I didn’t know much about fragrance therapy or aromatherapy as it’s more commonly called. When researching into the fragrance industry in preparation for a brief, I found that this is more commonly used than I would have imagined. But as many of you may be thinking, what really is it?
Since the 1970’s, research has suggested that aromas can have an impact on your mood and the way that you feel. Several studies show that the likes of lavender and rose specifically can help reduce stress and even lower blood pressure. More recently, aromas have become a key part of many psychotherapies; including relaxation and breathing techniques. In fact, some therapists aim to condition the brain to feel calmer when they smell a certain scent. So over a period of time, the brain will associate the fragrance with feeling relaxed, meaning the patient can have it around their house, in chewing gum or a cup of tea and start to feel better.
I studied Psychology for my A Levels and personally I think this is an amazing concept. We all find that scents can trigger responses for us; whether that’s taking us back to childhood, a date we went on or a particular hard phase we went through. So by using this to help people over come mental illnesses is extremely innovative, in my own opinion. You can more easily get access to this sort of thing with products such as lavender sprays or sleep sprays which have a scent that calms your body and helps you to get to sleep.
The only problem I find with this concept is the reliance you could build upon the product. If you as a sufferer of a mental health problem, solely rely on a scent to help you, it can be a problem. Their is no real initiative on your own side, so for situations where you may not have access to an aroma, you’ll severely struggle to overcome the situation without it; a bit like drugs really. So potentially, alongside other therapies I think it can work, but as an easy option, I don’t see the real help it can have.
On the whole, it’s definitely an intriguing concept that I would love to potentially try in the future. I know for myself that there are certain smells which immediately put me in a better mood- whether they’re essential oils or perfumes which I wear. This is a slightly shorter post to my normal ones! But, I really wanted to acknowledge and speak about this idea because I never really delved so deeply into the impact of scents until I started studying it!