Unlocking the Secrets of Your Sense of Smell – Introduction to a 12 Part Series

It all started with a bolt up my nose.When I was four years old, I inadvertently put a small, metal bolt in my nose, which I could not remove.  Afraid to tell my mother, the bolt became a part of me. Kids do things like that!

Almost 20 years later, after a series of x-rays relating to some oral surgery, my dentist pointed to the mysterious object in my nasal passage and asked whether I was aware of it. They say that smell triggers memories, so after a brief look at the x-ray, the light went on. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “I remember lying in bed and putting that thing in my nose.”

For health reasons, the object was subsequently removed and the vignette has provided lots of laughter whenever I bring it up. I don’t think it has enough weirdness to make the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not list, but it does reveal a life long bond with my sense of smell that has now, 50 years later, built the foundation of my health and wellness business.

Of our five senses, our sense of smell is unlike the others. Everything about our sense of smell sets it apart – the way it works, its influence on behavior, its control of our cravings and its usefulness to our health and wellness. Why has it been relegated to the bottom of the sensory pile?

I’ve spent the last three years fascinated by the power of the olfactory system. I’ve spent hours discussing this enigmatic sense with one of the world’s leading smell scientists, Dr. George Dodd. I’ve explored the use of scents and aromas in our environment and how companies are increasingly using aromas to influence buying decisions. I probably know more about this sense that most, and yet I’m no scientific researcher or smell academic. I’m just fascinated at how our sense of smell can be used for so much more than just the occasion whiff of a fine wine, an exotic perfume or the smell of a cappuccino.

Whenever I’m asked what it is that I do, I reply, “I develop products that use our sense of smell to enhance moods and influence behavior.”  It certainly gets a better response than, “I’m a teacher.” Or, “I’m a carpenter.” Everyone knows those occupations! But mention the sense of smell and people look at you with some suspicion. Who knows much about our olfactory system and the part it plays in our health and well being?

Our sense of smell is a new medical frontier and amazing research is being conducted at leading universities and laboratories that’s elevating this sense to new heights. Because the research delves deeply into biology, psychology and physiology, unless you got a bent for the sciences, it can get pretty technical – even boring. But for most of us, just a basic understanding about this enigmatic sense is all that’s necessary to start enjoying its benefits. Lag Bolts

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