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11 Reasons Why Your Sense of Smell Is So Important

How Important Is Your Sense Of Smell?

In short, our sense of smell is vitally important and extremely useful! Our sense of smell is controlled by the Olfactory System which is linked to the oldest known part of our brain, the Limbic System. The Limbic System houses our memories and influences our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions. In addition to that, the Limbic System is directly linked to our nervous and hormonal systems.

In a manner of speaking, our sense of smell is extremely powerful! It triggers memories, influences thoughts, changes the way we feel, behave and act and has a direct impact on nervous impulses and hormone secretions; essentially, smell is directly linked to, and has a controlling action on, the pleasure centre of our brain!

Now, that is all very well and good but from a practical perspective, what does that actually mean?

In real terms, our sense of smell helps, heals, protects, nurtures and nourishes us and provides information about our external environment; real, memorised or imagined. Our sense of smell is an information tool that

  • Controls our sense of taste
  • Tells us about things we like and dislike
  • Protects, nurtures, nourishes, and heals us
  • Informs us about when we are/someone is unwell
  • Reminds us of things from our past
  • Stimulates or sedates various functions of body, mind and emotions
  • Attracts lovers, sexual partners and friends
  • Enhances performance
  • Instigates a whole new world of fascinating imagination, wonder and fantasy!

Whether we are aware of it or not, is neither here nor there; most of bodily functions happen autonomously – respiration, circulation, elimination (digestion/urination/sweating/breathing), lymphatic drainage, hormone secretions, nervous stimulation and impulses and much much more. Are we consciously controlling any of these functions and in fact, most of the time, are we even aware that any of this is even happening? There is no doubt about it, your sense of smell is working and it is doing all of the things mentioned above and so much more! It is happening!

So, let’s now consider each one in turn. Our sense of smell

Protects us by giving us information about danger e.g. fires (or something burning) or food & drink that is either unsafe to eat or past its best. Our sense of smell gives us information and about other things in our external environment e.g. hot and cold temperatures, pollution levels, fertilized fields, cooking food, wood burners, and the smell of home. We may not see, touch, hear, or taste any of this, but we can certainly smell it!

Nourishes us by enabling us to detect what something might taste like and whether or not something is safe to eat or drink. When you open the fridge, how do you know if something has gone off? You smell it, right? In addition to that, in times gone by, our forefathers used their sense of smell to detect where food might be. In a manner of speaking, that kind of still happens today e.g. the smell of baking bread, cooking chocolate, grilled bacon, wood oven pizzas, beautiful stews and hot pots and delicious marinated curries…we may not see, hear, touch or taste any of this, but if we are in a different room the smell of the food will emanate its way into your nostrils!

The scent of something has the power to kick-start our digestive juices as well. For example, the smell of lemons for some people is enough to start the mouth-watering process; saliva is a digestive juice that breaks down food in the mouth. Once saliva is secreted, digestion is then stimulated.

Our sense of smell influences our sense of taste, and indeed, without it, our sense of taste would be vastly reduced, if present at all. This relates to the concept of food as well as anything else in life that we like or dislike; think about it for a moment, when something is amazing we sometimes refer to it as mouth-wateringly good….interesting isn’t it!

Informs us about things that we like and dislike which comes back to the word taste! If we like something it tastes good, i.e. we like the taste of that. If we dislike something, it is not to our liking i.e. he/she/it is not our taste.

We get this like and dislike sensation from all of our other senses as well i.e. when we hear, see and touch something we either like or dislike it. But here’s the thing, if you touch a coffee bean or see a coffee bean or hear a coffee bean being ground or percolated, how can you tell whether you like it or not? It’s difficult isn’t it, until you smell it and then taste it…and remember, taste is controlled by smell! When we smell and taste something we internalise it, personalise it and start to create emotions, feelings, and thoughts about it and then we start to judge it. Smelling and tasting something is profoundly personal, profoundly powerful and extremely sensitive as well as informative.

Somehow the experience is even more real and everything is amplified.

When we smell something, our brain detects the odour and immediately we start to judge it; we either like or dislike it and then our reasoning commences and quite often we have no idea why we like or dislike something…we just do. Sometimes like and dislike can be linked to a pleasant or unpleasant memory, an association; an unpleasant memory is likely to carry an unpleasant smell and vice versa. Our smell then becomes something that we use to detect an association we have with something!

Reminds us of things that we have experienced in the past because our sense of smell is linked to the part of the brain that houses memories which is why when we smell something, we can (and often do) have memories and/or associations with it; for example orange, clove and cinnamon (Christmas), a previous partner’s perfume or aftershave, wood burners, and baking bread.

Smell is linked to memories and the smell of something familiar can take us right back to something, somewhere, someone, some place, or some time.

Again, somehow smelling something makes an experience, whether imagine, memorised or actual, even more real and amplified.

Nurtures us by lifting our spirits, improving our moods, enhancing positive emotions and helping us to feel good, feel attractive, feel at home and feel safe.

Let’s just consider the perfumery industry for a start; its a $33 billion a year global industry….! So why do we wear perfumes, aftershaves and deodorants and why do some people spend vast sums of money on fragrant toiletries???

It’s kind of a mystery but on my perfume workshops, I often ask the participants and the same responses usually come back to me. Here are a few common responses.

  • Smelling good helps us to look good. (Wow, smell helps you to look good??!!!)

  • Smelling good makes you feel good. (Really? Smell improves the way you feel?)

  • Smelling good boosts confidence, especially on a night out. (Seriously…smell boosts confidence as well?)

  • Smelling good is nice because it makes us feel attractive. (That’s fascinating…smell not only helps us to look good and feel good, it boosts our confidence and now it enhances how attractive we feel!)

  • It’s just good and nice because no-one wants to smell bad, right? (I would suggest that its actually more to do with no-one wanting to smell other people who smell bad….I couldn’t actually care less whether I smelt bad or not but I do care that other people might really take a disliking to how I smelt!!)

So, whether you realise it or not, smell is very important to us, very powerful, very expressive, extremely personal, somehow mysterious and unexplainable and….I can assure you…it is working!

Heals us by lifting our spirits and improving moods but also, by using essential oils we are using chemical compounds with a whole range of therapeutic properties and qualities, including constituents that fight infections, kill bacteria and destroy airborne microbes. Detecting an aromatic substance can

  • Open our breathing pathways reducing the symptoms of cold, flu or nausea

  • Help to alleviate headaches and migraines

  • Combat stress, tension, anxiety, worry, fear, depression, sadness, and melancholy

  • Stimulate and awaken our senses or boost relaxation, rest and sleep

Stimulates or sedates our mind, body and emotions. For example, we used to use smelling salts to revive us and help us to regain consciousness following a faint or a fall or a deep sleep. It is widely recognised that certain aromas stimulate, still and clarify the mind aiding and boosting concentration, study and focus e.g. peppermint, rosemary, lemon, and frankincense.

Enhances performance! What I mean by this is enhancing the performance of

  • The various functions of our body such as digestion, respiration, urination, reproduction, circulation, and cell regeneration etc

  • Our immune systems increasing our ability to stay well by fighting off infections, killing harmful microbes and bacteria, and by boosting the action & performance of white blood cells (most notably lemon, tea tree, lavender, thyme, myrrh and lemongrass)

  • Speeding up the process of recovery from illness, injury and disease

  • The mind from the perspective of enhancing focus and concentration and some help to boost and improve memory (most notably lemon and frankincense)

  • Our emotions through; promoting a feel good factor, lifting our spirits and improving moods; balancing and regulating hormonal activity and nervous impulses (lavender, rosemary, bergamot and geranium)

If we look at performance on physical terms, aromatic essential oils, as I have mentioned previously, are highly concentrated chemical compounds with healing qualities and therapeutic properties; some are analgesic (pain relieving), many are antiseptic (kills bacteria), some are expectorant (removes excess mucous) and there are those that are anti-inflammatory (reduces or removes inflammation). The list is endless and essential oils offer serious and well documented benefits.

If used and applied properly with the right expert guidance, essential oils help to improve performance in sport, work, school, and during competitions of any kind as well as improve the performance of the mind & emotions helping people to return to some sense of greater personal empowerment.

So, whether you are; a sports professional (or amateur) a student working towards passing exams and combating stress at the same time, a business professional with a lot of commitments, responsibilities, busy diaries, lots of travel and a hectic schedule, a leader of any kind – at home, work, in the community, politics or other – and are looking to improve and enhance your performance, find an aromatic specialist or aromatherapist who can help you…aromatherapy is more than just a nice, relaxing massage and a break from the world for an hour before you re-enter the same crap you’ve just escaped from. Aromatherapy is something that can help you to manage your life, change your life, improve your life, enhance your experience of life and help you in many different and empowering ways.

Attracts lovers, sexual partners, and even friends; smell is all about attraction! When we smell something we dislike we want to move away from it immediately and when we smell something we really like we want to experience more of it, keep it, maintain and sustain it, to have and hold it…to literally be with it.

Essentially we all want to; hear the sounds of love, sex and partnership; experience the touch of a caring lover or friend; see the people we love and care about and see the signs of love and affection; and we all want to know what love “tastes” like.

Smell helps us to detect when someone is unwell! Now this is an interesting concept and one that people with a sensitive sense of smell or a trained nose will understand and experience. I can certainly tell when someone is under the weather or when someone is fighting off an infection because I can usually smell it, either on their breath or on their body. It is much easier to do on yourself and with people you know well, such as family members and very good friends, but its also possible with strangers too. Very skilled Ayurvedic practitioners, chinese doctors, acupuncturists, energetic healers and aromatherapists will use their sense of smell to help them to understand about someone’s health and wellbeing…oh and body odour (BO) does not necessarily mean that someone is unwell!

Instigates a whole of imagination! Our forefathers who first discovered aromatic smoke that emanated from plants such as trees, herbs and shrubs believed it to be a gift from the Gods. The aromas were so bewilderingly otherworldly that they were considered to be from another plane; another dimension. Incense and aromatic oils have been used in religious ceremonies, rituals and rites throughout human history and none more so than Cedar, Sage and Frankincense. Religious, Spiritual Leaders, High Kings, Emperors, Caesar and Rulers have used incense to bring themselves closer to the heavens, to the Gods and to carry their dreams, wishes, prayers and ambitions to the heavens. The word ‘Perfume’ comes from the word ‘Parfum’ which is derived from the latin word ‘Par Fumum’ and this means ‘by smoke’ i.e. the dreams, prayers, wishes and ambitions were carried by aromatic smoke to the heavens. The amazing aromas made the prayers etc fit for the Gods because they were so magical and unimaginably mysterious.

In conclusion, our sense of smell is working all the time, providing us with information, helping us to stay well and healthy, attracting & repelling things (people, food and things), triggering memories and experiences. Smell is an unconscious, involuntary action which means that we don’t realise its happening or working and often when we notice something, we are not actually aware of it. Our sense of smell is working and is working to help, heal, nourish, and nurture us and if we can become more in-tune and aware of it, it can enrich our lives as it has mine and many of my clients.

If you would like to explore your sense of smell, discover more about the world of aromas and find out what it all means to you and how it can help you to enrich your life, please do contact me on +44 (0) 7972 043 922 or at and visit my website

I make to bespoke, handmade, natural perfumes, run workshops teaching people how use essential oils at home & work, how to make natural skincare, bath & body care products and how to make natural perfumes. I provide aromatherapy, perfume therapy and massage therapy and I also offer personal life coaching services using Essential Oils, NLP and other Positive Psychology techniques I’ve picked up along the way – EFT, Law of Attraction, Reiki and much, much more.

I am passionate about personal development, enhancing personal potential, enabling change, and teaching, helping and coaching others to achieve peak performance and realise their personal potential. Staying well, keeping healthy and being happy are the first steps towards fulfilling potential.

Awaken the smell within and start your journey today!

Aromatherapy for Pregnancy, Labour & Childbirth

Our Personal Experience – Essential Oils & Natural Birthing Solutions

My partner and I recently gave birth to our beautiful baby daughter, Isla-Rose Nina Despres, and now that she is almost 2 weeks old I am more able to reflect on the process. We thoroughly enjoyed the 9 months leading up to her arrival and are enjoying her presence much more than we ever anticipated. As an aromatherapist, I learned a great deal more about essential oils and their place in maintaining good health & wellness, promoting happiness and wellbeing and dealing with many and varied challenges that come with pregnancy and childbirth.

Like most parents out there, we wanted to have as natural a birth as we possibly could and following a really promising, healthy, well, happy and positive pregnancy we were hopeful that we’d be able to put all of our natural resources into delivering our bundle of joy. We had been using essential oils, natural and organic skincare products, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, yoga, reiki, EFT (emotional freedom technique), hypnobirthing, and some shiatsu techniques; all of which enhanced the experience of pregnancy during a very busy time and hectic work schedule as our businesses continued to grow and develop. We tried our best to prepare ourselves for what might come to pass by way of intervention and when the time came, that is exactly what happened.

The natural birth that we wanted was taken out of our hands as my partner was induced and placed on an aggressive and intrusive hormone drip called syntocinon which put all of natural remedies and solutions to the test. Ultimately, I was pleased to discover that they still had their place alongside the conventional treatment and care resulting from intervention.

Here is the breakdown of our aromatherapy solutions and for information about the other solutions we used, I suggest you seek your own expert guidance as we did ourselves. I will happily make some recommendations to practitioners for EFT, Yoga, Reiki, Homeopathy, Hypnobirthing, and Shiatsu.

Aromatherapy & Pregnancy

Our homemade solutions – natural skincare products, homemade essential oil blends, perfumes, bath & body care products – worked wonders to help alleviate and prevent stretch marks, nausea, headaches, tiredness & lethargy, insomnia, stress, tension, anxiety, worry, and fear as well as aching & tired limbs. Using natural and homemade solutions also helped us to build up a connection with our baby and a greater connection between ourselves during this magical time.

We used neroli, lavender, ylang ylang, lemongrass, bergamot, benzoin, and mandarin along with frankincense (after the 1st trimester) and blended them to make perfumes, inhalation oil blends, massage oil blends, baby bump balms and bath salts

Essential Oils

Essential oils are amazing gifts of nature that provide many wonderful healing benefits and many are indicated for pregnancy. Essential oils are chemical compounds with varied therapeutic and healing properties that help to lift our spirits, improve our moods, replenish, hydrate, moisturize and heal the skin, alleviate aches & pains, fight infections and boost general immunity, improve the general functions of our body and dispel sadness, tension, stress, anxiety and worry. Below is a breakdown of the core essential oils we used during pregnancy, paying particular caution during the 1st trimester of course.

Please Note

  1. There are many oils that cannot be used during pregnancy and for a list of the most common essential oils and their contraindications, please click here

  2. It is absolutely imperative that the specific safety advice be followed for pregnancy. For example, only 1% essential oil dilution is recommended during pregnancy which is 1 drop of essential oil per 5ml of carrier solution, or 2 drops per 10ml of carrier solution. More information can be found out about this and other general health, safety and storage information, on my website click here

Lemongrass – a wonderfully refreshing, uplifting, stimulating and invigorating essential oil that helps to revive tired minds, limbs, bodies and spirits. It is a strong antiseptic, prophylactic and immune stimulant helping to fight infections, kill bacteria and keep us fighting fit. A wonderfully positive and restorative effect on our spirits, Lemongrass combats headaches, tension, and nausea,stimulates the appetite, cleanses the digestive system and improves focus boosting positivity. This oil is absolutely amazing for tiredness of any kind!

Lavender – a very healing essential oil on all levels no matter whether body, mind or spirit. Very relaxing and calming; we used this to great effect to combat tears, worry, anxiety and fear as well as to switch off and rest at the end of a long day….working and getting through the day at a normal pace gets more and more challenging as time goes on and as our business grew significantly during this period, we needed help combating the extra workload and the stress it brought! Lavender calms digestion, boosts immunity, balances nerves, soothes respiration, helps with the expulsion of fluid in the body and more importantly, heals and replenishes the skin giving a glowing complexion. An all round saviour!

Mandarin – a happy, comforting, sweet and refreshing essential oil that is gently uplifting. Used very effectively as a skin toner it helps to combat stretch marks and scars. We used it during the day and at night because it helps to relax as well as awaken the senses…it is sweet, soft and citrus. Mandarin is also a good diuretic that helps to expel water from the body stopping the build-up of fluid such as the feet and ankles. Also very useful for easing loss of appetite because of its mouth watering qualities; gets the digestive juices flowing! A really good oil to have around when you need something light, gentle, refreshing and ultimately soothing.

Bergamot – has a wonderfully fresh, citrus, stimulating, sweet aroma and is a firm favourite of ours. Useful for all skin types, respiration, boosting immunity, balancing, calming and soothing digestion, balancing for hormones, uplifting for the spirit, enhances positive emotions and promotes and easy comforting happiness. Gail used this well in baths, perfumes and inhalation oils to wake up, lift her spirits and keep herself going. A lovely fresh oil that most people like on our workshops too.

Grapefruit – is without doubt my favourite oil, especially of the citrus kind. Grapefruit has a good toning action on the skin, boosting complexion, especially for oily skin. The softest and most well balanced of all citrus oils, it is gentle, uplifting, softening, comforting and calming. An excellent aid to digestion because it helps to dispel unwanted materials, remove toxins and bring balance to the system. As an agent that helps to remove toxins from the body, grapefruit also does that on an energetic level and most important of all, as a good diuretic it helps to promote the flow of fluid around the body and the excretion of water, stopping the build-up of fluid in, for example, the ankles and feet.

Ylang Ylang – has a very powerful, strong and pungent aroma that is sweet, succulent, floral and earthy. Ylang Ylang is not for the faint-hearted but it has magnificent qualities for the skin, digestion, hormones, immunity and mind & emotions. Ylang Ylang is a strong sedative which helps us to combat insomnia, stress, tension and anxiety at the same time boosts positivity and a feel good factor. Ylang Ylang is good for all skin types, moisturising, hydrating, replenishing and leaves a glowing complexion. In times of need, sometimes we need something really powerful to kick us back into balance and that is exactly what Ylang Ylang does; it is very hard to think or feel anything other than what the smell of the oil is telling us when we sit and inhale it. Great for sleep!

Neroli – also known as orange blossom, this most heavenly of essential oils has a unique offering for pregnancy because it is healing for the skin, combats stretch marks, provides the most amazingly strong and unique perfume fragrance and as a strong sedative it alleviates nervous tension, anxiety, depression and stress. This oil has a wonderfully euphoric effect and is used to great effect in the evening. Used on its own it can be too strong and bitter, but with other citrus oils and perhaps lavender or benzoin, the aroma ca lightened and sweetened a touch. I highly recommend this for its healing qualities of skin, mind and emotions.

Frankincense – an oil that should be avoided during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, but that can also bring some amazing benefits to health & wellness during pregnancy. Frankincense’s aroma helps to deepen and lengthen the breath which helps to ease stress, tension and anxiety, reduce blood pressure and heart rate and soothe coughs and colds. It has a stilling and calming effect on the mind which aids meditation, focus and concentration. Frankincense is also a good diuretic which helps to flow of fluid to move around and out of the body; very important during pregnancy as the flow of water becomes much greater. Perhaps most important of all, Frankincense is calming and soothing for digestion and is a cytophylactic (speeds up skin cell regeneration) has an amazing toning action on the skin. An incredibly healing, hydrating and nourishing oil that lifts spirits, calms and soothes emotions, digestion, respiration and circulation.

Benzoin – with its sweet, vanilla-like aroma, Benzoin is very comforting, relaxing, calming and grounding which is important during those days when emotions can get the better of us. Benzoin is excellent for dry, chapped and cracked skin, softens and smoothes the skin, and heals wounds, cuts, and scars. It is a strong antiseptic and offers a more relaxing solution for coughs and colds than eucalyptus making it very good during the night. It is a very warming oil which makes it good for aches, pains, strains and any physical discomfort including abdominal pains or discomfort. Benzoin is a good diuretic which is helpful for trapped fluid especially in the feet, ankles and legs.

Homemade Solutions

Perfumes & Inhalation Oil Blends

Having a pleasant aroma around you during pregnancy is really important, especially with raised body temperatures. A nice aroma helps to lift our spirits, improve our moods and as a general rule, pleasant smells help us to feel good and feel attractive which can only be a good thing during pregnancy! Having a wonderful smelling home has the same effect so using an oil diffuser is a good idea; the essential oils also help to keep bugs at bay because they kill airborne microbes…a small added benefit!

It was lovely having some nice relaxing oils on in an oil diffuser in the evening with lights off, candles on and some calming music in the background…certainly helped us to wind down at the end of a busy day.

Baby Bump Massage Oil

I made a lovely baby bump massage oil using jojoba, rosehip & cold pressed sunflower oil with neroli, mandarin & lavender which I used to massage Gail’s bump. This helped me to be more involved with what was going on, build my connection with Isla-Rose while she was in Gail’s womb. These essential oils are incredibly healing and hydrating for the skin, help to alleviate stretch marks and the fragrance created is astounding!

Baby Bump Balm

Gail made a beautiful Cocoa Butter Baby Bump Balm which she applied to her abdomen twice a day. Almost every midwife, nurse and doctor commented on that fact that she had a beautiful bump, completely stretch mark free. In fact there reaction was usually one of complete surprise that I guessed most people must reveal their tummies with stretch marks….so, here’s a tip for all those pregnant mums out there – Go and make a baby bump massage oil and a baby balm balm!

Bath Salts

Gail had regular baths using Epsom or Dead Sea Salt with blends of the above mentioned essential oils which helped her to relax, unwind and rest as well as alleviate aches and pains, and as we know, baths are wonderful at helping to maintain general health & wellness and boost rest & relaxation.

Oil Diffuser/Burner Blends

Gail and I have plenty of essential oils and incense at home, so we made sure that we used plenty around our home. This provides a wonderful perfume and fragrant effect for our home which everyone comments on when they come here, which helps to lift spirits, calms moods and promote happiness. In addition to that, the vaporised essential oils also kill airborne microbes stopping the spread of infection! So at the same time as having a nice smelling and aromatic household, we were also looking after our health & wellbeing!

Labour & Childbirth

We obviously went into hospital armed with vast amounts of wonderfully aromatic solutions and whilst the experience was an arduous one due to the intervention process (which ended up in an epidural), natural solutions worked wonderfully well and complemented the amazing care provided by our fabulous NHS.

We had some pre-blended oils – massage oils, perfumes and inhalation oils

Citrus Awakening – Lemongrass + 4 others

This was used to boost energy, focus and concentration, refresh the mind and spirits and revive lethargy & tiredness

Inner Calm – Frankincense + 4 others

For times when rest and relaxation was needed! When it is time to unwind from what has happened and forget about the worry of what is to come, this proved to be a good solution.

Floral Seduction – Rose Water, Rose (essential oil) + 4 others

This is one of my favourite blends. We used this as a water based perfume or spritzer which we kept cool because it really freshened the face, provided a gently uplifting and awakening sensation.

Oil Diffuser

We had our oil diffuser going in the room for the entire time and our room was definitely the most popular of all on the ward. Because I changed the essential oils and therefore the aroma every hour, midwives, nurses and doctors kept coming in to find out what the room smelt like, and at one time we had a queue outside the door! We had many interesting and positive conversations, comments and appraisals from the staff on the ward and as I left with baby in hand next to Gail, they all came to wish us well and to comment on the amazing aromas we had used. Our midwife was the luckiest of course and everyone there was very jealous!

It is funny how just a smell can cause such intrigue and the staff on the ward all encouraged us to use what we needed to use which I was really surprised about.

Inhalation Oils

As part of my practice – therapy and coaching – I always use inhalation oils during and after my personal sessions. In all of my workshops, I teach people about essential oils through smelling them rather than looking at books, because the power is not in the name but instead in the aromatic quality. During labour, Gail continously asked me for particular scents which I handed to her on cottonwool pads. Some people prefer tissues and handkerchiefs, but cottonwool pads are thicker, heavier and hold onto the smell for that much longer, so I prefer to use them. All you need is 2-3 drops and this will last for a good 2 hours. The benefit of this is, the aromatic cottonwool pads provide an instant effect that acts a really good distraction from any pain, discomfort, or feelings of anxiety, fear and worry. The oil burner/diffuser works well, but your smell senses will not detect the aroma after a while so the cottonwool pads are really very useful. This is a flexible way of working because you can use 1 or multiple essential oils and frequently chop and change the pads around so the senses don’t get used to the smell so quickly, thereby having a more consistent and lasting effect!

These were really good solutions especially during periods of exhaustion where either rest & relaxation or an energy boost was needed. These were also really very good during times of real discomfort because they act as such a good distraction! It is very hard for the brain to concentrate on 2 things at the same time and if you get the smell and dosage just right, the smell can help to take the mind’s attention away from what is happening, what has happened and maybe also what is yet to happen.


Had we been able to have a natural delivery, I would have been able to do much more massage than we actually did, but what we did do was enjoyable and effective. We did plenty of foot, ankle, leg and hand massage which was especially important because of swollen feet, ankles, hands and fingers.

What Was The Most Effective?

Well, I would say the cotton wool pads were probably the most effective because the instant hit you get from the aroma momentarily acts as a distraction and if you keep that smell close at hand, sitting/lying and inhaling for a few minutes at a time, it is really hard to think of anything else. So, at the start of contractions, after them and in between them, this worked very well indeed. During the rest periods the oils really helped to boost relaxation, take the mind of what was happening and also awaken the senses.

For a normal and completely natural delivery, I would say that this method would work extremely well and massage would provide significant relief to aches, pains, spasms, nausea and headaches. So the combination of oil diffusers, inhalation solutions on cottonwool pads, aromatic massage and aromatic baths would work very well during labour and childbirth to enhance the process, alleviate pain, discomfort, stress, tension and anxiety. That said, aromatherapy acts a good complementary solution to the wonderful care and attention provided by nurses, midwives and doctors. When in need, as we were on this occasion, it is important to go with expert advice and do the best you can, as we did, with the aid of natural solutions available. We still managed to use homeopathy, reiki, shiatsu, flower essences and some of the hypnobirthing tools as well.


Both Gail and Isla-Rose are doing well and our attention is slowly turning back to what lies ahead with Aromatic Therapeutics and School of Natural Skincare.

For information about our workshops, courses and online courses please see our websites and I make handmade natural perfumes to order and also offer product design services helping people to create their own natural skincare, natural bath & body care and natural perfumery products. I practice aromatherapy, massage therapy and perfume therapy in Bristol, UK, and as an NLP practitioner with 15 years international business & consulting services experience, I also provide personal life coaching services. Please contact me to find out more +44 (0) 7972 043 922 and

Grapefruit Essential Oils – A Cleansing Glow

My favourite citrus essential oil is Grapefruit (citrus x. paridisi) because it is the softest, most well balanced, refreshing and sweet of all essential oils and it is a very strong detoxfying and anti-toxic agent that helps to clear out rubbish from the system – brilliant for digestion, urination, skin, immunity and mind & emotions.

Grapefruit is an oil that is often over-looked perhaps because it is not as common a fruit as orange or lemon, but its action on body, mind and especially spirit is gentle but wonderful. The aroma is a gentler oil and somewhat better balanced than other citrus oils, a characteristic that is symbolic in its therapeutic action. Gently uplifting for our spirits, it balances emotions, soothes the spirit and that gentle balancing and soothing action has a reflection on digestion and our outward radiance – a glowing skin complexion. It helps to clear out and move on unwanted items from the body and encourages the clear out of congestion. Congestion of the skin, digestion, mind and emotions. Frustration, pressure and stress are all congestions of a sort for our mind and our spirit. Grapefruit soothes, calms, cools, balances and gently lifts the spirits. A must have for busy people, busy minds and cluttered spirits.

In terms of skincare, it is a very good for oily and congested skin, is refreshing and reviving, and provides great skin tone. Brilliant to use in cleansers, toners and face srubs!

Contraindications? Can irritate sensitive areas of skin but it is NOT phototoxic like other citrus essential oils so it is fine to use when exposed to direct sunlight.

I am running an essential oil masterclass weekend on 29th of March – click here for details – so if you like my posts and blogs and you’d like to enhance your knowledge and usage of essential oils, then please come along.

29th is all about Essential Oils for Health & Happiness!

It will be brilliant and places are limited so don’t delay! 07972 043 922 or