Lifestyle Magazine

The Power Of Smell: Making Scents Work for You!

By Rohan @rohanforsale

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Only 2 senses left to talk about in my series of posts on making the most of our sensual experience. With the hustle and bustle of modern life and the pressure to always be looking to the future, we often forget to slow down and appreciate and focus on our immediate environment. When we stop and look around us however we notice that there is quite a bit we can do to improve things and make our lives more comfortable and pleasant. We’ve already covered sight, touch and sound, today we are talking about smell! What we smell has many a powerful effect on us often triggering memories, and always building connections. Smell effects our mood and it is even said that healing can be achieved through the smelling of certain essential oils.

Smellular Memory

Every time we smell we are creating response mechanism associations between the smell and whatever else is going on. Smelling that scent later on will instantly bring us back to that vibe, that mood, that memory. The olfactory bulb is part of the limbic system which is colloquially known as the “Emotional Brain” due to it’s association with memory and emotion. The olfactory bulb has intimate access to both the hippocampus and the amygdala which are in charge of associative learning and the survival response mechanism respectively. My point is that smell and memory are interlinked in a way that no other sense is. We’ve all experienced it. Walking down the street on an early spring day and being instantly transported back to springs of the past. Or catching a whiff of a deodorant or hair product you used to use and being filled with nostalgia. And my personal favorite, sniffing a perfume on the air and being reminded of a well remembered friend of lover.

We can actively build these associations by surrounding ourselves with pleasant smells, and we can seek out scents that remind us of the past. Those feelings of pleasant nostalgia are great resources in healing and remind us that we really did have some beautiful moments in our lives and that we can have them again!


I love incense. Watching the wisps of white smoke billow up gently from the incense stick as the ash is caught in the holder below. The smell of incense fills me with peace and positive associations, it’s no wonder it is so widely used in spiritual ritual and meditation. It is said that incense clears the thoughts as well as the air and has been used by jewelry makers and other craftsmen and artisans who require deep concentration for their work. The burning of incense has also been shown to stimulate creativity, increase motivation, heighten sexual desire (rrrrawrrrr!) and even relieve headaches. A scientific study showed that burning frankincense activates ion channels in the brain that alleviate anxiety and depression!

Of course not everyone loves incense, some find the smell too overbearing, but for those who are interested grab yourself an incense burner/holder and try a few types of stick, find the ones you like the best and start enjoying the benefits!

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Scented candles can fill a room with fresh and yummy smells, and can really add to the atmosphere. Whether you are working or relaxing getting a whiff of a scent like melon, or vanilla, or tropical or earthy smells can really boost your mood and make life that little bit more pleasant. There is a fragrance for absolutely every occasion and I find scented candles to be particularly handy when engaging in intimate activities. Creating a nice vibe is essential when getting frisky and having the olfactory sense stimulated by the right odor can add immensely to the experience. Plus if you’re feeling adventurous you can always grab the candle and have a little fun with the wax! Just be careful please. The oil in scented candles makes then burn at a higher temperature than the non-scented variety.  This means the wax will be hotter when it makes contact with the skin so keep that in mind. The higher you drip from the cooler it will be when it arrives. Okay, getting a little off track here! Ahem…and don’t leave lit candles unattended.


flower essence
Many alternative and holistic healers claim that certain essential oils, when consumed via the olfactory faculty, can have many physical and psychological benefits and can aid in the healing of all sorts of symptoms and maladies. The benefits of aromatherapy are said to include the prevention of disease, reduction of pain, anxiety and depression, an increase in energy and short term memory and even hair loss! Some popular oils and their uses include:

Lemon Oil - This essential oil has been show reduce stress and depression. A 2006 Japanese study showed that lemon oil in vapor form reduced stress in mice.

Tea Tree Oil - This oil is used in liquid form as an antiseptic and can often be found in lotions and soaps for it’s cleansing properties. In vapor form it is said to have healing effects as well.

Sage Oil - This one is used to boost short term memory performance.

Aromatherapy is a touchy subject. The science supporting the practice is thin on the ground, however there are many users and practitioners of aromatherapy that swear by it’s effectiveness. I say if you dig it and it brings you enjoyment, pleasure and healing then go for it! If it’s not your kind of thing then give it a miss


Smell Sucks!

There are of course those who are very sensitive to smells. There are people, and I’ve known a few, who really dislike artificial or floral smells of any kind. They won’t use deodorant, scented candles, perfumes, incenses or keep flowers in the house. They will however find odor and scent free soaps and cleaning products. This is perfectly fine, if you are someone who is irritated or otherwise adversely effected by strong or varied scents you should organize your life to make it as pleasant for you as possible. Don’t use deodorants (I’d suggest that for most people!), find odor free soaps, washing powders and other cleaning products, do not bring flowers into your house and if you become very close with someone it’s perfectly acceptable to ask that they refrain from using perfumes when they are with you. Let them know you find it irritating and that you much prefer their natural smell!

Sniffing Out What’s Best For You!

Whether you are someone who adores a bouquet of wild and varied scents around you at all times, someone who simply likes to burn a bit of incense every now and then, or you are the kind of person who is highly sensitive to smell and doesn’t like too much going on, there is always something you can do to enhance or improve your smell situation. There is no doubt that fragrances have a powerful effect on our memory, our mood and even our health so taking a little time to make the most of smell, according to your preferences, is well worth the effort!

Do you like your home to be filled with a variety of exotic smells? Or do you prefer to keep in simple?

Thanks for reading, all the best



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Rohan Healy is the author of “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century”, “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You” and Sci Fi Action/Adventure novel Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron!

Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.

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