Some scents bring a feeling of calm, some, romance, while others alert us to danger or repel.

Of all the natural mood enhancers, your sense of smell may be one of the most powerful. Every day we breathe in over 23,040 times and inhale over 238 cubic feet of air. And with each of those breaths, our smell receptors are provided with an enormous amount of information that in turn signals emotions, moods and behaviors. This is one of the reasons scent therapy works so well. The human sense of smell is one of the best natural mood enhancers on Earth.

Humans recognize approximately 10,000 different odors, with each odor having the power to influence our moods and behavior. Certain smells, like coffee brewing or cinnamon rolls baking can brighten our moods and lift our spirits. Some scents bring a feeling of calm, some, romance, while others alert us to danger or repel.

Aromas have a powerful effect on our behavior. Since birth, our smell receptors have been recording every scent that passed through our nostrils. As a newborn snuggled up against a mothers’ breast, the smell of her skin became associated with a deep sense of comfort and safety.

The emotional, social and physical landscape of our childhood, with its varied fragrances and odors from the fragrance of honeysuckle you enjoy from your grandparent's porch swing to the odor of a gym locker room after you hit your first home run can transport us back into our world of memories.

Unlike our other senses, which are first cognitively identified by the brain, our smell receptors are directly connected to the limbic system. The limbic system controls the emotions and memory. This means that unlike things we see, touch, taste and hear; incoming odors trigger an emotional response before cognitive recognition is made.

In other words, you will feel an emotion in response to the scent of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven before you can identify that cinnamon rolls are what you are smelling. As you can guess this process happens very quickly. And this is why of all these senses; scent is such a powerful mood enhancer [] (as well as the most powerful evoker of memories).

Aromas have long been used as natural mood enhancers and to influence behavior. Cleopatra is said to have perfumed the sails of her ship sent to meet Marc Anthony. Shopping malls send scents through air conditioning systems to boost moods so we'll feel more like staying and shopping. In Japan, peppermint scent has been used to keep workers alert.

If smells are such powerful mood enhancers, it only makes sense that changing the smell can also change the mood and subsequently the behavior. As research on this new health frontier of scent therapy identifies how odor is identified and transmitted, we will be able to use a variety of scents to obtain the maximum benefits we desire. It is the scents-ible and sometimes scentuelle [Link approach for those looking for natural mood enhancers [].

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