Sunday, September 17, 2006


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.


LF said...

I like to smell the scent of chimney smoke in the fall. It gives a fresh, fall feeling.

helene said...

Finesse shampoo takes me immediately back to the 7th grade when I used it every day......I try never to use it, however,.... I don't like seeing the face of my old social studies teacher in the shower.

Suzanne Temple said...

That's funny.

Elaine said...

I have used a few different Aromatherapy things. Yes, it's true that you cannot bottle silence, but you can use aromatherapy to combat headaches. Aromaborealis (in Vancouver, BC) has one for headaches that comes in a bottle with a roller ball on the end so you can apply it to your temples, back of the neck, & even sore muscles in other places (and then put it in your purse). At the very least, it reduces the amount of medication needed to deal with the pain. They also have something called "Stretchmark" that they only make by special order. I don't think the point of this one is the aroma, but it does smell nice. I used it when I got out of the bath or shower while I was pregnant, and behold - no stretchmarks!

What I like to use now are a couple of things from Fruits & Passion: Orange Cantaloupe Shower Gel & Eau de Toilette - light & invigorating and Solstice Shower Gel which is also light, but not fruity, or flowery or musky - just fresh. I am told that Citrus is energizing & uplifting, and that's what I need most of the time.

Anyway, I'm glad to meet you. I read your sister all the time & just started my own blog.

Jennifer said...

I agree with you, smells are very important and they can sweep you away to the past. They can also ruin your day, can't they? Eew!LOL!

Lynn Stewart said...

Hi Suzanne,
Nice to see your blog - I'm going to like visiting here often I can tell. You seem as delightful as your sister, Danielle, of whom I am one of the biggest fans.

My favorite aromatherapy are scented candles. Our home is small so they work well to make the place smell presentable.

I have four children, two of which are boys :o). My oldest, however, we joke is the equivalent of three boys so I know a bit about testosterone overflow, ha ha.

Best of fun with your blog! Come visit mine sometime. God Bless.

Suzanne Temple said...


I wish I had known about the "Stretchmark" thing about nine years ago.

Jennifer and Lynn, Thanks for visiting.