Aromatherapy, which uses natural plant extracts and oils to promote health and well-being works by exciting different receptors in the nose. But scents also stimulate nerve responses on the skin’s surface, affecting various glands in complex ways. They can be an important element to add to your environment, but only if you understand how best to use them.
The chart below explains how common scents impact us, outlining if they are a sedative or stimulant, how they impact our mood, if they bring clarity to anything, and if they can be used as a deodorant. This will help guide you in how to intentionally and mindfully use various scents in your environment.
Keep in mind that the personal associations that we have with various scents may overrule these more universal effects. So if a certain fragrance doesn't impact you in the way described, it's probably because you formed a different association with it at an earlier time in your life.
And when experimenting with different scents, make sure to stick to oils, incenses, and potpourris that are known to be natural and unprocessed. Artificial air fresheners and synthetic fragrances that smell pleasant often come with a toxic load that may be harmful to breathe. When working with fragrance, it's important to remember that you're looking to provide a scent, not camouflage odors.