Sure, so many of us love candles – from the scent to the aesthetic purposes of them. However, it turns out that candles are so much more than just a yummy-smelling piece of your home decor! Candles can be therapeutic expressions of who you are, and even bring back memories to other times and places in your life. The mental health benefits of candle use have been proven throughout research over the last few years, due to their use in aromatherapy. Many people believe aromatherapy to be a sham, but the hard truth is that aromatic benefits transcend beyond just pleasant scents.
How Do Candles Work?
When it comes to your body, there are around 400 olfactory receptor genes that are active in your body. These olfactory genes are able to detect thousands of different fragrance molecules, according to scientists. Your sense of smell is a huge role in your mood, stress levels, and work productivity. Have you ever noticed that certain hotels have signature scents? This is based on the aromatherapy and scent research benefits that researchers have identified. Candles are capable of releasing scents that create and develop moods and specific feelings both in your mind and your body. Aromatherapy transcends mental benefits, and incorporates physical benefits as well. Researchers have been able to study how fragrances modulate your brain, and create brain activity patterns. This research has been able to support the benefits of using aromatherapy.
Candles set a beautiful ambiance when burned. The beautiful, warm light of a candle can benefit your mood sexually, physically, and emotionally. Burning a candle has even been proven to benefit people struggling with sleep, as the warm glow is much different than the blue light that televisions and cellular devices emit.
In the olden days, many lived by candlelight in the evenings. We now know that candlelight can quiet and soothe your mind, and assist in relaxing your eyes from a long day of digitally connected living.
The effect of candles on your mental health
When we introduce different scents and notes into our home, our workspace, and even our cars, we are creating and controlling the ambiance and energy in our spaces. This really shapes our mood and our mind. For example, the scent of lavender is often used to destress and decompress. If you work a very intensive job that requires a lot of mind work, having a lavender candle or lavender aromatherapy diffuser can help you release tension and clear your mind of stress. Candles can be used in mental health therapy, in conjunction with other forms.
So why should you burn a candle?
For starters, burning a candle creates ambiance.
Candles are able to transform your entire atmosphere simply by emitting a beautifully warm glow with a pleasant scent to accompany them. By changing the way we feel in a space, we are creating the environment that we want to be in. Lighting a candle while working, reading a book, taking a bath, or having a nice dinner date can truly set the tone and mood for that specific moment in your day-to-day life.
Candles can calm the mind and soothe the soul.
By burning a candle with certain herbal or floral scents, you can destress and decompress from your daily life. Scents such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus have proven effective when it comes to people struggling with mental health such as depression or anxiety.
Candles can greatly improve your mood.
A scented candle can help alleviate stress and anxiety by lowering your cortisol levels. There are even candles that are made to help activate serotonin and dopamine to promote and maintain a more positive mind. There are also essential oils for this purpose, that can be diffused through a mister.
Candles are also linked to olfactory memories.
Some scents can stimulate memories. For example, if you wear a particular cologne or perfume on a special date, burning a scent similar can bring back that rush of emotion and positive feeling. Scents that remind you of a hotel you visit often, or a home-like scent, can assist in creating a more warm and comfortable ambiance. Some people enjoy food scented candles, as they bring them back to a parent baking for them or a favorite restaurant that they enjoy visiting. We have learned through research that the limbic system is the part of our brain that links memory and emotions to scent.
Burning a candle can promote and support healthier, more relaxed and fulfilling sleep.
Candlelit evenings are cozy and relaxing. However, as it turns out, the benefits go far beyond comfort. Burning a candle and disconnecting from your phone and electronic devices can assist in maintaining a more natural sleep rhythm. Blue light emitted from our devices tends to disrupt our circadian rhythm, leading to less restful sleep.
Candle burning also helps create a ritual and promotes a more consistent routine.
If you feel like you have no consistency in your life, creating a time where you burn a candle in the evening or at a certain time of day can help you maintain a time to disconnect, relax, and reflect. This mental reset will assist in giving you positive effects mentally, and can be combined with journaling, meditation, or yoga. If you’ve ever seen a candlelit yoga class and wondered what the hype was about, you can create this relaxing and comforting environment at home and experience the true benefits.
Candles are intertwined with history.
From being used to seal letters by melting wax, religious ceremonies, and aiding lost lives, candles have maintained usefulness throughout history. There have been so many forms of candles used throughout history. From tallow to soy and coconut waxes used today, candles reached their peak popularity starting in the 1990s. The innovations in healthier waxes that are less environmentally harmful have been seen throughout the last 20 years as people became much more concerned about health and long-term effects of burning these candles. Hemp candles, soy candles, coconut wax candles, and aromatherapy-based candles have gained and maintained popularity throughout the last 10 years. In fact, there are even events and stores that allow you to make your own candles! You can also buy kits off of the internet to create candles at home. Funky shapes, colors, scents, and patterns are also available readily. Candle price points range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
Overall, the benefits of burning candles can include creating and promoting feelings of happiness, relaxation, romance, and overall positivity. So if you needed an excuse to go order a few candles, here it is!