Douglas Della Toffalo, Design Psychology: How to Create Happy Homes Using Scents

Super Star candyshop999 at
Fri Jan 4 13:52:06 UTC 2008

Douglas Della Toffalo, Design Psychology: How to Create Happy Homes Using

Our sense of smell elicits strong emotional reactions and trigger powerful
memories, whether we're consciously aware of it or not.

*Scents and Feelings*

Our olfactory system sends a chemical message about the scents around us
through the limbic part of our brain, which is the oldest part of our brain.
In seconds, that message is telegraphed to our central nervous system,
which, in turn, controls how our body functions and how we feel about those

Scents also influence the temperature we feel emotionally. For instance, a
grass matting floor covering has a pleasant scent, and makes us feel cooler,
while the aroma of fresh baked bread creates a warm feeling of being loved.
Marine scents, such as salty sea air, refresh us, while spice and wood
scents bring warm thoughts.

*The Evolution of Aromatherapy*

The ancient civilizations of Arabia, Babylon, China, Egypt, Greece, India,
and Rome all used the aromas of scented plants, flowers, and woods to heal
and protect. Religious and spiritual ceremonies have used aromas to arouse
mankind's deeply spiritual nature from the dawn of time. Today, the science
of aromatherapy, which is a holistic healing practice, uses essential oils
and herbs, to treat stress-related illnesses, muscular, circulatory,
respiratory, and digestive ailments, and even skin problems.

*The Effects of Scent on Emotions*

Essential oils influence our emotions within seconds of inhalation. For
instance, clary sage stimulates the thalamus to release a hormone called
encephalon, a neurochemical that creates a sense of euphoria and provides
pain relief. Lavender and chamomile fuel the release of serotonin, which has
a calming effect on fear, stress, aggravation, or insomnia.

Scents activate the deep part of the brain, where memories are stored. You
can recreate pleasant memories and share them with your family and friends
through the use of smells. For instance, my mother often baked a cake just
before we kids arrived home from school. Now that I've grown up, we don't
eat as much cake in our home, but sharing a vanilla scent with my children
often prompts them to share stories about their grandmother.

Smells are a powerful link with the memories of our past. My mother used to
tell me stories of her grandmother, whose home smelled like baked cinnamon
rolls in the morning and exotic, tangy spices in the evening.

The sense of smell, a potent tool in Interior Design Psychology, brings a
feeling of harmony and serenity to any room in a home. Embrace the scents
you love and those that conjure pleasant memories, and make the use of scent
an integral part of your overall design plan.
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