Can Smells Improve Your Health? Zena Tuitt
Take time to read this wonderful article by Zena Tuitt – inspired by her visit to Bermondsey Fayre
This week a colleague commented on my handcream. She loved the smell. I watched as the smell brought a smile to her face and shifted her mood. On Wednesday when I was feeling tired, I bought some incenses to lift my mood and help me relax. I was walking pastBermondsey Fayre and smelt a beautiful aromatic smell that drew me into the shop. The gentleman behind the counter was burning ‘Om’ The Mother’s India Fragrances. As soon as I smelt it I felt better. The packaging is also beautiful and serendipitiously the smells I picked up were boxed in the colour of the pH logo? Fancy that?
Bermondsey Fayre on Bermondsey Street. One of pH favourite places to do Yoga and buy gifts in London. They have lovely staff and presents to wear, smell and see.
I am currently deepening my Afrikan Yoga practice and as part of my daily development, Pablo Imani has recommended seven essential oils – one for each day to optimise my health whether it is to stimulate the nervous system, purify the blood, cleanse the glands, aid digestion or relieve nasal congestion.
Do smells have a positive or non positive effect on your moods?
I know they definitely do on mine. I won’t get too graphic but there are some smells that bring me joy and others that stir a shade of the anger emotion…(if you have ever been on a packed tube or train during rush hour or merrily gone to the bathroom at work to be confronted by a smell that appears to have come from an alien source – you’ll get my drift)
As well as eating well, keeping fit have you ever consider the effect of smells on your well-being?
Kate Fox, a social anthropologist from the Social Issues Research Centre has written a report called, The Smell Report: An Overview of Facts and Findings. It makes a great nose twitching read.
The human nose is in fact the main organ of taste as well as smell. The so-called taste-buds on our tongues can only distinguish four qualities – sweet, sour, bitter and salt -all other tastes are detected by the olfactory receptors high up in our nasal passages
Which proves the point that you only have to know what ‘s&*t smells like to know when something tastes like it!
The report is a fascinating read and also sheds some light on how emotions are connected to scents. The report states:
The perception of smell consists not only of the sensation of the odours themselves but of the experiences and emotions associated with these sensations. Smells can evoke strong emotional reactions. In surveys on reactions to odours, responses show that many of our olfactory likes and dislikes are based purely on emotional associations. The association of fragrance and emotion is not an invention of poets or perfume-makers. Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion. Smell sensations are relayed to the cortex, where cognitive recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of our brains have been stimulated. Thus, by the time we correctly name a particular scent as, for example, vanilla , the scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses.
Using Essential Oils in Aromatherapy to boost moods
If you need a mood boost, you can try shaking a couple drops of an essential oil onto a tissue and then inhaling the uplifting aroma. You can also use an aromatherapy diffuser to scent an entire room with your selected oil, or add a few drops of essential oil to your bath or massage oil.
Essential oils are so concentrated and potent, that even small amounts can be dangerous if used improperly. Never take essential oils internally, unless under the guidance of a health professional. Some essential oils (including lavender) can cause harmful drug interactions, so consult your doctor if you’re currently using any medication.
In the words of my new favourite incense makers ‘The Mother’s India Fragrances’…
Fragrances play an important role in our lives. We know that colours and music can influence the way we feel. Fragrances can do that too, but many of us are not aware of this. Some fragrances can make you feel calm, relaxed or contemplative, others can boost creativity or inspire activity. You can find out how different fragrances affect you and how you can use fragrances to support you in your daily activities.
To find out more about aromatic incenses or aromatherapy go to: