Scent is what I call “invisible architecture” lately. I am not sure if I have heard that term somewhere or if I spun together that term, but it is pretty accurate to describe the powre of scent upon space. We experience space through out senses. When you stimulate a physical sense, you add shape to space and color experince in new ways.
Layering fragrances into a space can stimulate your imagination. Scent is associated with memories, and great-memory scents are incredibly powerful. Aromatherapy- using pure essential oils from plants and fruits and resins in specific ways- can be healing to your body and your mind.
Needless to say, the searing power of scent is hard to ignore.
The good news about the science of aromatherapy is that power of scent is something scientists like to study!
Sally Augustin wrote a great piece in Psychology Today, The Smell Is Right, all about the scientific studies involving aromatherapy and life:
” Scientists have learned, for example, that:
Burning frankincense reduces feelings of depression and anxiety – those mythical Christmas traveling men may have been scent-aware as well as wise.
Orange smells reduce anxiety – even in dentists’ offices – a place where almost everyone is on edge. Cedar smells reduce tension – and so do lavender ones. Vanilla scents are so good at relaxing people that they’ve even been used to help people stay calm during CAT scans and similar medical tests. Wearing vanilla-y perfumes to job interviews may provide the advantage that moves wearers into new and desirable jobs.
Lemon and jasmine scents enhance our cognitive performance. Doing a hard crossword puzzle or taking the law boards? Suck on lemon drops. People smelling lemon report that they feel better than people smelling other pleasant scents – a scent-sory bonus!
Peppermint scents work just like lemon scents – but for the muscles other than those between our ears. If you’re working out, forget the lemon drops and slather yourself with peppermint body lotion instead. Your workout will seem easier than it does when you omit the lotion, as well as less frustrating. The hidden bonus of using peppermint scents while working out is that you’ll also feel that you are performing better and with more vigor. So, if you aren’t a sports star don’t worry – smelling peppermint will make you think you’re one.
Jasmine improves the quality of sleep, but doesn’t help you fall asleep any faster. If you smell jasmine while sleeping your mental performance will be improved the next day. You’ll also be less anxious when you wake up.
Rosemary and grapefruit odors pep people up. Rosemary also makes our long-term memoryperform at its best. Cook with rosemary just before you start to do your taxes – it’ll help you remember why you saved some of those crumpled receipts. And women of a certain age will be pleased to know that men who are smelling grapefruit estimate that women they’re looking at are significantly younger than they actually are.
Aromatherapy has a very low barrier to entry- you can literally cook applesauce with cinnamon sticks and find yourself steeping in creative fragrance! Peeling fresh oranges can be calming and invogorating. Walking through a forest can help you feel more grounded from the deep woodsy scents that stimulate the lower chakras.
My favorite way to start using scent: play with natural fragrances that you love. Fresh baked cookies may be as loaded with scent-tied memories as a ton of essential oils. Once you grow acustomed to adding some aromatherapy, even unofficially, you can stretch into fun blends, sleeping with drops of oil on your feet, baths and even infusing your air with nebulized oils. For now… easy works. And it will change your experience of life!
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