The Science of Aroma and Touch


Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS

Article at a Glance

The AromaTouch® Technique is a combination of two of our most powerful senses, touch and smell. These are used in conjunction to establish one simple way to give those you care for an individual essential oil experience. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it's not profound. Whether it’s offering the AromaTouch Hand Technique to a new acquaintance or a full AromaTouch Technique to a close friend, both are scientifically validated ways to develop a strong connection with someone and positively influence their well-being.

Aroma

Have you ever wondered how walking through an orange grove can immediately induce powerful memories of your childhood? Or how the faint aroma of cinnamon can remind you of mom’s Sunday-morning cinnamon rolls, even 30 years later? It is basic human biology. There is a direct connection between your nose and your brain’s emotional control center, the limbic system. This is because the olfactory bulb is the only neural structure in the forebrain that takes input to the amygdala yet does not receive reciprocal projections. In other words, information from your nose goes directly to the limbic system, which controls mood, memory, and emotions. Your body also contains over 400 different types of specialized smell (olfactory) receptors that work together to detect various different odors. Due to this, you are capable of discerning countless aromas—many of which you may not even be able to describe—with amazing sensitivity and accuracy. Human biology has made the olfactory system the most subtle, yet effective, means to induce specific and distinct responses. This is one of the primary reasons why essential oils can be so powerful in influencing well-being.
 

Aroma is an important component of the AromaTouch Technique because it can instantaneously prompt powerful responses. As research has exhibited, activating your olfactory system can direct your mind to specific memories, relax you, and help create a close connection with whomever you are sharing the experience1 .

Touch

The AromaTouch Technique is all about creating an emotional connection, and the science behind that connection is as validated as it is compelling. Tactile communication is our first form of communication. We begin receiving tactile signals in the womb, and touch plays a critical role in parent-child relationships before verbal communication is possible. It is, in essence, the first sense we acquire. In recent studies, researchers have shown that emotional communication is very effective through touch, nearly as effective as words and facial cues2. Not only is touch able to communicate the tone of emotion (whether it is positive or negative, intense or subtle), but it may allow for precise differentiation between types of emotion. With voice and facial cues, we can identify just one or two positive signals that are not confused with each other. Research has exhibited that touch can communicate multiple emotions—love, gratitude, sympathy, fear, anger—and with astounding exactness3. This effect isn’t just limited to loved ones; another study found that touch communicates emotion nearly as effectively when it occurs between strangers4. While our understanding of the mechanisms involved with touch and emotional messaging is still limited, we do know that it can be more effective than even verbal communication in strengthening existing bonds and developing new ones5.
 

Along with the emotional component, gentle touch can also influence physiological responses in ways other communication simply cannot. Unlike massage, which involves powerful hand movements that are focused on specific outcomes (breakdown of muscular adhesions, stimulating the central nervous system, aiding recovery, etc.), the gentleness of an AromaTouch Technique has a much different spectrum of benefits. Tender touch almost instantaneously activates the release of oxytocin (often referred to as the “love” or “hug” hormone), which has stress-relieving effects on the body6. Furthermore, the person initiating the contact may experience the same response as the person on the receiving end.

Conclusion

The AromaTouch Technique is a scientific approach to combining smell, tactile communication, and the power of CPTG® essential oils to improve well-being. Visit https://www.doterra.com/US/en/aromatouch-technique-trainers to learn more or to find a training event near you, and start developing stronger and healthier connections.
 

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