Science Daily's on line magazine has reported that neuroscientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany have investigated which brain area is responsible for storing odours as long-term memories. As a scent expert, and daughter in law of a woman who suffers from Alzheimer's it gives me great satisfaction that scientists seem to be focusing more on studying the sense of smell and its link to memories.
The impact and prompting of memories through smells has been evident to me during the 15 months I have been giving smell therapy sessions at assisted living facilities and senior centers to raise awareness of the importance of the sense of smell in our lives. With more than 550 attendees, I have been witness to quite a few recalls that would probably not have been prompted had it not been for the smells that I administered. Some examples: One woman at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale was prompted by the smell of fresh cut grass, but connected the smell with the memory of making pumpkin pie from scratch. She described in detail her process of taking out the threads and seeds within the pumpkin as it had been yesterday! Another woman who did not speak at all during a session all of sudden spoke out and stated that she had a lilac bush next to her house. She did not say where her house was, but the smell of lilac in the session prompted this memory. It was that one moment, and moments like that can be precious.
The sense of smell is often taken for granted, and I believe it's so important to make sure you practice smelling every day in a mindful way: Breath in... smell the coffee or tea you drink in the morning, the food you eat, your skin, your leather jacket and build up your olfactory memory bank!
To read the Scientific Daily article, please go to this link: