Aromachologist is a person who practices aromachology, which is a method of using smells or essential oils to create, either in isolation or through blending in formulations, essential oils that have behavioral, physical and emotional benefits. Smell is the least studied of the senses, but aromachology is being used increasingly in healthcare and building science, and also in the world of sports and in practical matters such as selling a house.
While all aromachologists have a refined sense of smell, some employ other senses including sight, sound and hearing. These are synesthetes and history documents famous synesthetes such as the British painter David Hockney, the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and the English poet William Blake.
An aromachologist is a person who studies the effects of fragrance on human psychology and behavior and works with essential oils for their positive effects on behavior and feeling. An aromachologist is a practitioner of aromachology, which is a term coined in 1982 by the Olfactory Research Fund, now known as the Sense of Smell Institute (SSI), a division of the Fragrance Foundation in the USA, which has funded numerous medical, university and individual studies on the effects of scents on sleep and performance. Aromachology differs from aromatherapy.
An aromachologist is a formulator who works with essential oils for their aromatic and physical effects and is an expert in the way essential oils can be blended and articulated together to create “behavioral fragrances” to establish the positive effects of aromas on human behavior including feelings and emotions.
The aims of aromachology are to “study the interrelationship of psychology and the latest in fragrance technology and to transmit through odor a variety of specific feelings (such as relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and achievement) directly to the brain.
When odors activate the olfactory pathways that lead to the limbic portion of the brain they trigger the release of neurotransmitters that affect the brain and mental state of the individual in a variety of ways. Further, stimuli transmitted to the limbic system cannot be consciously blocked and all olfactory stimuli therefore influence our emotions.
Smell as a sense is the last frontier of neuroscience and has not been studied in as much depth as vision and hearing. The brain is able to process small differences in smell and the sense of smell may last longer in the aging process than sight and hearing. The olfactory bulb is that portion of the brain which processes smells information and its oscillations alter dynamically according to the tasks involved.
There are some people who process smells differently, hearing them as sounds. Canadian aromachologist, Nadine Artemis, author and formulator for Living Libations, is one such synestheste.[not in citation given]
When Artemis picks up a scent, she also sees colors. Therefore, when she is creating in aromachology, she is not only combining a palette of smells, she is also mixing a palette of colors to blend the purest, organic essential oils into an array of beneficial products. For example, when Artemis sniffs tainted or synthetic fragrances, she sees them as murky gray or muddy brown. Discovering this extraordinary sense of smell at a young age, Artemis sees different distillations of rose, one of the world’s most expensive essential oils, as hues and tones of pink and red. Calming chamomile comes across in hues varying from oceanic teals to deep royal blues.
It is believed that we all possess a small degree of synesthesia according to Dr Jamie Ward — quality of intermixing images, sounds and other sensations. The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is believed to have employed four senses of touch, smell, color and sound.
There are many instances of literature that may have portrayed synesthesia. For example, the famous poet William Blake (1757–1827) was probably a synesthete. In his poem “Wild Flower Song”, he writes:
- As I wander'd the forest,
- The green leaves among,
- I heard a wild flower
- Singing a song
In the book Perfume by Patrick Süskind, the main character, Grenouille, is born with a hyper-acute sense of smell but lacks his own bodily scent. He goes on a life quest, including many murders, to recreate the scent of innocence he sniffed on a beautiful girl.
Effects of aromachology
Studies have been conducted to show that those parts of the brain which govern alertness and concentration can be influenced positively or negatively by the olfactory substances used. Jasmine in a testing room enhanced the problem-solving cognitive skills of participants and also led to them demonstrating more interest and motivation for the task at hand. A combination of eucalyptus, peppermint oil and ethanol has been shown to improve cognitive performance, and after a monotonous stressful task experimental subjects were shown to demonstrate greater motivation after being exposed to a blend of peppermint, bergamot, sandalwood and lavender.
Role of an aromachologist
Pleasant aromas cause people to linger longer, a boon to retail stores, museums, spas and casinos. Pleasant smells have been shown to improve productivity, and improve physical performance, with athletes running faster, doing more pushups, and experiencing shorter recovery time after an extensive workout when the room was scented with either peppermint or lemon.
By blending specific smells, an aromachologist can create a more restful environment and improve health conditions. A study in 1987 showed that the smells found in nutmeg oil, maize extract, neroli oil, valerian oil, myristici, soelemcin and elemicin reduce stress in humans as well as reducing stress-related high blood pressure. The Mind Lab, an independent consultancy in the UK, studies the odor of a building as part of research on the brain’s responses to stimuli. Real estate brokers have been recommending to their clients to have smells of freshly baked cookies or the aroma of coffee in the house when it is being presented to potential buyers to create a sense of home. By bottling and releasing appropriate smells to evoke comfort, safety and joy, an owner may be able to accelerate the sale of a house.
Worker productivity can be enhanced by improving the quality of air in a building, not just by removing the negative pollutants, but also by introducing through ventilation or air conditioning systems olfactory stimulations to get a mix of ventilated air and odor.
It is necessary to ensure that the dosage is such that the odor is not excessive and should be kept just above the detection level. Also, these olfactory substances are very different from perfume and should instead replicate the smell of natural outdoor air.
A skilled aromachologist can concoct combinations of oils to reduce road rage, reduce fatigue and improve concentration while driving. Peppermint decreases anxiety and fatigue while driving, and in combination with cinnamon it reduces the level of frustration encountered in traffic and also heightens alertness.
Jasmine is used as a sleep aid and the scent of vanilla is useful for those who want to cut the craving for sweets after lunch.
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