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Unlocking the Secrets of Your Sense of Smell: Part 11

Can aromas really help to reduce our levels of stress? Rather than reaching for medications to relieve stress, many people are looking for other ways to reduce their levels of stress. Scents are a great way to relax, unwind and reduce stress.

Can aromas really help to reduce our levels of stress?

Ask any parent who works at home, manages a busy household, or looks after children if they experience stress. Or ask any parent who struggles with work outside the home and is frustrated with having no time to manage their home and kids. Today, even the haven of our homes cannot protect us from stress. At home it comes in many forms and affects both young and old.

Almost everyone today is a victim of elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Even children, much like their parents, lead hectic and stressful lives. But did you know that certain fragrances can help alleviate some of this stress?

It's true. We can use our noses to reduce our levels of stress.

Rather than reaching for medications to relieve stress, many people are looking for other ways to reduce their levels of stress. Scents are a great way to relax, unwind and reduce stress. Research at Yale University suggests that the smell of spiced apples may be effective in warding off a panic attack.

In a study conducted by Dr. Susan Schiffman, subjects were first trained to relax when introduced to a pleasant-smelling fragrance. Within just a few weeks, these subjects were able to relax the muscles over their foreheadthe muscles which, when allowed to remain in a tense position, lead directly to a "stress headache.

In another study conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartz subjects were asked a series of stressful questions while they were exposed to pleasant fragrances. Compared to control subjects who hadn't been exposed to these scents, those tested with fragrances were shown to have lower blood pressures, heart rates and even breathing patterns.

Stress at Work?

Who doesn't experience stress at work! In studies done by Dr. Joel Warm and William Dember, workers who were exposed to the occasional scent of peppermint showed a marked increase in alertness and improved job performance. The significance of this finding may have a large impact on the workplaces of the future.

Overall, studies have found that

* pleasant fragrances help to reduce workers' levels of stress and promote a healthy mental atmosphere.

* lemon's invigorating scent has been clinically proven to help clerical workers make fewer computer and data entry errors.

* lavender can help individuals compute equations more quickly and more efficiently.

* peppermint and lily of the valley can help individuals lengthen their attention span.

* pleasant fragrances also promote well-being in employees wherever they gatherin conference rooms, lobbies, etc.

As technology continues to advance, more and more employees will be subjected to lengthy hours in front of computers. Anyone who has experienced more than an hour at a time inputting and analysing computer data knows how difficult it may be to stay alertespecially during the late morning and early afternoon hours. Could it be that a whiff of peppermint may help us to stay awake more than our cup of coffee? Research in this area offers promising hopeespecially for those of us who have an intolerance for caffeine.

Japanese companies are putting this research to task and are seeing promising results. Workers who are exposed to regular sprays of scents via computerized odour delivery systems by way of air conditioning and ventilation systems show a marked increase in efficiency and performance. To stimulate employees at the beginning of their workday, companies are odorizing their offices with shots of citrus scents. Then late in the morning, employees are stimulated by swirls of floral-scented odorants. By mid-afternoon these employees are then exposed to invigorating woodsy cypress and cedar scents.

However, employers should be warned that some pleasant-smelling fragrances can actually have a negative impact on productivity. In one study, galaxolide, a musk-smelling scent, had a doubling effect on subject response times.

Cacosmia, or "sick-building syndrome," is a phenomenon where individuals become ill from low levels of common environmental chemical odours found in paint, building materials and even perfumes. Sufferers tend to experience daytime tiredness and are often shy and introverted. Interestingly, shy, introverted individuals have been shown to be more sensitive to smell than their more gregarious counterparts.

According to "The Smell Report, "If the 'olfactory-survival-reflex' theory is correctBusiness Management Articles, it may be that people with high-smell sensitivity become shy and novelty-avoiding because their olfactory receptors transmit more primeval danger-signals making them feel more vulnerable."

Article Tags: Subjects Were, Pleasant Fragrances

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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. To learn more about enhancing your sex drive with Scentuelle patch go to

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