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The Power of Olfaction
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The Power of Olfaction

We each have our own aromatic memories. Mine dates back many decades to childhood colds and Vicks Vaporub, the red energy giving Waterbury’s Compound and the dreaded Seven Seas Fish Oil Golden Capsules. I remember the sweet smell of mangoes, its juice sucked out with joy in the balmy summer afternoons and the zesty oranges peeled in winters while lazing with siblings and friends in the freshly mowed lawn in my childhood home, surrounded by the scents of pink, red, yellow and white Rose Damascenas and the soft smell of Jasmine. Even today these scents take me back to my childhood days. This may be the reason why I am in the business of perfumes, essential oils and colours - evoking memories has become my life's work and in the business of scents I feel the peacefulness of home and its infinite wellness possibilities.

Smell or the olfactory is the most direct of all our senses. When I hold a flower to my nose and inhale, odor molecules float back into the nasal cavity behind the bridge of the nose, where they are absorbed by the mucosa containing receptor cells bearing microscopic hair called CILIA. There are millions of these receptor cells that fire impulses to the brains olfactory bulb or smell center and send messages through the limbic brain to the amygdala which houses memory. This process takes only from four to six seconds. When we use perfumes we are using liquid memory, stimulating learning and retention. That is why historically travelers and historians, poets and philosophers, alchemists and perfumers, healers and therapists, priests, prophets and rulers have all courted scents. People through history have been on the constant search for pure scent ingredients taken over now by the laboratory technicians and chemists creating scents using artificial molecules.

Our sense of smell can be extraordinarily precise yet its almost impossible to describe the scent to someone who has not smelled it. Smell is the mute sense, the one without words. Lacking its own vocabulary we are drifted by scent in a sea of inarticulate pleasure, dreams and exaltation. However when a word is associated with it as we do with Altearah then the scent has the effect or the understanding of that precise word and so we connect it to our experience. We see only when there is light, taste only when we put things in the mouth, touch only when we make contact with our skin, hear only sounds that are audible - but we smell constantly with every breath as long as we live.

Breath comes in pairs, except at two times when at birth we inhale for the first time and at death when we exhale for the last. The rest of our lives we inhale air and scents through our nose and exhale air through our nose or our mouth, moving energy or vibrations through the olfactory sites and the brain. Each day we breathe 23040 times and move 438 cubic feet of air through our bodies and our olfactory receptors. Research shows that our sense of smell being the first of the five senses is fully developed after just three months in our mother's womb.

This is prana, this is chi, this is harmony and this is life. Smells coat us, swirl around us, enter our bodies and emanate from us. They create vibrations and can be colour coded only because colour has a vibration as scent has a vibration and each and every cell in our body has a vibration. When our body is heathy with the chi freely flowing, the organs breathing easy, oxygenating each and every cell there is richness and finery in our health just like music and a symphony. Illness jars this symphony like a discordant note does and what else can balance and harmonize it but a scent that has the same vibration that the body needs. Being intelligent the body seeks the vibration of colour, light, sound or scent that it intuitively needs.

French poet Baudelaire said that his "soul soars upon perfume as the souls of other men soar upon music". I feel the same.

Meat eaters smell different from vegetarians, children smell different from adults, smokers smell different from non smokers, people smell different from each other due to the medicines they take, the chemicals they are exposed to, their occupations, diet, even mood. Each person has an odor as individual as a fingerprint. A dog can identify his masters odors, or a drug users odors and can so help crime fighters. Helen Keller being blind could tell the occupation of an individual by his/her smell. Vicky Voll could distinguish colours even though she was blind and Beethoven was deaf but could distinguish music through its vibrations and effect. Strong mental associations between smell and a situation of pleasure, sadness or another emotion can be buried in the unconscious memory for years unless it is brought to the surface by an encounter with an identical smell triggering the same thoughts and feelings that were felt originally.

So we can say that different vibrations affect our body, mind and spirit in a way that we cannot really fathom or even articulate however can help us tap into those areas, the 90 percent of the brain that remains under utilized. It is physics as opposed to chemistry. Many scientists have been studying the Olfactory system for years. In 2004 the nobel prize for physiology and medicine was won by Linda Buck and Richard Axel for their research and study of "the odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system".

ANOSMIA or the lack of a sense of smell caused by injury or shock is a problem that can lead sufferers to lose appetite and even take them towards clinical depression.  So if you have a strong sense of smell you have an appetite for life :) however protect or guard your senses by exposing them to purity.

Some chemical odor molecules are so large that they cannot be detected such as synthetic musks and can adversely affect our sense of smell. So stick to purer natural and organic odors to retain it. Strong pungent tastes of spices such as clove or cinnamon can affect the cilia as can tobacco or strong coffee. Wine is an olfactory experience as is pure chocolate and contributes to our mood and in small doses can make us feel lighter and happy. 

Altearah bio is an unusually intelligent organically produced wellness product range from France which is based on vibrations of aromatherapy and chromotherapy and delivered intuitively to the holistic body through olfactotherapy and massage therapy. It lifts your "mood" and shifts your vibrations to wellness. The Altearah's Colour Energy Massages and signature treatments have the clients wellbeing at its core.

The professional beauty world needs to look beyond the industry driven face, hair and nails products and what it conventionally knows. We have to use documented and evidence based science to find the link between mind, body, spirit and visual beauty and it has to be fun.

This is the Age of Wellness, lets all be mindful of that and lets create awareness of that.

Shahida H. Siddique