Wolfville, Canada (PressExposure) April 28, 2009 -- We breathe in pairs, except for two times in our lives. At birth, we take our first breath; at death we exhale for the last time.
Every day, we breathe about 23,040 times moving over 438 cubic feet of air. It takes but two seconds to inhale and three seconds to exhale. During those times odors flood our smell receptors with information. Smells swirl around us, enter our bodies and emanate from us. Whether the smells are dispersed in the environment or delivered discreetly through an aromapod, we are in a constant wash of them.
The sense of smell is thousands of times more sensitive than any of our other senses. In less than a millisecond, just one whiff of a familiar smell can trigger memories of childhood, home and family. Smell impulses travel faster than signals from sight or sound because the olfactory system is the only part of the brain that is directly exposed to the air. The brain processes sensory information delivered through sight, sound, taste and touch by identifying the incoming information first, which in turn generates an emotional reaction.
But our sense of smell is different. It does the opposite. The information of incoming odors is first processed by the emotions and subsequently identified. This places our sense of smell at the root of our emotional being.
Aromas delivered directly to the smell receptors in our brain have a powerful effect on behavior. Just think of your response to the smell of a cup of coffee in the morning or your reaction to a dead skunk on the side of the road. Scent therapy is now being developed to help enhance moods and influence behavior.
Since birth, our smell receptors have catalogued every scent that passed through our nostrils in an area of the brain the size of a postage stamp. The average adult is able to process approximately 10,000 different smells with each odor having the potential to evoke a memory.
Smell influences our moods, our emotions and the choice of our mates. It is the main organ that contributes to our enjoyment of our sense of taste. Smells warn us of dangers, such as fire, poisonous fumes and spoiled food and gives us awareness of our place in the environment.
Our sense of smell contributes enormously to the quality and enjoyment of our lives, our health and our well being. It is the mind-body interface. A new medical frontier But we take our sense of smell for granted. There are no galleries displaying smells like paintings. There are no concertos written for nose. We do not have special menus of smells created for grand occasions. Odors cannot be measured on a linear scale like those used to measure the wavelength of light or the frequency of sound. We have not yet developed a smell scale because odorant molecules vary widely in chemical composition and three-dimensional shape.
Our culture places such low value on olfaction that we have never developed a proper vocabulary for it. We have names for all the pastels in a hue but none for the notes and tints of a smell. It is almost impossible to explain how something smells to someone who hasn't smelled it. We go through our daily lives paying little attention to this enigmatic sense.
But this is all about to change. Research into the power of our sense of smell is a new medical frontier. It will provide consumers with sophisticated products that use the sense of smell to analyze, manage and enhance behavior, treat diseases, improve performance and deliver an endless range of exotic scents to pleasure this forgotten sense. We are at the beginning of a smell revolution.
About the author: Luke Vorstermans is the Founder and CEO of The Sense of Smell Lab, a world leader in pioneering products that use the sense of smell for health, wellness and sheer smelling pleasure. The SOS Lab developed the Sniff n Go aromapod, the Scentuelle libido patch and Scent Therapy product line. Website: http://www.thesoslab.com Email: Luke@theSOSlab.com