Can your nose affect your mood, and your Menopause?
The only thing predictable about Menopause is its dramatically different symptoms that collectively can leave us blindsided, lonely and confused. Although historically menopause has been a taboo subject, high profile campaigners Mariella Frostrup and her fellow crusaders, Lisa Snowden, Gabby Logan and Davina McCall, have helped to change the landscape of menopause by repositioning it as “the biggest women’s issue of the moment.” It’s about time. Menopause often slams into women just as they are hitting their stride in life… By propelling the conversation into the public arena, we can empower ourselves with information to understand how it affects our bodies and crucially, how we can support ourselves to experience menopause as the next potentially liberating phase of our lives.
With so much heavyweight information readily available around HRT, diet and exercise to help support the menopause milestone, it is easy to overlook the simple, immediate lifestyle changes that can make a big difference, and require minimal time and effort from us. As a starting point, we can pay attention to our nose and its powerful 300 olfactory receptors. Research around the ability of scent to affect mood and our natural body clock has long been studied, and inhaling the right combination of scent can have lasting and beneficial results on low mood, stress levels and sleep; all common menopause systems reported by women. So take a good look around your home, examine your candle and diffuser choices and think about making them work harder for you.
Start with the label. Ensure your candles don’t contain ingredients, like phthalates, which can be hidden in words like ‘fragrance’ which means that harmful chemicals, questionable for human inhalation, can be wafting around your home or burning away in your bedroom. Bear in mind that candle and diffuser industry has very little regulation or enforcement. Most modern candles are mass produced and made from paraffin wax. This type of wax is made from petroleum, a by-product of gasoline which gives off the black soot you see as it burns. First and foremost, you should be looking for a candle or diffuser that is entirely composed of natural products.
Next up, your rejuvenating menopause scent toolkit should include natural, balanced essential oils that will work hard for you, specifically, scents that will elevate your energy levels and give you a productive mindset such as Jasmine, Basil and Peppermint. Other essential oils shown help lower the body’s cortisol levels are Clary Sage, Basil, Lavender and Nag Champa, as well as natural supporters of a positive mood and relaxation, they can increase the release of happy chemicals in your brain like dopamine and serotonin. This relaxation can, therefore, be great if you are suffering from sleep-related issues. It is believed to pump your senses, soothe your nerves and improve your slumber.
The upshot? Menopause is an entirely natural life change and utilising the power of natural essential oils from a non toxic paraffin free candle makes sense. It can feel challenging to find a 100% organic candle that checks all the boxes so choose candles and diffusers from small, artisanal companies that have done their homework for you. And remember, if you smell it stimulates your olfactory senses, which then send a message to the brain to relax.
Your 300 olfactory senses will thank you for it.