How to Tap Into the Psychological Power of Scent
Written by e3 guest blogger: Jennifer Odear
When I first learned about essential oils, I was thrilled to reintroduce aroma back into my life. I had stopped wearing perfume years ago, since many of my friends have chemical allergies. But mainly, I was curious about the psychology behind aromatherapy. I’ve spent decades writing for psychologists, life coaches and wellness practitioners, so I wondered how the power of scent impacts someone’s emotional well-being.
Around this time I was introduced to Caryn Gehlmann, a clinical aromatherapist and the founder of e3, who was looking for a writer. One of the first projects I helped her with was her ebook, Listen to Your Nose: An Introduction to Aromatherapy. (If you’d like to download your own free copy, click here.)
I learned from Caryn that smell is the least understood of all our senses. Yet, it is 10,000 times more sensitive than taste. When we smell something our limbic system interprets the emotional significance of an aroma. This explains why an essential oil can trigger a behavioral response in our body and why certain aromas put us on guard, while others calm us down.
The research on the power of scent to trigger deep emotional feelings is fascinating. It made me wonder, why aromatherapy is still considered to be a fairly new approach to emotional well-being? Why don’t more people, especially in healthcare, harness the power of scent?
According to some researchers, part of the challenge is we lack the words to describe smells. As a writer, this is an intriguing problem! But isn’t it true that scent, and our emotional reaction to it, is hard to put in words? Usually we end up comparing a scent to another scent. Perhaps that’s what the world’s best wordsmith was alluding to when he wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
The other challenge is all of our idiosyncrasies when it comes to scents. How you respond to a scent is determined by your culture, geography, and even your genetic makeup. Scents are also very connected to our memories that are formed early in life. So whether you grew up on a farm or in a big city, it will impact your preference for certain scents.
After learning more about the psychology behind aromatherapy, I started to experiment with the power of smell personally. I’d heard that lavender can be a very relaxing. So I decided to try using it when I was tossing and turning and couldn’t get to sleep. I found that Lavender Spike indeed relaxed me. However, French Lavender, was more stimulating, than relaxing, so not a good bedtime option for me.
Here’s the thing, you might have the opposite reaction, or you may not like lavender at all. I started asking my friends to smell different essential oils and blends and each person chose a different oil to help them relax. But have you noticed that many essential oils companies position an essential oil or blend as the ultimate solution for everyone? The truth is we’re all different. What smells fantastic to me, may not smell that great you.
So my advice is to listen to your nose, instead of relying exclusively on marketing copy. I love working with Caryn and the e3 team because they have a very personalized approach to aromatherapy and they believe education is the key. That’s a marketing strategy I can get behind!
So what should you do if you’re not sure what scent you like best? Take a look at e3’s sample policy. This gives you the freedom to experiment with a few options and decide on the essential oil that’s best for you personally. Isn’t it time you tapped into the power of scent in your wellness routine?
Jennifer Odear is a copywriter and marketing consultant, working in partnership with businesses to market their unique message. Learn more about her services at www.internetwritingpro.com.