From perfume to home fragrance and body wash, we adore a scent. It has the power to soothe, invigorate and make us feel good. Below we uncover the power of aromatherapy and explore how scent can be used to enhance our everyday experiences and support modern lifestyles.
What is aromatherapy?
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances for holistic healing.” – in other words, the use of fragrance to enhance health and promote feelings of well-being. This aroma usually comes from essential oils that are known for their therapeutic qualities and can influence your body in different ways. For example, lavender is renowned for relieving stress and calming the body. Meanwhile Ylang Ylang – also known for relaxation – is sometimes known as a ‘natural antidepressant’ because of its reputation for relieving anxiety and promoting a feeling of happiness. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing.”
Why does scent matter?
In 2004, Drs. Linda Buck and Richard Axel won a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their discovery that our olfactory system (the sensory system responsible for our sense of smell) is comprised of more than 1,000 olfactory genes in our body and the estimation that humans can recognise and remember about 10,000 different smells. Smell is also strongly associated with memory, due to the physical closeness of how we process scent with the limbic system in the brain, the area that is related to processing emotion. Spurred on by these findings, biologists and scientists have researched smell further and now estimate that humans can actually distinguish more than one trillion smells and that they are closely associated to wellbeing.
How is modern aromatherapy different?
Modern aromatherapy, or functional fragrance as it is becoming known as, is an update on the essential oils that have been used in wellness for centuries. A fragrance with a function, is designed to help you reset at times of high stress or energise when feeling sluggish. Developed using research into the connection between cognitive function and the olfactory system – modern aromatherapy can be an excellent accompaniment to modern lifestyles, helping to boost our mood, support exercise or calm anxiety.
The key difference of modern aromatherapy is usually the format of delivery of fragrance to make it more accessible. While the principles behind the alchemy of essential oils has stayed relatively the same, they aren’t always convenient to carry around or infuse the home but new solutions make this far easier. One example being Neom’s Wellbeing Pod.
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