Monday, 24 May 2021

Why the sense of smell is so important

Diffuser necklace with essential oils
In Series 4, Episode 15 of the tv series House, Gregory House uses his sense of smell to help his memory. 

13: "Where are you going?"

House: "To smell a bus, obviously"

13: "Why are you smelling the passenger's clothes?"

House: "Smell is the most powerful evoke-erator of memory!"

I love the tv series House and I remembered this when reading up about why essential oils are so amazing and quick-acting. According to basic human biology - there is a direct connection between your nose and your brain's limbic system which is the area of the brain associated with memory and emotions. 

Smells can transport you to memories, for example, walking past a bakery can transport you to childhood when there was fresh bread ready for breakfast or when freshly mown grass reminds you of playing football with your siblings after the lawn was cut. The sense of smell involves far more receptors than with other senses, meaning you can discern lots of different aromas and be transported to many different places. 

But there is also the emotional side of it because smells (and therefore essential oils) can directly influence a person's mood, stress levels, anxiety levels and even depressive symptoms (from my favourite book Medicinal Essential Oils.) This is helped by the fact that the sense of smell is the only sense that has a dedicated, direct connection to the brain via the olfactory bulb.

So how does smell affects the body?

  1. Aroma is inhaled
  2. Odour molecules travel up the nose
  3. Aroma molecules attach to the olfactory bulb receptor sites
  4. Impulses are transmitted to the limbic system (a complex set of structures including hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and limbic cortex)
  5. In response to the aroma, the limbic system causes physiological responses in the body via hormones, neurotransmitters and other chemicals that influence body functions such as:
    1. pain perception
    2. appetite
    3. metabolism
    4. libido
    5. wakefulness
    6. body temperature
    7. sense of well-being
    8. stress levels
    9. motivation

Amazing isn't it? How smell can impact our physiology and emotions.

Want to research it yourself?

If you want to know more about your amazing sense of smell go and read some doTERRA blog posts about essential oils and stressthe power of aroma or do some cool experiments here

Searching for more information via the internet, you too can find lots of people realise how amazing the nose is like this amazing poster about the quantum nose or these amazing TEDx or YouTube videos about smell:

1. TEDx Talk - Smell, Your Least Appreciated Sense. Rachel Herz talks about why you shouldn't take your sense of smell for granted and how it is so important for survival or even being attracted to someone. Active smelling has been shown to restore lost olfactory neurons [15:42] and your sense of smell is so important. [16:23] Use aromas to enrich your life - a scent is worth a thousand pictures.

2. Why Smell is More Important Than You Think. In this TEDx Talk, Holladay Saltz talks about how smell is so important including why cleaning products include certain smells. For example, citrus equals cleanliness; fruity smells increase feelings of comfort and floral equates to maternal love and care. Beware of marketing stuff as these things aren't natural products, unfortunately.

3. Here are some articles about How Smell Works and Psychology and Smell including the importance of smell in affecting emotion and in our memory recall.

4. Khan Academy - I love this site for information about everything. Here's a video from them about olfaction - the sense of smell. It is an in-depth video!!  

5. TEDx Talk - The power of the sense of smell. Donald Wilson talks about the massive importance of the sense of smell.

More stuff from me

I am starting to create my own repository of essential oil information on my MemberVault account here where you can find out more about me, my business partnership with doTERRA and you'll soon be able to find out more about my other work too. Go and find out more at my Essentially Shamanic MemberVault site now.


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