Our sense of smell affects the limbic system of our brain. Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and joy all emanate from the limbic region of the brain.
The limbic lobe can also directly activate the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, acting as our hormonal control center. It releases chemical messengers that can affect everything from sex drive to energy levels. The production of growth hormones, sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, are all governed by the hypothalamus.
Not only can the inhalation of essential oils be used to combat stress and trauma, but it can also stimulate the production of hormones from the hypothalamus.