Being able to smell is possibly our most intuitive sense; think about those instant reactions upon smelling the bins as you walk down the street? Or perhaps someone wafts past you and you just have to know what it is they’re wearing? A recent study* found that we remember 35% of what we smell, compared to only 5% of what we see.
The olfactory system is located in the same area of the brain that affects our creativity, emotions and our memory. Makes sense, right? Fragrance can evoke a time and a place that we might have thought had disappeared from our memory years ago. All of a sudden, the scent of a childhood treat can take you all the way back to that moment when you clutched your pocket money tight as you walked into the local shop.
According to the Sense of Smell Institute (yes, it’s a thing), the average person is able to distinguish over 10,000 different odours, and they have been found to have both positive and negative effects on our mood and behaviour.
How scent can help:
Inflammation: It can reduce inflammation in the body. Throughout the day our bodies react to various stimuli and stresses; this can lead to a build-up of cortisol, the stress hormone, which in turn can cause inflammation and even skin issues. By opting for a blend of relaxing scents the body finds its own equilibrium again.
Relief: Fragrance has been found to help relieve depression and even pain, simply by giving the patient something that distracts the mind. It’s also great when it comes to your bedtime routine; have a cut-off time for social media and screens and breathe in the relaxing fragrance of our Clary sage (please avoid if pregnant), Lavender or Ylang Ylang essential oils.
Increase energy: When you’re having a tough time waking up in the morning, a great fragrance to add to your diffuser is a mix of Lemon, Grapefruit and Mandarin oils. Just sit there for a few minutes and let the fragrance do its work; you’ll be attacking your to-do list in no time. If you need energy on the go try carrying a little bottle of Grapefruit, Orange or Rosemary essential oils to sniff through the day to help energise you.
Improve alertness: Sometimes it’s easy to just zone out, and not just when we’re at work. Often we can behave the same way with our partners. Ensure you’re giving them attention with Frankincense, Vetiver or Eucalyptus essential oils.
*Study by Rockefeller University, New York