Don’t pass out, I am posting twice in a week!
Several months ago, I asked a friend to write an article on the psychology of the sense of smell and how it affected and helped us. Please visit her site to find out more about her and what she is working on!
I am so excited to welcome Dr. Venus Nicolino to the KLEAN Dish!
“The sense of smell is the most neglected of all of the senses in humans.
This is surprising, considering that seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. More specifically, it is the odor molecules that enter the passage between the nose and mouth that gives us most of our taste sensation. Whether we smell attractive odors, such as those from certain flowers, or foul-smelling odors, such as those from rotting garbage, we do have specific behavioral responses to the smells. We can either, breathe deeply and smile, or cover our noses and look disgusted, respectively.
Often, we take for granted our ability to use each of our senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. But when we delve deeper into how these senses work, we discover the intricacies and complexities behind them, and we begin to understand the ways in which we behave.
Though there has not been much research in the United States on the sense of smell, more research has been done in Europe indicating that the use of scent can affect physical and psychological changes in humans. One study done in the United States found that inhalation of certain aromas appeared to be able to induce sustained weight loss over a six-month period. The research was published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery (1995). The study involved over 3,000 subjects and Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., neurologist and director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, Illinois conducted it. Dr. Hirsch wanted to see if smelling pleasant food aromas would help reduce appetite and food cravings in people, thereby helping them lose weight by reducing their food intake. Subjects were given plastic nasal inhalers scented with banana, green apple and peppermint. They sniffed the inhalers before, during and between meals. They recorded how often they sniffed. It was found that those who sniffed more frequently lost weight faster than those who did not. Dr. Hirsch explained that it worked because “Odors have a direct effect on the satiety center in the brain, which is the area that tells your body when you’ve had enough to eat.” Continual exposure to pleasant food aromas indicates to the brain that the body is satisfied and does not need to eat. It was shown in the study that there was successful weight loss.
Another study by several hospitals in the United States, including New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have successfully reduced anxiety before and during MRI scans, using scents such as vanilla, lavender and heliotropin.
Aromachology, the study of the effects of odors on behavior, is a developing science and it is relatively new. Though aromatherapy has been practiced for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and the Vedic culture of India, where plant extracts and medicinal plants were widely used, there is much more scientific research being done for both fields today. Unanswered questions will soon be answered through continual advances in science and technology that will lead to a clearer understanding of healing and its connection with the sense of smell. In the meantime, do your own experiment through KLEAN bath+body laboratories.
Let me know what olfactory stimulation does to you?
With empathy and Compassion, Dr. V”