It’s a smell sensation
By Marian Connor
I was thinking last week I watched an interview with Gill Hicks the last survivor to be rescued from the 7/7 bombings. She was so badly injured she lost both her legs. Gill spoke of returning to St Thomas’s Hospital where her life was saved and meeting the lead nurse who cared for her 10 years ago. She said she was not prepared for the surge of emotion she felt when she hugged Eileen Sills and smelt her perfume.
“It was the first lovely smell I had after such an acrid, horrible, indescribable scent of the Tube.” She associated the smell with love, soothing words and the stroking of her hands and face. Smell has the ability to transport us. It is immediate and visceral.
“Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.”
The olfactory system is closely linked to the limbic system of the brain, concerned with emotion and memory. This enables smell to bring about immediate reactions without the brain first having a conversation with itself about the meaning of the smell. You sniff and BING – it’s immediate.
When we see we are reminded. When we smell we are transported. Not only that, we know that aromas have been scientifically proven to exert all manner of effects on our mind, body and spirit, smell can influence our learning, memory, lift our mood, calm us and affect hormone production.
Smell can relay so much information about us, since Hippocrates, physicians have used the smell of a patient’s body and their bodily fluids to identify illness. Today traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic practitioners still use smell as a diagnostic tool.
For example diabetic ketoacidosis can produce a breath that smells fruity. Chronic kidney failure can produce a fishy odour.
Currently dogs are trained to use their acute sense of smell to detect chemicals released from our bodies that indicate the earliest signs of many disorders including cancers.
Without smell we would lose a huge amount of the pleasure we derive from eating. The majority of our taste sensation is obtained from smell. Try tasting something without looking, whilst holding your nose. Once you overcome the risk of choking, notice how little taste there is. Is it a pear or a potato, cucumber or melon?
“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”
With the importance of smell in mind we can play an active part in how we are affected by aromas by introducing lots of lovely smells into our life to lift our day and make life smell sweeter.
“Idealist = One who on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage concludes that it will also make better soup.”
Henry Louis Mencken
Jimniy Cricket loves a book but he hasn’t read the latest information about tastes. He wasn’t aware of Umami ‘savoury taste’ and I’m sure in the near future we will have evidence of many more. Nevertheless he is very entertaining.
Improve your mood with Aromatherapy
Image Tile/Header– Pinocchio nosed woman smelling a rose- Getty
YouTube – You and Your Senses of Smell and Taste Jimniy Cricket Short 16mm Film Walt Disney Hbvideos
YouTube – How your Sense of Smell is Affected by Altitude – British Airways
Hyperlink – 3 Ways to Improve your Mood with Essential Oils – MindBodyGreen
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