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Six ways fragrance fosters bliss

written by kyle roderick

fragranceSure, it’s great to smell fresh as a daisy during the day or alluring as a night-blooming flower. But what about the more practical advantages of wearing scent? Noted olfactory researcher Alan Hirsch, M.D., F.A.C.P., shares his findings on the potential for scents to promote bliss in personal and professional life.
#1: Aromas can greatly improve mental awareness, says neurologist and psychiatrist Alan Hirsch, M.D., F.A.C.P., founder and neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (www.smellandtaste.org) in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Hirsch is one of the world’s leading researchers on the effects of smell and taste on physiology; the senses and emotional states. He has published research in The Journal of the American Medical Association and other prestigious peer-reviewed journals.

“Inhaling jasmine increases the beta waves in the frontal lobes of your brain. This promotes wakefulness, and when you’re more awake, you focus better on things and thus see more acutely,” Dr. Hirsch explains. This translates to enhanced job performance and better listening, plus improved presentation of self to colleagues, friends or family.

Tip: Keep a vial of jasmine essential in your bag and sniff it throughout the day. (Or, take a whiff before a business meeting or a special party.) It’s better for you than drinking coffee, and can help you maintain your focus while working, socializing or caregiving. Other fragrances to try: Jurlique Jasmine Essential Oil (www.jurlique.com) or Jasmine bliss at www.findbliss.com
#2: Fragrance can enhance visual awareness and tracking, plus hand-eye coordination.

Essential oils of peppermint and vanilla can literally help you track more efficiently whatever happens to be in your field of vision, says Dr. Hirsch. Whether you’re working on spreadsheets, keeping your eye on your kid at the park or playing tennis or computer games, visual awareness is crucial. Tip: Sniff peppermint or vanilla essential oils when you’re working on detailed projects to give them your fullest mental/visual attention. Or, spritz your face with scented waters or hydrosols while you work. Bring essential oils to the gym and inhale them before and during workouts to enhance your coordination. Scented products to try: Evolu New Zealand Botanical Skin Care Mandarin Refreshing Face and Body Mist (www.evolu.com), Jurlique Rose Toner (www.jurlique.com), etc.
#3: Scent can promote more acute night vision.

Tip: When driving at night, sniff your way to sharper eyesight with patchouli, jasmine, peppermint, neroli or vanilla essential oils. “These stimulating scents work because the rods in your eyes [rod-shaped cells in the retina which respond to dim light] are more stimulated when the brain’s limbic system is activated by scents,” Dr. Hirsch explains. “The rods are heavily relied upon in night vision. Switch scents every 20 minutes and you will see better because you’ll be more awake and alert.” Scents to try: Aveda Patchouli lite essential oil (www.aveda.com) or organic patchouli oil sourced from the health food store.
#4: Mixed floral aromas can increase your memory power. In a large trial conducted by the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Center, students who inhaled mixed floral aromas while learning new material retained lessons 18 per cent better than those who did not experience fragrant study halls. Use mixed floral shampoos such as Aveda’s Shampure, which contains a heady mixture of 25 pure flower and plant essences (www.aveda.com) or burn Aveda’s Shampure soy wax candle at your desk.
#5: Scent can increase genital blood flow and thus lead to greater sexual arousal.

In studies at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center, the scent of cucumber and Good N’ Plenty licorice candy aroma were found to increase vaginal blood flow more than dozens of other scents. “The effects that aromas may have on female sexual arousal are worthy of more research,” says Dr. Hirsch. In the meantime, conduct your own amorous research with Demeter Cucumber eau de cologne (www.demeter.com) and/or consider keeping licorice by the bed.
#6. Certain scents may make a man perceive a woman as being much younger than her chronological age.

Extensive research conducted by Dr. Hirsch at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that certain scents can make a woman appear as much as six years younger to a man. A youthful appearance can confer great practical advantages during dates, job interviews and other life situations. Recently, Dr. Hirsch discovered a unique combination of scents that also can affect the perception of age.

During a clinical study, Dr. Hirsch found that men perceived women who wore certain scents to be an average of six (6) years younger than their actual age. This combination of scents is now available in the body spray called Timeless View, which is available in the product section of www.smellandtaste.org.

Curiously, the scents Dr. Hirsch tested did not alter age perceptions in women viewing men or women viewing other women. Currently, Dr. Hirsch is conducting follow-up research to fully explore this age-perception spray for all conditions.

“While we have much more to learn about how scent affects the perception of youth,” says Dr. Hirsch, “one thing is for certain: certain scents can positively affect your performance while helping create a persona or image that others perceive as highly positive.”

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