Exploring the link between neuroscience and aromatherapy with Dr. Tara Swart
Did you know that it is possible to retrain and actually rewire your brain, mastering your emotions and redirecting the way you want your life to go, with a little help from your sense of smell? It may sound like a magic trick, but it’s based on rigorous science that we’ve been learning about from our new spokeswoman, Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart.
As a neuroscientist and former psychiatric doctor Dr. Tara Swart has helped leaders all over the world achieve mental resilience and peak brain performance. Tara’s research focuses on finding ways to rewire the brain to improve our ability to manage stress, regulate emotions and retain information. As if her CV could get more impressive, Dr. Tara Swart is an award-winning, best-selling author, and her newest book, ‘The Source – open your mind, change your life’, delves into the ancient tools of manifestation and visualisation. The book uncovers daily rituals that you can incorporate into your life to rewire your brain so that you direct your actions and emotions to manifest how you want your life to pan out. Sign us up!
So what's the link between neuroscience and aromatherapy?
It turns out quite a lot. The connection between aroma and channelling the power of your brain is incredibly strong since the olfactory nerve connects the nose directly to the limbic system – the intuitive, emotional pathways of the brain. Triggering your olfactory system can alter your overall wellbeing in a positive manner both emotionally and physically. Through her work as a neuroscientist, Dr. Tara Swart has found much evidence that aroma can affect mood, physiology and behaviour, particularly when it comes to our memory and emotional state.
The brain creates what we see as reality through the massive amounts of data it receives through all of our sense from the outside world. We then create connections between sensory triggers and past events that we recall experiencing. Smell is usually the strongest stimulator of memory – fond or disgusting – but all the senses interact with memories in a similar way. Hence, we have the power to prime ourselves for success by using our senses to connect to memories and goals. We can use smell alongside visualisation to trigger the brain to create positive associations (‘the smell of success”). Every day we can strengthen connections in the brain with affirmations or by recalling certain memories. Smell is a key connector, and when we start to align smell with positive habits, positive change can come. In other words, if you took a bath using the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Bath & Shower Oil on a regular basis, your brain would begin to associate those smells with relaxation and self-care. So, in future when you smell, say, Grapefruit or Ylang Ylang, you will recall feeling revived and uplifted, which triggers positive emotional and physical responses.
"We can use smell alongside visualisation to trigger the brain to create positive associations ('the smell of success')"
The ability to rewire our brains is called neuroplasticity and is Dr. Tara Swart’s particular area of expertise. Our brains are malleable, and adopting new, or adapting existing, habits is a proven way to rewire your neural pathways. Creating new pathways is the key to making any deep, lasting shifts in our habits and thinking which can ultimately help us get to where we want to go in life. In fact, the brain actually benefits from creating new habits as it strengthens it – think of rituals and manifestation as a work out for your brain. Try this with your nightly bath using Deep Relax, followed by our Sleep Mist to trigger the brain into priming sleep. This isn’t just relaxing me-time, it’s actually a brain enhancing moment of reset!