The mental health benefits of burning candles are real, according to researchers. Though it might seem silly, the science of candles for health is rooted in the practice of aromatherapy.

A candle is much more than a fragrant piece of decor. A candle is many things  — an olfactory object of expression, a time-machine, a therapeutic tool. 

 

There are about 300 active olfactory receptor genes "devoted to detecting thousands of different fragrance molecules through a large family of olfactory receptors," according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientia Pharmaceutica in 2016,

"The sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, and working capacity," the study researchers wrote.

 Candles emit scents that create specific feelings in the mind and body. Using an electroencephalograph to record brain activity, the research "clearly revealed that fragrances significantly modulate the activities of different brain waves and are responsible for various states of the brain. Further, a number of studies have scientifically supported the beneficial use of various aromatic plants in aromatherapy."

 The warm glow of a candle has numerous benefits for someone working to improve their sleep hygiene, too. The flame of a candle is a much better alternative to the blue light of a smartphone. Though it's no longer a cultural necessity, living by candlelight in the evenings is helpful for quieting the mind and giving the eyes a necessary digital reprieve.

Candles + Mental Health 

By introducing scents and notes into our space, we control the energy of our mind and pace of our environment.