I’ve always had a thing for smelling every product in beauty and health stores. Even pharmacies. Whether it’s hand creams, perfumes, oils, soaps, gels, lotions.. I love smelling them all. Though I never have the intention to buy any products. I just love experiencing the different sensation and invigoration it gives me, and finding out the smells I like and dislike. Even better, sometimes I get to try it on myself and smell nice for the rest of the day.

I’ve never been into pampering though. I guess in the lifestyle I’ve been living I’m always exposed to the idea of oils and fragrances in the form of cosmetics. Not so much the medicinal or health applications. And it makes sense because all the cosmetic stuff is easily accessible and seen when I go shopping. Fewer people walk into a massage/health clinic as opposed to going to the body shop, Myer, Priceline, and clothing stores which also sell lip balms and hand creams. Fragrant soaps bars, fruity body lotions, Victoria secret perfumes, body scrubs and bath gels… still not my thing. I’m just not into the whole ‘feel more beautiful’. A lot of it just feels unnecessary and I’m too much of a practical person to spend money on nice smelling things when a simple body wash with Dove shower gel will do the job.

But Aromatherapy is something else. Therapy is the  key word. And yes, I admit all those cosmetic products are indeed a form of beauty therapy for some, but I’m more interested in the science behind it all and how it can benefit the human body. How does smell trigger chemical responses in our body that make us feel lifted, invigorated, relaxed, hungry, sleepy, positive, stronger? More interestingly, how does smell actually help to heal our muscles, help us sleep deeper,clear our sinuses, and even relieve our digestion? For some time I’ve been wanting to study nutrition, dietetics, or something related to nutritional science, to understand the effect of what we consume on our bodies. In particular, to learn about the nutritional makeup of foods that can benefit all 9 systems of our body. (That is, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, urinary, integumentary, cardiovascular, and lymphatic). But I have an infatuation with smelling sensations too and I want it to become a science of my life.

I don’t think I’ve ever (or will ever) meet a person who doesn’t like to smell. There’s probably over a billion types of smells that we all like and don’t like. And the funny thing is we even adapt to smells as we get older, likening to certain smells or the opposite. I for one have always hated the smell of fish, but I love the smell of permanent textas, petrol, and freshly cut grass. A load of people hate the smell of durian, but the smell of bacon frying, freshly baked cookies, and charcoal BBQ? Give us more! They’re all food related I realised ha-ha. I don’t think there’s any smells I’ve come to dislike. But there are certain smells we don’t like at first, but the more we smell them, the more we might actually get used to it and like it.

Studying massage therapy at Jamu Spa school has opened up the world of essential oils. Every day after lunch time I would come into the reception area where all our traditional  products are displayed, and I would smell everything. I’ve smelt them all the day before, and I’ll smell them again tomorrow. I’ll start by smelling all the essential oils – Boreh spice, Limau, ginger, sweet orange, eucalyptus, lavender, vanilla & coffee bean.. then I’ll smell the scrubs and incense sticks. I can smell and smell all day, I just can’t get enough! The smell of coffee is a particularly amazing one. In fact, a lot of people  buy coffee because they’re addicted to its scent rather than it’s effect on our brain and body. I personally LOVE the smell of coffee. I never drink coffee. But if you give me coffee liquor, coffee ice cream, or coffee cake, I’ll take it all within a heart beat. (I know they actually contain caffeine from coffee but they’re more made with coffee essence). Also did you know coffee is a natural deodoriser? We keep a little bowl of coffee powder in the bathrooms at school to rid of bad smells. It also neutralises your senses, so after I smell all the essential oils after lunch, I take a sniff of coffee powder so my sense of smell is reset. Fascinating!

Anyway, back to Aromatherapy. I’ve borrowed some books from school to read about essential oils, how to use them, and which ones for what purpose. I can’t wait to bring the oils home and buy some more online when I get back to Sydney and set up my massage practice room at home. I’m only just a month into becoming a massage therapist and I’m already wanting to discover something else! To get an exact definition of Aromatherapy –

Aromatherapy: The practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.

Hmm.. so I could be a herbalist really. Aromatherapy and Massage therapy do go very well together.. Doesn’t matter right now, I’m excited to learn!!

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