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Ezine 10 22 09

Dropwise Essentials Health & Beauty News

October 22, 2009
Vol. 2, Issue No. 19

A Note from Donya

Hello and welcome to all our new subscribers since the last issue. I'm very excited to share with you that we're about to launch a new product: our unscented hand and body lotion called Simply Naked! As you well know, Dropwise Essentials is all about the aromatherapy. But over the years we've received numerous requests for an unscented lotion from those of you who are super-sensitive when it comes to scents, or who live with loved ones who can't be around scents. This lotion is essentially made from the same base as our aromatherapy lotions minus the hydrosols and the essential oils, and slightly richer. It has no added scent but it does have a mild "coco-nutty" smell from the base oils and herbs and the feedback we've gotten on it so far has been fantastic so we're finally launching it for real.

Keep your eyes open for a special email announcement and subscriber pre-sale offer sometime next week! And in keeping with our original intent, this week's article is all about the psychology of scent and how you're affected by the scents you're exposed to everyday whether you are conscious of them or not. I hope it stimulates some thought about the different ways you can use this vital sense to improve your life and well being.

Yours in health and prosperity,


p.s. If you like our products then help us spread the word! Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of Dropwise on Facebook.

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Feature Article

The Secret Language of Scents: How You Are Influenced By the Smells Around You

Most people are totally unaware of the impact that smells can have on their mood, ability to learn, stamina, perception of themselves and others, and ultimately, their behavior and motivation. In fact, when given a choice between losing a big toe or their sense of smell, people are far more ambivalent than they are when given a choice between losing a big toe or their sense of sight!

Our sense of smell is the strongest of all human senses and the closest sense linked to memory and emotion. Every day we encounter aromas (pleasant and unpleasant) that have a powerful influence on our emotions, moods, and behavior. Until the 1990s, very little was known about the sense of smell or even the human brain, but now science recognizes that the sense of smell is a major key to understanding who we are as individuals and as human beings.

Primitive Instincts Rule

While we know that humans can distinguish between as many as 10,000 different aromas, there's still much to learn about how the brain actually translates aroma molecules into smells and why we react differently to the same smells. What we do know is that through our sense of smell, aroma molecules set off a cascade of reactions involving proteins, enzymes, cell depolarization, and secondary messengers –all leading to an electrical impulse being sent to the brain.

The part of the brain most directly involved in olfaction (our ability to smell) is the limbic system, evolutionarily the oldest part of the brain (sometimes referred to as the "reptilian" brain). The limbic system controls emotions, memory and learning, imagination, intuition, and sexuality, as well as primitive drives and survival instincts. With olfaction these can all be evoked --even subconsciously.

Most of the research currently being done on smell is by people who want to use it on you for commercial purposes. For that reason, research into the psychological effects of aroma now attracts major funding. There are 4 primary research institutions: The Olfactory Research Fund (NYC), the Monell Chemical Senses Center (Philadelphia, PA), the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (Chicago, IL) and the Olfaction Research Department at Warwick University (UK). There are also a number of private companies engaged in ongoing research, the oldest and largest of which is International Flavor & Fragrances (IFF) which serves the perfume and food industries.

In labs or other real-world environments, subjects are exposed to fragrance and wired up to equipment that measure electrical skin response, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Pictures of the brain can be seen changing under the influence of aroma, and other behavioral and performance observations are made and documented.

Remarkable Research Findings

  • Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago discovered that people will judge a product a better value when bought from a shop where there is a pleasant aroma.
  • In another study by Dr. Hirsch, he found that when a mixed floral aroma was suffused throughout a room of calculus students, they increased their speed of learning by 230%.
  • One study conducted at the Las Vegas Hilton revealed that a certain aroma that was diffused around the slot machines in the casino resulted in an increase in the length of time gamblers spent at the machines as well as a 45% increase in the amount of cash they spent.
  • Psychology professor Robert A. Baron at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY found that people in pleasantly scented rooms carry out their work with more confidence, more efficiency, and with greater willingness to resolve conflict. Clerical workers in one of his studies set higher performance goals for themselves while working in scented offices.
  • At the Worcester Hospital in Hereford, England, a 6-month trial showed that vaporizing lavender through the air caused patients to sleep in a more natural pattern and made them less aggressive during the day. Over the 6 months, some patients were weaned off their tranquilizers simply by substituting lavender in the atmosphere, which has a calming effect on the brain.
  • In Japan, the fragrance company Takasago has shown that data entry errors fell by 20% when lavender was diffused in the atmosphere, by 33% with jasmine, and 54% with lemon. Furthermore, by changing the aromas around periodically, workers tolerance to smell and their efficiency could be maintained.
  • When students at Warwick University in England were told they performed poorly on a simple test they had taken while smelling a particular odor, they became depressed the next time they smelled that odor. Those who had been told they were successful had the opposite reaction: their self-confidence was boosted.
  • A study at Wheeling Jesuit University, in Wheeling, West Virginia, found that subjects who inhaled the scent of peppermint while running for 15 minutes felt less fatigued, more energized, and more positive about their performance than those who didn't inhale the scent. They were also more likely to run faster during those fifteen minutes.
  • According to a report in the journal Chemical Senses, women out-performed men when asked to identify a given smell from a group of four scents 10, 30, or 60 seconds after sniffing the original scent.
  • Sex and scent are so closely intertwined that as much as 25% of people who lose their sense of smell, also lose their ability to become sexually aroused.

The implications of these findings are astonishing. There have even been studies that suggest that adding certain scents to food can aid in weight loss, and sniffing lavender can significantly increase slow-wave sleep --the deepest, most restorative stage of sleep.

While scientists continue to try to understand all the elements at play in olfaction and how scents that exist in nature differ from those made from synthetic chemicals, knowing what we now know about what the nose knows, you may want to re-evaluate and tend to your relationship with this vital organ!

Copyright 2010 Dropwise Essentials

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The Aroma Zone

If you enjoy the articles in this newsletter then be sure to visit our blog The Aroma Zone for even more valuable articles, practical tips, and helpful resources on Aromatherapy, Health & Beauty, and Greener & Better Living. You can access the blog any time by clicking on the links to the Aroma Zone found throughout our site. If you don't want to miss anything then you can subscribe to the RSS Feed and all new posts will be sent to you via email.

Please feel free to post comments. Your feedback is always welcome. If you have a burning question about something send it in an email to feedback@dropwise.com.

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About Dropwise Essentials

Dropwise Essentials is a San Francisco-based manufacturer of pure aromatherapy and organic plant-based personal care products that give people a safe and effective way to relieve stress, increase vitality, improve confidence, or manage their emotional state any time or place without popping a pill. Our products are:

  • Free of synthetic chemicals and petroleum ingredients
  • Made with high quality certified organic oils and pure essential oils sourced from around the world
  • Packaged in re-usable or recyclable materials
  • Hand-made locally in northern California

Dropwise Essentials was founded by Donya Fahmy, a writer, producer, and consultant whose avid interest in the curative powers of aromatherapy and herbs ultimately led her to design and create the seven products and seventeen unique essential oil blends that make up the current Dropwise product line. She has studied aromatherapy with Carol Schiller - a successful author of several aromatherapy books - and with Dr. Daniel Penoel - a renowned expert in the field of medical aromatherapy.

Dropwise Essentials is a proud member of the Indie Beauty Network (formerly the Handmade Beauty Network), the Green America Business Network (formerly Co-op America), Green Product Alliance, Natural Ingredient Resource Center, and a Friend of PETA. We were among the first companies to join the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics by signing their Compact for Safe Cosmetics - which simply formalizes our existing commitment to formulate products free of known or potentially toxic ingredients.