Scentsations

Aromatic candles help set the mood
Photo by fortyforks / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The scent of freshly cut grass transports you to summer days spent playing in the backyard. The aroma of baked goods brings to mind being home for the holidays. A whiff of what smells like a pine tree reminds you of walks in the woods.

Scent triggers memories and emotions associated with them.

Aromatherapy may seem to be a contemporary phenomenon, but it has been around for thousands of years. Ancient peoples in Egypt, India and China practiced aromatherapy, using balms and oils for religious and medical purposes, and believing that aromatic plants provide physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.

Aromatherapy in the 21st century is based on the use of aromatic materials and aroma compounds to improve psychological or physical well-being. Studies show aromatherapy can aid with stress relief, mental clarity, sleep deprivation, energy deficiencies, depressed moods and hypertension.

If you’re not quite ready to delve into the world of essential oils, but would like to experience the benefits of aromatherapy, try a candle. A candle’s scent activates smell receptors, which send messages through your nervous system to your brain. This activation of the limbic system affects your emotions.

“Candles are good for daily life, a daily ritual,” said David Lareau, owner of The Southern Pines, a general store at 3427 Bannerman Road. “Coming home from a hard day’s work, opening a bottle of wine and lighting a candle can essentially ease the soul.”

If you want some pep in your step or a mood elevator, try candles with scents such as citrus, rosemary, sage or ylang-ylang. Proven promoters of calm are lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamot and patchouli. For mental clarity and to combat fatigue, light a eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger or lemon candle.

Photos by vanillla / iStock / Getty Images Plus

“Candles and their impact on mood are deeply interconnected,” said Celia Bennett, marketing manager at Hearth & Soul, 1410 Market St. “Whether you are trying to amplify romance at a candlelit dinner, joy and life at a house party, focus and creativity in your office space, or relaxation and calmness in your bedroom at night, candles can work to help you create that atmosphere.”

Scents that often produce a positive mood or a relaxed state include rose, vanilla, cut grass, clean linen, pine, cinnamon and pumpkin.

Lareau finds this especially evident during the holidays.

“So many scents can bring memories to the surface of our childhood and good times, of when things were so much more innocent and simpler,” he said. “Pumpkins, pine trees, coffee, whiskey — we love these scents because they contain memories.”

If you’re making your own candle, purchasing or gifting one, start by designating certain scents that you want to associate with moods, seasons or even the weather. Lighting different candles throughout the house can result in a unique blended scent and a new atmosphere.

“You can use the base scent or your candle — whether it be sweet, airy, musky or citrusy — to create a unique atmosphere, or even layer in complementary scents to make your space uniquely representative of you,” said Bennett.

Whether as a holiday gift or an indulgence for yourself, candles brighten moods and invigorate the senses.

 


Photos courtesy of Southern Pines

Just in Time for the Holidays …

The Southern Pines introduced its own line of candles and opened a candle bar where guests can make their own candles poured into a reusable whiskey glass.

Categories: Ideas