Candles are made of several different ingredients, each of which have different purposes and benefits. The basic ingredients in candle making are wax, wix and fragrances.
The most popular waxes used in candle making are beeswax, palm wax and soy wax. Each type of wax has different types of properties such as burning time, ability to hold fragrances and the emissions that they give off when burnt.
The fragrances that are used can be anything the manufacturer chooses, once they have decided on what emotion they want the user to emote.
Candles in many cultures are a strong part of their tradition and religious beliefs as they use them to fulfil many different purposes and a part of many customs.
They are also thought of as a luxury by many people and are bought as a way of treating yourself with something special.
Many people include candles as a key part of gift giving as candle sales increase during special holidays.
The use of a candle depends mostly on whether or not it has a fragrance or the type of fragrance that is used to make the candle.
Some candles are fragrance free and are simply used as a backup when there is no electricity.
Scented candles, however, are made with fragrances which are made up of mostly essential oils.
These essential oils are what give the candles their varied purposes as each essential oil caters to a different mental or physical health need.
Overall candles can be used for any of the following reasons: enhancing the ambiance, decor, enhancing romantic gestures, fragrance, health benefits, meditation and remembrance.
Candles and the Emotion
There is scientific proof regarding the fact that scented candles can psychologically impact our mood, stress level, working capacity or capabilities, our mental health and even physical health.
The human emotions can be referred to as a delicate feeling and it can be increased or lessened by various stimulants.
Aromatherapy speaks to the use of aromatic plant extracts and oils for healing. Aromatherapy candles are used to stimulate human emotions and moods. They can either make it better or worse.
Let’s look at the different emotions that candles can stimulate in humans.
Candles can lead to depression
The first emotion that we will look at that candles evoke is those emotions which occur as a result of depression.
Now this may come as a shock to many as candles as candles are widely known to be the complete opposite and be therapeutic and a relaxant. You may be wondering how this is possible.
Candles can trigger depression in some people if they are made with fragrances that remind them of a particular person or moment in their past.
These memories may cause a person to feel depressed because they miss a loved one or because the smell reminds them of a traumatic experience they have encountered.
For example, the smell of a rose candle can remind a daughter of her deceased mother who would always wear a rose scented perfume.
Or the smell of mahogany teakwood candles may remind a granddaughter of her deceased grandfather.
Experiencing those memories can be a trigger for depression.
Candles may impact your happiness
Candles can certainly help you to feel a sense of happiness. Here is a fun fact for you: Danish people burn more candles than anywhere else in Europe.
Another fact to note is that: Denmark is rated as one of the top-rated happiest countries in the world. Coincidence? Probably not.
Scented candles are known to impact our moods. There are some scents that are specifically geared towards making the user happier. Fragrances like citrus, vanilla and cinnamon.
In the same way that scented candles can trigger negative emotions that lead to depression, they can also trigger positive emotions that will lead to happiness.
Each person experiences happiness in their own way and will have different things that the brain registers as a source or reminder of happiness.
A candle that replicates the smell of the ocean or one that replicates the smell of cookies can stir up happiness in users because of a memory they associate with those smells.
It could be the last time they vacationed with their family on an island in the Caribbean or of when they were a child and would spend hours baking cookies with their mother.
Candles can make you feel calm and at peace
Many people use candles as a means of getting themselves to a calm or peaceful mood. After a long day, many people will choose to take a bath with lit candles.
Or think of a spa, there are almost always lit candles in the rooms to encourage their clients to be at peace.
Many insomniacs also use these aromatherapy candles to encourage them to sleep because of this reason.
Many studies have shown that both the scent of the candle and the candle flames can help the user to feel relaxed and at peace.
The flickering flame is communicated to the brain as something that is to be focused on and as a result of that focus you begin to eliminate any previous thought.
This will help you concentrate on something other than the source of your worries. Additionally, the scent of the candle that you burn will also help with relaxation.
There are specific essential oils that target this emotion. Oils such as lavender, ylang-ylang and bergamot are known to reduce stress levels.
Imagine coming home from a long day of meeting and a hectic schedule; this would be the perfect time to sit on the couch with a lavender candle lit for a few hours before you get into tackling chores at home.
It would make a world of a difference.
Candles can enhance your focus
Think of the many times that you have sat down with the intention to study or work but for whatever reason you just cannot get your mind to settle and be focused.
The solution for that is simpler than you think; just light a candle. There are some fragrances that are used to make candles, like peppermint, that will help to “wake up” the mind and cause us to be more focused as we work.
Studies have shown that during the COVID-19 pandemic when more people have been working from home many people have purchased candles to help them focus on their home offices, as it was hard to be productive amidst all that was happening simultaneously to the pandemic.
There are many productivity specialists that encourage the use of scented candles in the workspace to increase productivity and work outcome.
Scents such as peppermint, lemon and rosemary have proven to increase our focus.
Candles can relieve stress and anxiety
With all the hustle and bustle and constant demands of life, it is no surprise that a large number of people suffer from chronic anxiety and will experience mental and emotional breakdowns due to stress.
Many people who suffer from anxiety go untreated because they think medication is the only method to cure anxiety.
However, scientists have proven that some essential oils are able to reduce anxiety. These essential oils are used to make candles and when lit are able to ease anxiety and stress.
Fragrances such as lavender, clary sage cinnamon and orange are some examples of fragrances that are used to ease stress.
Candles may cause a feeling of nostalgia
Sight and sound are not the only senses that trigger memory. In fact, our olfactory senses play an integral role in our memory.
Have you ever walked by a stranger and smelled their perfume and instantly you are reminded of a loved one that wears that perfume?
Or walk into a bakery and instantly be brought back to Saturday mornings in your childhood home when your mother would bake you treats?
That is all thanks to your sense of smell, which is one of the stronger human senses. As a result of this many, candles are known to stir up nostalgic emotions in the people who use them.
Different candle scents will become attractive to you because of the different memories that they stir up in you.
Think about moving from a tropical island to a cold climate country. It is easy to miss the freshness of the ocean or even the smell of the ocean.
Using candles with tropical or ocean scents could help in an instance like this one to help the user to feel like they have a little piece of their home with them even though they are far away.
In concluding, we are able to deduce that candles, especially scented candles have numerous effects on human beings. From relaxation, focus and happiness to even depression.
It is therefore important to know what you are looking for when purchasing a candle and also to know what scents may trigger a bad or uncomfortable memory for you.