Scented candles infuse your space with fragrance, but look deeper and it tells you a whole lot more. Your nose automatically recognizes scents but the brain also processes these aromas, in turn affecting our moods and even our memories. In fact, 75% of all emotions generated every day are due to smell, and we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch. Understanding the far-reaching impact of scents can help you harness their power to do more than simply enhance your surroundings
FRAGRANCE AND MOOD You are most likely to feel great when your surroundings smell good. Research has shown that exposure to pleasant scents can lead to a 40% improvement in mood. Fragrances have also been found to have significant, measurable effects on feelings of irritation, stress, depression, apathy, happiness, sensuality, relaxation, and stimulation as well. For example; think of homemade cookies baking in the oven – how does that make you feel? Or, when you climb into a clean fresh bed and you smell that warm crisp cotton? If you know how scents can impact your mood, it gives you the opportunity to use them to feel a certain way. If you are feeling stressed and wish you could hop on a plane to a beach, close your eyes and relax with a beautiful fragrance that reminds you of your favorite island. Feeling nostalgic about childhood summers spent picking berries in the country? Explore a rich floral to help you experience it all over again. But beyond transporting you to another time or place, different scents can target specific emotions. For example, certain studies show that citrus can make you feel more energized and productive—and that vanilla promotes feelings of joy and relaxation. Jasmine is believed by many to uplift your mood, relax you and reduce depression (some also think it even acts as an aphrodisiac!). These are all examples of “functional fragrance” at work. By definition, functional fragrances are scents that are designed to provide additional benefits like promoting positive emotions and reducing stress. Some stores even have a signature scent that has been shown to increase customer spending, and hotels often use functional fragrances to enhance their guests’ experience (and keep them coming back). Aromatherapy, or using essential oils for a specific therapeutic benefit, is considered the use of a type of functional fragrance—but not all functional fragrances are used in aromatherapy. Simply put, a functional fragrance is a scent that is intended to invoke positive feelings—and our JOHNSTON + EICHER highly scented candles are the ultimate way to reap the benefits of fragrance and to set the perfect mood.
When any smell enters the nostrils it is processed by the olfactory bulb, which begins inside the nose and extends along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory bulb connects to two areas of the brain’s limbic system, specifically the amygdala and hippocampus, where emotions and memories and processed. It’s an interesting fact that other sensory inputs, such as what we see, hear or touch, do not pass through this specific part of the brain. This is why researchers believe there is such a strong, almost-instantaneous connection between scent, emotions, and memories. The only catch: This link between fragrance and feelings only occurs if there has been a prior association in the past. This is because the brain automatically makes and stores a connection between a scent and an event, person, object or that specific point in time the first time you smell it.
SCENT AND MEMORIES
Research has shown that we can remember scents with 65% accuracy after one year. Those with especially strong scent memory may be able to remember exactly what their third-grade teacher’s perfume smelled like (40 years later). Because the area of the brain that processes scent is also where memories are stored, a particular smell can trigger a very detailed memory, as well as the emotions associated with it. With the help of brain imaging, researchers can actually see the increased activity in this area of the brain when scent elicits memories.