Olfacto Therapy: Smelling to feel better

Bienvenue Ar’home readers,

“A few years ago, I had an incredible experience that made me realize the power of scents on our emotions and our memory. This experience took place in Hong Kong while I was learning Aromatherapy. Like Proust’s madeleine, the smell of Mimosa, Acacia dealbata brought back a memory buried deep in my memory: that of my grandfather carrying me on his shoulders when I was a young child. It was a ritual at his place. As soon as he saw me running in his garden, he grabbed me and put me on his shoulders. My face was then in contact with his mimosa trees which tickled my nostrils. This ritual stopped when I was around 4 years old; 40 years later, in the middle of this master class, I re-lived a magical moment of my early childhood. An experience rich in emotions, joy and happiness … ” 

Olfacto Therapy, the science that enhances the sense of smell

Our nose is lined with millions of neurons and 400 olfactory receptors allowing us to smell with each inhalation. Smell is the only sense directly linked to the limbic lobe of our brain. As such, smells instantly activate our limbic system, the area of ​​the brain responsible for emotions and memory. Smells reveal memories, reactivate emotions and influence our well-being and behavior. 

A psycho-emotional method based on the use of the scents and vibrations of essential oils, olfacto therapy –like aromatherapy – is an easy-to-access science that allows you to better manage your emotions.

As you know, all essential oils have specific therapeutic virtues: we can look to them to find answers to our ailments.

Olfacto Therapy brings immediate well-being and lasting balance, helps manage stress and emotional shocks (PTSD), improves the quality of sleep and increases self-confidence.

It relieves and supports people weakened by age, disability and pathologies linked to cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders (like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related diseases).

How to proceed?

You can intentionally breathe an Essential Oil directly from the bottle or the bottle cap, or pour 2 to 3 drops on a paper tissue (dry inhalation), or add a few drops into a bowl of boiling water (wet inhalation). The act of smelling an essential oil with therapeutic intent is called Olfacto Therapy or Olfactory Aromatherapy.

Essential oils can be diffused also into the ambient air via a diffuser (cold, by misting or ultrasound, by nebulization, by gentle heat, etc.). The method which also consists of diffusing essential oils is generally called Olfactology or Olfactory Aromatology.

The idea? 

Being in the present moment and allowing yourself even two minutes to perform this little ritual for yourself which brings a deep inner well-being. You can breathe an essence at any time of the day when the need arises. 

“It is an invitation to an inner journey”.

3 recipes

Recipe #1: Ease Stress & Emotional shocks

  • Bergamot essential oil, Citrus bergamia Relieves anxiety, fear and mood swings, and fights stress related disorders. This bright citrus fruit is native to southern Italy. Kathleen Flanagan at awakeningSpirit.com notes that the coolness of Citrus bergamia aids in counterbalancing “hot” emotions, like anger and frustration.
  • Clary sage essential oil, Salvia sclarea; Can help if anger & rage are present.
  • Frankincense essential oil, Boswellia carterii; Brings out feelings and reduces feelings of anxiety.

Recipe #2: Better sleep 

  • Petitgrain Orange essential oil, Citrus aurantium, spp amara fol; This essential oil has a fine smell that is close to neroli. Calming, sedative and spasmolytic, it brings relaxation and harmony by simple inhalation. It acts as a nervous system “balancer” and promotes sleep.
  • Organic Ravintsara essential oil, Cinnamomum camphora; Ravintsara is a tree of Asian origin, yet interestingly the growing conditions in Africa’s Madagascar have been found to produce trees with the greatest medicinal properties. “Many clinical studies have been conducted on Ravintsara attesting to its ability to act on the nervous system and our emotions. This plant is ideal for relieving anxiety and insomnia. Ideally used in prevention, Ravintsara essential oil is effective at low doses.
  • Lavender essential oil, Lavandula angustifolia; Well known for its Provençal scent, lavender is also renowned for its soothing properties. Perfect for use against insomnia, it turns out to be one of the most soothing oils there is! Lavender essential oil helps fight hyperemotivity, mood swings, irritability, stress and anxiety. It is the most effective tool to calm young and old who cannot find a serene and restorative sleep…

Recipe #3: Improve Confidence

In my experience, essential oils have the potential to improve the way we think and feel, and in that same vein, they can also help boost your self-esteem and confidence. It’s best to choose an aroma that you enjoy. To help you find an oil that’s right for you, I’ve chosen my favorite confidence-boosting oils and arranged them by aroma profile. 


  • Magnolia essential oil, Magnolia × alba: Complex and reminiscent of sweet things like sparkling champagne, a bouquet of flowers or freshly picked fruit, it will help put you in a bubbly, outgoing mood.


  • Patchouli essential oil, Pogostemon cablin: Sweet, musky, and likened to incense, it has a grounding aroma that will help you feel centered and sure, allaying feelings of fear and uncertainty. 


  • Cinnamon Bark essential oil, Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Classically spicy, warm and invigorating, it reveals a comforting scent that reminds aromatherapy users that self-esteem and confidence are a state of mind that can be achieved. 


  • Peppermint essential oil,  Mentha piperita : Cool, minty and refreshing, inhaling this essential oil is like beginning anew. Diffuse Peppermint to help release moments of negativity and to remember that you are worthy.


  • Sandalwood essential oil, Santalum album; The warm, woody aroma of sandalwood promotes tranquility and concentration with its comforting, subtly spicy notes, providing stability and poise in those moments you’re feeling less than self-assured.

After choosing 1 or more essential oils that’s right for you, take time to reflect on where your low self-esteem and lack of confidence originate from, then write these things down.
Once you have them written down, find a quiet spot and grab your oils, then follow these steps.

  1. Turn on your diffuser and add your favorite essential oil, or hold your bottle of oil and inhale once every so often to create an uplifting atmosphere. 
  2. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing. Clear your mind. 
  3. Meditate on the events or areas in your life that have impaired your self-esteem and confidence. 
  4. Now release those events. Picture the events as trash, then picture yourself throwing these events away. Understand that these events are not worthy of your time and that they don’t define you.

Growth takes time, and so does improving your self-esteem and confidence. Try this meditation daily. After practicing this meditation with essential oils a few times, you may find that your oil reminds you to adjust your frame of mind to be more positive. Once you get to this point, bring your oil with you and inhale it on-the-go, especially when you need a confidence boost. You can also dilute your confidence blend in a carrier oil such as almond oil and apply it to your skin.  

On average, three sessions of olfactory therapy make it possible to find some ease in a painful situation such as bereavement, anxiety or depression and to realize that things can change towards better well-being or even lasting well-being.

Merci, à bientôt,