The sense of smell is one that evokes emotion, it is an amazing sense that can instantly throw our minds back to a specific place and time in our memories, it can associate us with people and it can also trigger physical responses. Our ancestors relied heavily on the sense of smell as it was the first line of defence to trigger the ‘fight or flight’ mode
In order for us to ‘smell’ there has to be a process of minute molecules traveling through the nasal passages to the Olfactory Bulb (this is a patch of neurons that have tiny hairs called cilia.) The molecule from the odor binds to the cilia and triggers the response to perceive a smell.
According to the book Molecular Biology of the Cell: Humans can distinguish more than 10,000 different smells, It is thought that there are hundreds of different olfactory receptors, each encoded by a different gene and each recognizing different odors. How amazing is that!!
Here are some smell fact!
- We react faster to the sense of smell than we do to pain or hearing.
- Smells can also influence dreams or nightmares
- Those who lose the sense of smell also experience a loss of libido.
- Horses can ‘smell’ water from miles away and Salmon ‘smell’ their birth place so they can return to breed.
- It has been stated that 30% of people who have lost the sense of smell are also clinically depressed.
- Certain illnesses & physical conditions can alter the sense of smell.
- The ability to smell generally remains stable until the age of 50-60 where it starts to decline, faster in men than women.
- Drug addictions, smoking, long-term medication and working within environments using solvents result in restrictions in the nasal cavity that reduce the ability to smell.
- A woman’s smell alters at specific times during pregnancy, especially during the 2nd and 4th months.
- The unborn child can ‘smell’ from 5 months.
- The smell of the amniotic fluid influences the recognition of the child to the mother, as well as odors from the armpits, neck and breasts.
- The palate of smell sensations are wider & deeper in women than in men.
- A girls sense of smell strengthens from puberty with the production of estrogen.
- Female pheromones are produced during menstruation which are picked up in male indicating she is ready to mate.
- The female sense of smell is heightened during menstruation.
- The sense of smell triggers digestive juices, that is why our mouth waters when we smell food.
- The sense of smell is a valuable sense in wine tasting, the aromas of the wine hit the palate before tasting through the nose.
In treatments it is essential to tap into the sense of smell, in fact all senses are tapped into but the sense of smell can immediately put a client at ease and draw them into a relaxing, safe environment.
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