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: <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171222092552.htm>
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it signifies family togetherness and sharing what we are thankful for. But Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only day we express our gratefulness -- it should be every day. I am forever thankful to companies like Firmenich, Orlandi, Givaudan, Mane USA and Symrise who believed in me and my product concept when I presented the Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory tool kit idea in 2016. I also thank Atria of Stamford, River House of Cos Cob, The Greens of Greenwich, and The Hebrew Home at Riverdale who embraced the innovative sensory program I developed with the goal of enriching the lives of the elderly through the sense of smell. It was through these smelling sessions that allowed me to develop the best kit I felt would benefit caregivers, families and the program directors at senior homes. I am also grateful to my husband who supported the product idea from the very beginning and encouraged me to continue when things were challenging. Finally, all of us should be thankful for the scientists who are studying the causes of Alzheimer's and the caretakers of our loved ones who suffer from the disease. So for this day and always, I hope that you will share your own sentiments for what you are thankful for and cherish your elders for what they have done and taught us. November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness month, and so for today until the end of the month, The Scent Guru Group will be offering 20% off of all purchases. Consider a purchase that would be a gift to the entire family.
Many are aware of what is called the "Proustian-moment" from Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past" recalling a moment in time through the sense of smell at tea time. There are other authors who have given us vivid descriptions of smell that allow the reader to escape to an imaginary place. Here is an example written by Willa Cather describing one of my favorite smells that takes me back to the farm, and into the kitchen after my mother baked bread: "Everywhere the grain stood ripe and the hot afternoon was full of the smell of the ripe wheat, like the smell of bread baking in an oven. The breath of the wheat and the sweet clover passed him like pleasant things in a dream.” ― Willa Cather, O Pioneers! Freshly baked bread is considered one of the most alluring smells, and I don't know any country in the world that does not include it in their daily meal. It's no wonder that there is a saying "you have to break bread" with someone who you want to get to know. For me, bread is home and togetherness.
I had 12 seniors in my smelling session this AM at River House in Cos Cob, CT! Some adjectives used when smelling their paper strips: "sweet" "it's nice" "soft" "strong" "clean" "powdery" "vanilla" & "chewing gum". From the session, we talked about smell memories from baking, Christmas, and about how much we all liked ice-cream and chocolate. Storytelling is a big part of smelling sessions, and is an easy way to engage our seniors in conversation. Today, I talked about how rose, jasmine, ylang and iris are picked by hand by farmers for use in perfumery.
Here is a good article on smell and memory. The scent of Almond Croissants takes me back to a little patisserie in Le Chesnay France, where I used to buy baguettes & sweet snacks for my girls. What are some of your smell memories?
I just read an article about a new perfume that one of my favorite perfumers, Frank Voelkl of Firmenich developed for the young exciting fashion designer, Jason Wu, and how the scent of jasmine took him back to his childhood home in Taiwan. Jasmine is one of the "essential smells" in the Scent Guru Group's Essential Awakenings Premier Edition. Women for many years have worn perfumes with jasmine as one of the main ingredients and one of the most famous: Joy by Jean Patou, which, for many years was known as the most expensive perfume out on the market. One smell of the jasmine in my kit could take you back in time, or to someone who used to wear it. Great memories can live forever.
We love this picture! Ruth Sutcliffe Heagney (center), founder of The Scent Guru Group LLC, enjoying an Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory session with Sunny (left) and Sheldon (right) at the award-winning assisted living community, The Greens At Greenwich in Greenwich, CT.
It’s always fun talking with super AM1490 WGCH talkshow hostess, Debbie Nigro. This morning live on air, we talked about the Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kit!
1. The sense of smell and taste are part of the olfactory system, and is housed in the limbic system, the most ancient part of the brain that is thought to be the seat of emotion. 2. The sense of smell plays a vital role in our sense of well-being and quality of life. It brings us into harmony with nature, warns us of dangers, sharpens our sense of our surroundings, and can even take us back to moments in our life long ago. 3. No two people smell the same odor the same way, so in other words, a rose may smell sweeter to some people than to others, and some people may love the smell of lemon while others draw back from it. 4. The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors. 5. Your sense of smell varies throughout the day depending on the environment, which is why a scent might smell different from morning to night, or from one day to the next. 6. Studies from Neuromarketing show that smell triggers 75% of emotions and memory. The Sense of Smell Institute found that over the course of a year, memory recall from scent is an amazing 65%, higher than any other form.
It's no coincidence that The Scent Guru Group chose to launch the Premier Edition of its Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits in June. That's because June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. We hope you will enjoy sharing the experience of one of our kits with a loved one or special group you are steering through a difficult time as a caregiver in this very important month of June.
I want to extend my thanks to Marcia O'Kane, President and CEO of Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, who interviewed me yesterday regarding my fragrance development career as well as my company's Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits.
The Scent Guru Group's Founder, Ruth Sutcliffe Heagney, will be the featured guest on the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce's radio show on May 15th. Please be sure to tune in to 1490 WGCH in Greenwich, Connecticut to hear all about her background in the flavors and fragrance industry and how she developed Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits for the aging, specifically those with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.
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