Let's Talk About Scent | Sensitive Sense of Smell
It’s been a short while since I last posted in the ‘Ultimate Guide’; only because I’ve been writing for a number of different spots on the internet. Nonetheless, I encountered two separate conversations yesterday regarding scent / smells which resulted in a video; however, it never fails, once uploaded, I had additional thoughts on the subject.
However, here’s a summary of ‘why’ I’m even writing about scent.
For all intents and purposes, scent | smell | odor all mean the same thing, aroma; yet, aroma does not necessarily mean good or bad. Every one of these words is neutral in its judgment. That said, the first thing I heard yesterday was a celebrity talking about going to a yoga class where another student brought and used tea tree oil during class. While this may not have been an issue for the rest of the class, it was for this individual as she developed a migraine and proceeded to use her Instagram story to pose the question: Is this ok? Should people be allowed to bring in whatever scent they want?’
Not long after seeing that, I was sent an email from an online networking group with a business owner wondering about body odor in the office.. Another person completely repulsed by a smell. While I responded to the business owner, I didn’t offer an answer to this celebrity only because I didn’t think she really wanted a real answer. However, I believed my thoughts would benefit many others; hence, this post and the video.
As I mentioned, a smell is a smell and one of the hardest things for me to do, over the years, has been to accept all aromas, rather than reject them with a complaint. Why? Because all scents, both manmade and natural, are an expression of life, and who am I to judge any of them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
I get it, some odors are absolutely offensive, and understand why we label them as such; however, when I remember that a ‘bad’ smelling plant is still an expression of life, I’m reminded of the sacred nature to our existence.
This goes for every scent out there…
So what makes them bad and how do we appreciate them?
In a nutshell, the chemicals that make them up. At the same time, they are reacting with our body, and depending on what’s going on with our system, we are either extremely repulsed or good with it. That doesn’t mean it registers as pleasant; generally, when we’re ok with something, in this case an aroma, it registers in the brain as neutral. In other words, it just ‘is’.
On the other hand, when we find something offensive, it’s triggering our system, as every chemical interacts with another.
In the case of tea tree, a recognized endocrine disruptor due to its estrogenic activity, the autonomic nervous system is activated. The results of which vary depending on the individual. This honestly goes with every chemical we’re exposed to which is why it’s time we start, as a society, being more cognizant of what we’re introducing publicly. If for no other reason than respect for the individuality of every body as each system has its own genetic wiring. At the same time, I do not believe it’s necessary to fault others; especially until this type of discussion is widely accepted. It’s just time to be mindful of one another.
It’s important to note that the reactions people have to aromatics is not necessarily an allergy as we know allergies; although, the symptoms may appear as if they are. On the contrary, they’re a reaction by the body,. in response to the incoming chemicals, as various systems are activated. Keep in mind, there are currently 70,000+ manmade chemicals that are confirmed endocrine disruptors. Now add natural environmental estrogens and the potential for ‘reaction’ is infinite given the number of unique genomes.
Therefore, celebrate the fact that your body is letting you know that systems are working over time and generating instability (working being the operative word here). What’s more,, it’s a reminder to use caution with all scents albeit natural or manmade, not just for your sake but for others as well. A chemical is a chemical and nature is an infinity pool of chemical reactions. The fact that we can produce these types of chemicals is awe-inspiring, for as traumatic as it often is; yet, it' remains nature, human to be exact, expressing itself.
When it comes to body odor; the same can be said for the strong reaction to such a pungent smell. In all honesty, no amount of showering and bathing will eliminate the problem. In fact, strong body odor is due to chemical imbalances in the individual and until he or she does something about stabilizing their system, they will release a foul smelling aroma from time to time.
However, what do you do about it in the workplace?
Well, address it in either a staff meeting or office memo; reminding everyone that hygiene is a requirement. No need to point fingers right off the bat. At the same time, diffusing such essential oils as lemon and cassia bark throughout the office not only neutralizes the smell, it actually benefits everybody in the office as inhalation is an active process affecting every system in the body which ultimately benefits the entire business as attitude and productivity go up and absenteeism drops.
When we mention that we have a really sensitive sense of smell, we’re actually saying, ‘my body is highly stressed’. This is due to both an unstable autonomic nervous and immune system. This is why we’re seeing such an increase in depression, histamine issues, anxiety, insomnia, sensory processing disorder, autism, mental health, addiction, autoimmune, pain, and more.
Our olfactory system has at least 200 functional receptors which is more than any other receptor in the body which means our system is CONSTANTLY being introduced to all types of messages. And given the fact that there are 45 million and counting manmade chemicals, it’s fair to say the body is overwhelmed. This is another reason I question the use of aromatics as a marketing ‘tool’. There’s no telling how these tactics are truly affecting everyone exposed. It might explain why so many feel fatigued, anxious, irritated, achy, etc.
Therefore, be ware. And, if your system is triggered by scents, then use it as a tool for helping it because ultimately, all any of these adverse reactions are is the body notifying you of the instability and asking for help to restore it.