Your nose knows
Plants are the earliest healers known to humanity. Since time immemorial, people and animals have utilized plants to heal, to celebrate, to eat, to worship and to comfort. Before there were pharmaceuticals, there were plants and plant medicines. Through trial and error, personal experience and watching animals, people learned how plants could be used to sustain them and to heal them. They used plant matter topically, internally and aromatically.
Essential oils can be applied topically, inhaled or diffused. When inhaled and diffused, the oils are experienced through the olfactory system which is directly connected to the limbic system in our brains. The limbic system is where our emotional life and memory formation exists. Olfaction is the only one of our senses that has a direct brain connection. This is why certain smells can elicit strong memories for us.
Animals have millions more olfactory receptors than humans. They have an extremely sensitive and specialized olfaction system which includes olfactory receptors and the vomeronasal gland. This gives them the ability to discern current and historical information about their environment, find food, sense danger, find a mate. The sense of smell in dogs is so acute that they have been used to locate drugs, explosives, identify illness and emotional changes in humans, sense seizures before they occur and changes in cell metabolism.
Cats, on the other hand, have fewer total olfactory receptors than dogs, but a far greater number of the type of receptor that allows them to distinguish between smells. I have heard it said that if you were at one end of a football stadium and opened a bottle of essential oil, a cat at the other end of the stadium would be able to smell it. I have no idea if this is true, but I believe in the power of cats, so who knows!!
Why aromatherapy? Why NOT aromatherapy?
The use of essential oils, when supervised by a trained professional, can help to bring calm, peace, sleep, ease pain, and improve mood. They are affordable, available to everyone and easy to use. They smell fabulous and they bring joy.
All excellent reasons why aromatherapy may be just right for you and/or your companion animal!