, garden, on your walk to work, on the school run, or the next time you see a florist’s display – stop to smell the roses! These mindful pauses are so powerful. Notice how little time it took to stop and inhale…maybe this led you to be curious, maybe even to smell again and pause for longer. Perhaps it made you smile, made you pull a face if you didn’t like it, but it brought a response from you that may not have enlivened you otherwise.
Another way to engage your sense of smell is when you next make a tea: choose a herbal one, and before you take a sip of the blend, reach in and sniff the aroma while you hug the warm mug, and in your mind describe what you smell and allow the aroma to take effect. The journey of your sense of smell travels to the back of your tongue so it unites with the sense of taste before you even take a sip! Maybe you choose a fiery ginger tea and a sniff of this root gets your saliva stimulated, while you respond to its natural warmth and it makes you feel cosy and settled. Ginger (Latin name – Zingiber Officinalis) is a wonderful digestive support that fires up the belly, ready to digest a meal without bloating and discomfort afterwards, and it can also be used to calm an unsettled tummy or to ease nausea.
In my work as an Aromatherapist, creating a bespoke oil blend is one of the things I really enjoy. We may start with what you do and don’t like the smell of – from citrus, to floral, to woody, to spice, to herb, and then move on to talk about how you’re feeling. Perhaps you’re exhausted, unsettled, anxious or unable to focus. Then, we discover how you’d like to feel: perhaps calm, grounded, uplifted, or more present. And lastly, from here we begin to bring some aromas to your nose and watch for your body’s response before we decide on the final synergy. The oils become part of your massage experience – and you get to take home a pot of oils too, so that you can continue to self-care!
Why not take some time to hone in on this incredible sense, and even keep a sensory diary of what you discover? And if, like my Nana Joanna, you have lost your sense of smell, notice what smelling something does to your taste buds and your body’s natural responses. Does it lean in for more, or step away?
Here at Brighton & Hove Therapies, I combine Aromatherapy with Hydrotherm Massage – a special form of massage where you lie face up, throughout your treatment – so no blocked noses! This enables you to benefit from inhalation of the essential oils while receiving a tailored massage, supported on two warm water cushions, helping you to relax more easily.
Connect with me on instagram @clairewellbeing and let me know what your sense of smell discovers!
Claire Robilliard runs clinics on Monday evenings and Sundays for women and children (children must be accompanied by an adult). All oils used are certified Organic and Claire can create bespoke products for you to use for self-care and skincare. To find out more, or to book an appointment with Claire, click here.