The aromachology or psychology of perfumes is a young science that studies the relationship between odors and the changes they cause within our moral state. The aromachology focuses on the impact that can produce different smells taking into account the different emotional reactions they cause to our behavior.
It is important to differentiate aromatherapy from aromachology. Aromatherapy is a therapeutic supplement focused on the use of essential oils for the prevention and treatment of diseases and thus the appearance of results at the physiological level. However, aromachology focuses on the psychological benefits brought by certain fragrances.
Aromatherapy is based on the physical use of natural flavors by ingestion or by means of massage while aromachology uses synthetic scents or perfumes as well as essential oils which will allow the study of the reaction of our nervous system when exposed to different odors. This practice is not limited by the natural boundaries of the species.
The science of aromachology was born in Japan in early 20th century. Its appearance is the consequence of the beginning of the laboratory studies of the active ingredients of the natural aromas produced by the plants by analyzing them and by succeeding in isolating them. In the 1970s, this practice was called aromachology to differentiate it from its predecessor: aromatherapy. From that moment, she will follow a scientific branch centered on the study of the affectation of our moral state and our behavior by the smells.
How does aromachology work?
One of the most studied senses in recent decades is the sense of smell, with interesting results. Thus, the sensations that are caused by the different smells and the reactions they produce in us have been discovered through experiments. A lot of research conducted by the students of aromachology are focused on are intervention in the limbic system.
The limbic system is considered to be the place where emotions are generated (fear, rage, motivation) and instinctive behaviors such as eating (hunger, thirst, satiety) and instinct (sexual or survival). ) to be managed later by the hypothalamus.
The limbic system plays a fundamental role in our survival. Its functioning is not subject to our will and its response can be very intense compared to the stimuli that activate it. In aromachology, the limbic system also has a fundamental role.
Odors travel through the air in the form of small particles that enter our body through the nasal orifices. Our nostrils are made to analyze some of this incoming air. Thus, millions of olfactory receptor cells located in the internal nasal cavity capture the chemical information of different odors.
Olfactory receptor cells are able to transform the chemical signal obtained from the odor into an electrical drive thanks to more than 1000 smell-sensing proteins stored there. This information is then transported to the brain where it will be processed, stored and sent to the limbic system for processing.
We know today that stimulation of the limbic system caused by odors can change our moral state (make us happy or sad …), our predisposition to the state of alertness or rest, our appetite, our attention, our memory, etc. Ultimately, the purpose of aromachology is to scientifically determine the relationship between odors and psychological changes.
"The essence of the spirit lies in the smell, it permeates everything in a relevant way and has the ability to open the doors of the unconscious where sneaks the most kind and painful scenes."
-Mercedes Pinto Maldonado
Aromachology and olfactory memory
With the psychological stimulation provoked by perfumes, two well-differentiated evolutionary processes occur.
The primary process derives from the direct reaction of our psyche to the detection of an odor. It does not depend on anything other than the smell or scent generated. Examples of this primary stimulation could be foods or smells that "wake up" our sexual desire.
Secondary process or olfactory memory
The secondary process derives from the reaction to an odor based on olfactory memory. In fact, the smell is recognized by the archives of our memory.It is associated with a set of sensations that our olfactory memory is able to wake up and reactivate because the sensations are written in the codes of smell within our brain.
An example of this secondary process could be the simple act of entering a bakery. Indeed, when we enter, the smell can awaken in us memories of childhood (images, sounds, thermal sensations, feelings, emotions …) with a level of sharpness that no other brain storage system is able to produce.
"Nothing is more memorable than a smell, an odor can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, but it is able to evoke a childhood summer."