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Sense of smell

Posted on 05 September 2017


Sense of smell


Human sense of smell is called olfaction and it works with the sense of taste. The purpose of this sense is to recognise harmful substances like foods that have gone bad or chemicals that might be dangerous to us and also recognise smells that are attractive to us. Our sense of smell sends messages to the brain via receptors giving it signs whether to react or to do something. Human sense of smell is not as well formed as other animals, but it is still important for our survival and we are able to recognise thousands of different smells.  




When we choose our partner, their smell is also important in this process. Unconsciously we opt for a partner who to us is attractive based on their smell and who is genetically far away from us. It is thought that women have a stronger sense of smell and are sensitive to male hormones and may even find fresh male sweat irresistible. Women sense of smell may be heightened during ovulation when pregnancy is a higher possibility.  Generally speaking people who are well kept, healthy and fit are more attractive to us by the smell of “freshness”. Unfortunately nowadays we are obsessed with avoiding natural smells and the normal body odour is covered up with perfumes, deodorants, hairsprays etc

We relate certain smells to specific people or incidences in our lives and sometimes we may hate or love some smells without really knowing why, maybe it is some past memory file in our brain? The brain links the events and other sensory experiences together and smells may trigger some deep emotional reactions. Specific smells may improve our moods, maybe they are something we link to a positive experience? Generally speaking flower scents and fresh citrus or herbal scents are felt as positive and gas, oil, paint or other chemicals or cigarette smoke felt as negative.


Aromatherapy and sense of smell



Smells may also smell different to different people and some people may have lost their sense of smell completely. This sense tends to deteriorate with the ageing process, but we can slow the process down by using and training our noses. Smoking is believed to have a negative affect on our sense of smell. If you are working with essential oils or perfumes I would recommend for you to stop smoking. 


Smells will always play an important part in our lives whether it is conscious or unconscious. It is a factor in our decision making process in many ways and a beautiful smell can always make a gloomy day feel bright!

Read more:

The Smell Report

Do scents affect people's moods or work performance?


How smell affects the mood

Our sense of smell is an important tool in our lives and it affects many things some consciously, some unconsciously. The brain links all sensory experiences together in all events and files it in the brain. This is one of the reasons we may like or dislike some smells without any apparent reason.

If we are already anxious or stressed about certain situations some smells, which we find negative may make this experience even worse. On the other hand some smells may affect our mood positively changing and uplifting our mood. These smells may be linked to specific experiences which is when our “memory file” is created. Generally speaking people find crispy citrus scents uplifting and most flower oils are also popular. Men and women may also smell things differently.   

Aromatherapy and sense of smell

For example smell of cinnamon may be associated with cinnamon buns, smell of orange may be related to a childhood treat and coffee may be related to your grandparents. Most of these are positive associations. On the other hand negative experiences may have the same affect. If you have experienced for example of an abusive relationship and that person was wearing a specific perfume that smell may trigger negative emotions in you.

Smell is a very personal experience. Our life experiences affect the way we feel about different scents and it is important to find the ones that work for you. You can then use the uplifting scent in your essential oil burner or diffuser or create a room spray which you can use for a little pick up when you get stressed and tired


Bring a gentle scent to your home with our gorgeous candles 

Use essential oil blends in your diffuser or burner


Hope you find this interesting. Please let me know by commenting or drop me an email with any questions. I would love to hear from you!


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