Your dog can uncover a bone he buried in your backyard last year. Rabbits smell danger before they see it. Squirrels sniff their way to acorns buried a season ago. Search and rescue dogs can trace a lost child's scent across miles of rugged terrain.
Many animals have an amazing sense of smell. But what about the humans sense of smell?

The human sense of smell seems weak when compared to these and many other animals. The sense of smell originates in two small patches of several million odor-detecting cells located in the upper nasal passage. A dog has over 220 million of these cells, a rabbit has over 100 million, but a human has only about five or six million. However, this does not mean that our sense of smell isn't powerful.

Our sense of smell is linked closely to emotion and memory. For example, the aroma of your mother's favorite perfume, can evoke childhood memories and if happy ones, a sense of well-being. So many people associate the scent of apple pie to a loving home that realtors often recommend house sellers put an apple pie in the oven when potential buyers are expected.

How Does our Sense of Smell Work?

The olfactory system connects directly to our limbic system, the part of our brain associated with emotion. Unlike the other four senses, the sense of smell stimulates our limbic systems before the brain recognizes the fragrance. Before we realize that pleasant smell is an apple pie coming out of the oven, we are already experiencing the pleasant emotions evoked by this instant messaging from the olfactory system to the limbic system.

And fortunately, our sense of smell doesn't decline with age like our taste, sight and hearing do. At least that is what some research suggests, such as the research at the University of Pennsylvania that tells us our sense of smell may even increase with age because it is heightened through practice.

Inspired by all the research focused on the human sense of smell, the current trend in home scents is not to use these merely to mask unpleasant odors, but to gently scent your home in a way that makes you feel better - in mind, body, and soul.

Even the 2007 Nobel Prize in "Physiology or Medicine" honored research in his area, as described in our Aromatherapy Scents Make Scents.

Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon, marketing their products as aroma therapeutic. Studies show that there is truth - and science - behind the marketing. Many of the chemicals used in fragrances, such as orange, lavender, and chamomile, have pharmacological and stress reduction properties. This reduction of stress is being validated by measuring blood pressure.

We don't always use aromatherapy scents to calms us down either. Some are used to stimulate us and increase alertness, such as the peppermint that wafts through the air system at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The more we learn about the human sense of smell, the more technology advances in the fragrance industry. Companies are developing new high-tech ways to extract scents, which are too difficult to extract by traditional means.

As we learn more about the human sense of smell [] and about the science of scent therapy, we will continue to discover new benefits of aromatherapy scents and new ways to perfume our lives.

Author's Bio: 

Luke Vorstermans is the founder of The Sense of Smell Lab, a world leader in the development of innovative products that use our sense of smell to influence behavior, trigger memories, manage cravings, enhance moods and improve sexual health. Learn more about enhancing your emotional health at:

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Luke Vorstermans, The Official Guide to Aromatherapy