Is Depression Related to Your Laundry Soap?

June 30, 2018

I see many clients with anxiety and depression in my wellness practice. They come to me for relaxation, stress relief and ultimately elimination of these symptoms. We often do Reiki and Craniosacral therapy table work for that deep relaxation and peaceful feeling they are looking for and often they do feel much better. We have conversations around their lifestyles to analyze how they could make small changes to improve their well being between sessions. I usually recommend the monthly sound healing we offer as a way to destress. 

 

As it happens, while I was heading to a Sound Healing session, I parked a in parking lot about 150 ft or so from a laundry mat.  A strong waft of chemical detergent hits my nose. It was quite pungent to me and I quickly moved away from the odor.  It struck me how strong it was and I wasn't anywhere near the machines that were inside closed doors. Thinking they must be venting those fumes somehow.


Back to those clients, one reoccurring theme with these lifestyle conversations "I notice this strong laundry detergent smell in your clothes have you considered changing your laundry detergent?" It may be coincidence, but a very high number of these depressed clients come in with a very strong chemical smell of laundry detergent. One

particular very common brand seems to have a very strong and distinctive perfume.

 

Think about this for a minute. Our eyes in particular have two types of visual sensors, rods and cones. I bet many of you have heard of them. We also have sensors for smell as well located in our nose. Do you know their names? Well neither do I. One reason that may be is because there are over 900 of them. We literally have hundreds of neurons in our nose that are directly hardwired through the olfactory nerve to the amygdala of the brain. You can see the importance of this for safety, if you smell smoke or gas, you want to react and move quickly away from that danger. So your brain has to be able to interpret a wide variety of different odors and react. We also can recognize many pleasant smells like a rose bud or fresh cut lemon. Just writing this I can imagine all those smells. I bet you can too. They are imprinted in the brain. Smells can trigger past memories and bring us back to familiar places.  Another unique feature of our sense of smell is for us to block out those smells. If we are continually exposed to the same odor over and over, we no longer notice it as our brain is able to discard that information.

 

Getting back to the laundry conversation, we wear clothes all day.  We sleep in sheets at night we are literally living in this laundered material 24-7. In fact you may be wearing strong smelling perfume or laundry detergent and not even know it as you have literally blocked it out.  While the rose or the lemon have a positive response for most people, the smoke or the gas generally have a negative response for people. It is often not the odor itself that causes the feeling, but the association we have with it. Yet I often wonder what these chemical smells are actually doing to the brain. You brain is naturally designed to respond to natural smells. Many of my essential oil customers use lavender for relaxation and sleep or wild orange for its uplifting scent. Certain scents are associated with certain feelings and many people experience similar feelings with the same scents.  I have an oil blend called Purify which to me smells like fresh laundry, a mix of citrus and evergreens.

 

While natural smells have many benefits, that chemical laundry detergent or fabric softener is literally a neurotoxin. You are inhaling a harmful chemical directly into the brain. I have read many articles about the dangers of using fabric softeners. The detergent itself while suspect is often not addressed. So think about what you wash your clothes in and how it may be effecting your brain, your mood, your health and your life. There are many natural alternatives.  Have you found an alternative that you like?  What other chemical smells are in your life? Household cleaning products, artificial air fresheners, scented candles are all chemical toxins. Love to hear from you in the comments below.

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