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Candles - The Fire of Life

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Have you ever sat in a quiet space with a candle flickering beside you? Candles naturally create a relaxed ambience. Combined with aromas from essential oils, they can positively affect your mood too.

Pre-historic Flames

The human fascination with a living flame such as a candle, probably harks back thousands of years to pre-history when fire was revered as a bringer of warmth and light. In our busy modern lives, a candle evokes those instincts and brings comfort as well as stimulating our senses, especially when mixed with aromas.

Light Can Heal as Well as Harm

Light has many effects on the human body. We are now aware that the light emitted from screens is not so good for us, particularly before going to bed. But do you know that the light from a candle can have completely the opposite effect – being beneficial and helping us to relax and unwind?

Candles have long been used during the practice of Yoga and Meditation because they act as an aid to focus. The flame of a candle placed close to you will react with your breath, offering a visual reference. Following the flickering and slowing your breathing in turn slows the flicker of the candle. If you have difficulty meditating, this can be an excellent exercise.

How Do They Work?

Scented candles are even more powerful. The combination of warmth, light and aroma can affect the limbic system in the brain. This area of the brain processes and regulates emotion, memory, and learning. We recognise smells through a part of the limbic system known as the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb communicates with the rest of the system, giving your brain a connection between what you are smelling and what you are feeling – in much the same way as listening to music can evoke memories and emotions.

Relax and Unwind

We can use scented candles then, to help improve and maintain our mental and emotional health. Lavender is widely known to induce a state of calm, not only in the mind but physically too.

Burning a candle with lavender in combination with other relaxing aromas can work wonders when taking a bath, or just sitting quietly.

Digestion Aid

Aromas such as those from citrus oils are known to stimulate the digestive system – think about how your mouth waters when you smell something with lemon oil. But apart from stimulating appetite, citrus oils can aid the action of the gut by inducing the production of saliva. Burning a candle in your dining room which has oils of bergamot, lemon, orange, or grapefruit can provide a truly relaxing ambience but as a bonus, it helps your digestion too.

Science Knows

Using the sense of smell as a trigger is nothing new to science either. Some American studies have shown that using essential oils to stimulate the brain can improve memory. Some studies in a British NHS hospital have shown that the use of essential oils such as Lavender and Patchouli, among others, can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

In Conclusion

Candles, when used as part of your daily routine, or more occasionally, can help to maintain and improve your general and mental health. So, why not give it a try? There is a huge choice of candles available to buy, and they might just give you more than a soft light and warmth!

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