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The sense of smell : using the wonders of olfaction and essential oils to boost your lifePublished on
Smell is the very first sense we develop. It is already fully formed and functioning even before birth. Humans, with ten million odour-detecting cells, are defeated hands down by the animal kingdom: dogs for example have between 220 and 300 millions. But even if we will never be as accurate as a hound, our nose can do wonders – and so can essential oils!
The science of smell
First of all, how does it work? After entering the nostrils, odour molecules travel to the top of the nasal cavity, up to the olfactory cleft, where the nerves related to smell are located. Receptors on the nerve cells detect the smell, and a combination of activated nerves is sent to the brain. Each combination corresponds to a unique smell. And even with our modest number of odour-detecting cells, we can still distinguish one trillion distinct scents!
Feelings and remembrance
Smell is not just about odours. It is also responsible for 75 to 95% of taste: while the tongue can distinguish sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavours, the whole aroma can’t be experienced without retro-olfaction. This incredible sense also has an important impact on memories and behaviour. This is because, unlike other senses, smell is directly wired to both amygdala and hippocampus – two parts of the limbic system that play a strong part in emotions and memories. A smell can instantly trigger nostalgia, happiness or anxiety because of a specific memory. 75% of emotions generated every day are due to our sense of smell. We can’t even begin to imagine how it affects our life… but we can easily improve it thanks to essential oils!
Getting the most out of our sense of smell thanks to Essential Oils!
When inhaling an essential oil with invigorating or relaxing properties, the hypothalamus is stimulated and produces neurochemicals. Ylang-Ylang or Frankincense can lower heart rate and blood pressure; Saro and Sage stimulate the immune system; Rosemary boosts concentration… Because the information quickly reaches the brain, effects are almost instantaneous while still being 100% natural. It’s time to use the superpowers of smell and essential oils to your advantage!