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An aromachologist is a person who practices aromachology, which is a method of using smells or essential oils to create, either in isolation or through blending in formulations, essential oils that have behavioral, physical and emotional benefits. Smell is the least studied of the senses, but aromachology is being used increasingly in healthcare and building science, and also in the world of sports performance and in practical matters such as real estate sales. "Aromachology" as a term was coined in 1982 by the Olfactory Research Fund, now known as the Sense of Smell Institute, a division of the Fragrance Foundation, which has funded numerous medical, university and individual studies on the effects of scents on sleep and performance. Aromachology differs from aromatherapy.


Aromachologists work with essential oils for their aromatic and physical effects and are experts in the way essential oils can be blended to create “behavioral fragrances” [1] to establish the positive effects of aromas on human behavior including feelings and emotions. The aims of aromachology are to “study the interrelationship of psychology and the latest in fragrance technology and to transmit through odor a variety of specific feelings (such as relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and achievement) directly to the brain. [2]

When odors activate the olfactory pathways that lead to the limbic portion of the brain they trigger the release of neurotransmitters that affect the brain and mental state of the individual in a variety of ways. Stimuli transmitted to the limbic system cannot be consciously blocked, so all olfactory stimuli influence our emotions.[ citation needed ] Smell has not been studied in as much depth as vision and hearing. The brain is able to process small differences in smell and the sense of smell may last longer in the aging process than sight and hearing. [3]


There are some people who process smells differently, hearing them as sounds. It is believed that we all possess a small degree of synesthesia [4] according to Dr Jamie Ward quality of intermixing images, sounds and other sensations. The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is believed to have employed four senses of touch, smell, color and sound.

There are many instances of literature that may have portrayed synesthesia. For example, the famous poet William Blake (1757–1827) was probably a synesthete. In his poem “Wild Flower Song”, he writes:

As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song

Effects of aromachology

Studies have been conducted to show that those parts of the brain which govern alertness and concentration can be influenced positively or negatively by the olfactory substances used. Jasmine in a testing room enhanced the problem-solving cognitive skills of participants and also led to them demonstrating more interest and motivation for the task at hand. [5] A combination of eucalyptus, peppermint oil and ethanol has been shown to improve cognitive performance, and after a monotonous stressful task experimental subjects were shown to demonstrate greater motivation after being exposed to a blend of peppermint, bergamot, sandalwood and lavender. [5]

Role of an aromachologist

Pleasant aromas cause people to linger longer, a boon to retail stores, museums, spas and casinos. Pleasant smells have been shown to improve productivity, and improve physical performance, with athletes running faster, doing more pushups, and experiencing shorter recovery time after an extensive workout when the room was scented with either peppermint or lemon. [6]

By blending specific smells, an aromachologist can create a more restful environment and improve health conditions. A study in 1987 [7] showed that the smells found in nutmeg oil, maize extract, neroli oil, valerian oil, myristici, soelemcin and elemicin reduce stress in humans as well as reducing stress-related high blood pressure. The Mind Lab, an independent consultancy in the UK, studies the odor of a building as part of research on the brain's responses to stimuli. [8] Real estate brokers have been recommending to their clients to have smells of freshly baked cookies or the aroma of coffee in the house when it is being presented to potential buyers to create a sense of home. By bottling and releasing appropriate smells to evoke comfort, safety and joy, an owner may be able to accelerate the sale of a house.

Worker productivity can be enhanced by improving the quality of air in a building, not just by removing the negative pollutants, but also by introducing through ventilation or air conditioning systems olfactory stimulation]s to get a mix of ventilated air and odor.

It is necessary to ensure that the dosage is such that the odor is not excessive and should be kept just above the detection level. Also, these olfactory substances are very different from perfume and should instead replicate the smell of natural outdoor air. [7]

A skilled aromachologist can concoct combinations of oils to reduce road rage, reduce fatigue and improve concentration while driving.[ citation needed ] Peppermint decreases anxiety and fatigue while driving, and in combination with cinnamon it reduces the level of frustration encountered in traffic and also heightens alertness.[ citation needed ]

Jasmine is used as a sleep aid and the scent of vanilla is useful for those who want to cut the craving for sweets after lunch. [9]

Related Research Articles

Perfume mixture used to produce a pleasant smell

Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces an agreeable scent. It is usually in liquid form and used to give a pleasant scent to a person's body. Ancient texts and archaeological excavations show the use of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations. Modern perfumery began in the late 19th century with the commercial synthesis of aroma compounds such as vanillin or coumarin, which allowed for the composition of perfumes with smells previously unattainable solely from natural aromatics alone.

Essential oil Hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile chemical compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An essential oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term "essential" used here does not mean indispensable or usable by the human body, as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid, which are so called because they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.

Smell-O-Vision was a system that released odor during the projection of a film so that the viewer could "smell" what was happening in the movie. The technique was created by Hans Laube and made its only appearance in the 1960 film Scent of Mystery, produced by Mike Todd Jr., son of film producer Mike Todd. The process injected 30 odors into a movie theater's seats when triggered by the film's soundtrack.

Aroma compound chemical compound that has a smell or odor

An aroma compound, also known as an odorant, aroma, fragrance, or flavor, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. For a chemical compound to have a smell or odor it must be sufficiently volatile to be transported to the olfactory system in the upper part of the nose.

Fragrance oil(s), also known as aroma oils, aromatic oils, and flavor oils, are blended synthetic aroma compounds or natural essential oils that are diluted with a carrier like propylene glycol, vegetable oil, or mineral oil.

Aromachology is the study of the influence of odors on human behavior and to examine the relationship between feelings and emotions. It analyzes emotions as relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and well-being brought about by odors stimulating the olfactory pathways in the brain and, in particular, the limbic system. Different wearers are thought to have unique physiological and psychological responses to scents, especially those not manufactured synthetically but based on real scents. The word "aromachology" is derived from "aroma" and "physio-psychology", the latter being the study of aroma. This term was coined in 1989 by what is now the Sense of Smell Institute (SSI), a division of The Fragrance Foundation. The SSI defines aromachology as 'a concept based on systematic, scientific data collected under controlled conditions'. The term is defined as the scientifically observable influence of smell on emotions and moods. Consumers use aromachology to alleviate time pressures, for relaxation or stimulation and as a component of other activities that generate a feeling of well-being.

Olfactory fatigue, also known as odor fatigue, olfactory adaptation, and noseblindness, is the temporary, normal inability to distinguish a particular odor after a prolonged exposure to that airborne compound. For example, when entering a restaurant initially the odor of food is often perceived as being very strong, but after time the awareness of the odor normally fades to the point where the smell is not perceptible or is much weaker. After leaving the area of high odor, the sensitivity is restored with time. Anosmia is the permanent loss of the sense of smell, and is different from olfactory fatigue.

Rachel Sarah Herz American-Canadian psychologist

Rachel Sarah Herz is a Canadian and American psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist, recognized for her research on the psychology of smell.

Pamela Dalton is a cognitive psychologist. She has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and a Masters in Public Health. Dalton is frequently quoted by the popular press as an authority on environmental odors. She is most notable for her contributions to the research toward the fields of sick building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity. In the past she has worked with the United States Department of Defense on nonlethal weapons development, or the enhancement of bad odors as weapons. She currently works at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

Sandalwood oil oil derived from Santalum album or Santulum spicatum

Sandalwood oil is an essential oil obtained from the steam distillation of chips and billets cut from the heartwood of various species of sandalwood trees.

Odor Volatilized chemical compounds that humans and animals can perceive by their sense of smell

An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds that are generally found in low concentrations that humans and animals can perceive by their sense of smell. An odor is also called a "smell" or a "scent", which can refer to either a pleasant or an unpleasant odor.

Olfaction Sense that detects odors

Olfaction is a chemoreception that, through the sensory olfactory system, forms the perception of smell. Olfaction has many purposes, such as the detection of hazards, pheromones, and food.

Olfactory memory refers to the recollection of odors. Studies have found various characteristics of common memories of odor memory including persistence and high resistance to interference. Explicit memory is typically the form focused on in the studies of olfactory memory, though implicit forms of memory certainly supply distinct contributions to the understanding of odors and memories of them. Research has demonstrated that the changes to the olfactory bulb and main olfactory system following birth are extremely important and influential for maternal behavior. Mammalian olfactory cues play an important role in the coordination of the mother infant bond, and the following normal development of the offspring. Maternal breast odors are individually distinctive, and provide a basis for recognition of the mother by her offspring.

Aromatherapy Pseudoscience

Aromatherapy is a pseudoscience based on the usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being. It is offered as a complementary therapy or as a form of alternative medicine, the first meaning alongside standard treatments, the second instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.

Digital scent technology is the engineering discipline dealing with olfactory representation. It is a technology to sense, transmit and receive scent-enabled digital media. This sensing part of this technology works by using olfactometers and electronic noses.

Fragrance wheel

A fragrance wheel, variously called an aroma wheel, a fragrance circle, a perfume wheel or a smell wheel, is a round diagram showing the inferred relationships among olfactory groups based upon similarities and differences in their odor. The groups bordering one another are implied to share common olfactory characteristics. Fragrance wheels are frequently used as a classification tool in oenology and perfumery.

Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand. It uses the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customers' minds by appealing to their senses. A multi-sensory brand experience generates certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brandgon image in the consumer's mind.

Aroma lamp

Aroma lamps, or diffusers, are used to diffuse essential oils in aromatherapy and esoterics.

Beard oil is a cosmetic product for men, that is used to nourish the skin under the beard, as well as the beard itself in order to keep it "soft, shiny, and smooth". Beard oil mimics the natural oils produced by skin, such as sebum, and is composed mainly of carrier oils and essential oils.


  1. Damian, Kate, Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche, page 120, 1995, Healing Arts Press, USA, ISBN   0-89281-530-2
  2. Maria Lis-Balchin, Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, page 3, 2006, Pharmaceutical Press, Publications Division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, ISBN   0-85369-578-4.
  3. "Brain Processes Sense of Smell Better Than Previously Thought" "Science Daily", April 30, 2007, retrieved 2009-12-3
  4. Vintini, Leonardo,"We Could All Be a Little Synesthetic", Epoch Times, October 20, 2008, updated November 28, 2009, retrieved 2009-11-30
  5. 1 2 Rottman, T. R. (1989). The effects of ambient odor on the cognitive performance, mood, and activation, of low and high impulsive individuals in a naturally arousing situation. Diss. Abstr. Int. 50:365B 1989
  6. Raudenbush, B., Corley, N., & Eppich, W., Pages 156-160. Augmenting athletic performance through the administration of peppermint odor. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 23,(2001)
  7. 1 2 Kempski, Diotoma von, Page 63, "The Use of Olfactory Stimulants to Improve Air Quality", Journal of the Human Environmental System, Vol 5; No.2 61-68, 2002
  8. McCooey, Christopher, Scenting Success, Financial Times, Feb 02 2008, retrieved 2009-10-03
  9. Andrews, Linda,, Psychology Today, Nov 21 1008, Retrieved 2009-10-18