While the folks over at The Skeptic's Dictionary don't seem to think much of aromatherapy, I'm a firm believer. Oh, I don't know about the power of aroma to heal physical ailments, but I have no doubt about the power of aroma upon my mood and general sense of well being.
As you might imagine, I frequently encounter hard-to-deal-with smells. I'll spare you details, but I've noticed the negative thoughts and feelings these smells produce in me. Bad smells have a way of making me feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and defeated. Bad smells send messages to my brain like, "No matter how much effort you exert into cleaning this house, it will never be enough," and "You call this a healthy environment?" and "I knew it. We really are white trash."
To counteract the negative effects of these smells upon my psyche, I have carefully chosen products, the scents of which send me positive messages, placed throughout the house.
There are the basics:
1. Pine-Sol says, "Clean."
2. Bleach says, "Disinfected."
3. Murphy's Oil sings, "The dirt is finished and the finish is fine."
But it's nice to have subtle, more therapeutic smells about the place, too, like my pricey salon shampoo. In the peaceful bliss that is my morning shower, it whispers, "You are every bit as good as the professional woman. Your hair is just as important as hers and so is your job."Then my rainy-misty-mountain shower gel seems to say, "Every day is a new day. Make the most of this one. You can do it!"
It is always good, too, to take advantage of the power of scent to evoke memory. I like to drop a few drops of Whisk scented oil on a new vacuum bag. I do this partly because I love the smell of it and partly because it has a way of "Whisking" me back eight years to when I first learned this technique. This scent asks me, "Remember when you had hardly anyone to clean up after and yet you cleaned obsessively? Remember when there were no nose-and-mouth marks on your windows, no handprints on your walls, no food caked to your kitchen chairs?" Somehow it feels good to remember that.
Orange Blossom Honey handsoap, made by Trader Joe's, is another memory scent I've discovered recently. It takes me back to my college days in Southern California. There, I studied the Great Books of the Western World, formed lasting friendships, and met my husband. "Remember who you were." this scent seems to say, "Do not forget your ideals."
Lastly, I can't fail to mention my emergency floral, feminine-affirming room spray made by Crabtree and Evelyn. This stuff just screams, "Girlie-Girlie-Girlie!" It wouldn't surprise me if it were one day clinically proven to lower testosterone levels.
So those are a few of the therapeutic aromas that help me get by. I'm sure many of you could share some of your own. It's pretty cheap therapy, if you think about it. Now, if only we could buy bottled silence.