Sounds + Scents for Wellbeing


"Sights, sounds and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories." (Rachael Rettner, Live Science)

Have you ever noticed how certain sounds or songs can trigger memories in our minds that are clear as day? Or sometimes, getting a whiff of a particular smell can trigger potent memories from childhood or other moments in our life. This is because "the same part of the brain that's in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least in part, for storing emotional memories." (Rachael Rettner, Live Science)


Our human senses are much more complex and interconnected than we currently understand. Each of the five senses is connected to an entire system that works together to make each particular sense function. The olfactory system is the human body system responsible for our sense of smell. The auditory system is the system responsible for our sense of hearing.

"Olfactory-auditory integration adds to a growing list of intimate connections between sensory systems." (Lynne Peeples; Scientific American)

Research continues to reveal the potentials of combining sound with scent to promote wellbeing. The controversial Vibration Theory suggests that a substance's odor is dependent upon the frequency of vibration of its molecules. This theory continues to be disputed, yet current research continues to acknowledge, "while the Vibration Theory has been debated vigorously8,9,10, some experiments11,12,13,14 do suggest that molecular vibrations play a part in the perception of odor." (Nidhi Pandey, Debasattam Pal, Dipankar Saha & Swaroop Ganguly; Vibration-based biomimetic odor classification)


Connections between sound and scent have long been explored and continue to be tested for efficacy. In the mid-1800s French perfumerist G. W. Septimus Piesse even "cataloged odors based on analogous auditory pitches." (Lynne Peeples, Scientific American) Modern scientists continue to explore the ways in which sound and scent are connected. Recent studies have shown that the two senses deeply influence one another. A study on the influence of sound on our sense of smell concluded that "congruent sounds can enhance odor pleasantness to a higher degree than can incongruent sounds." (Han-Seok Seo, Thomas Hummel; Auditory–Olfactory Integration: Congruent or Pleasant Sounds Amplify Odor Pleasantness)


As research continues to become available, forward-thinking brands are beginning to emerge who put these findings into practice for the sake of wellbeing. An example of this is Inarasense - a French-Lebanese, women-owned experiential fragrance business in NYC combining the untapped power of scent with neuro-physiological benefits of meditation and sound to reclaim emotional health and wellbeing. We look forward to discovering more brands that are active in this space and continuing to explore the connections with sound and scent with upcoming projects like BassBath.

 

Do you know of any brands combining the power of scent and sound to promote wellness?

Let us know :) @healthandbass

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