Last month, The Scent Guru Group sent a young woman an Essential Awakenings Premier Edition kit for her to use after she lost her sense of smell after having had an aneurysm. Her father and son helped give her the "smell testing" on the 6 different smells. In the beginning, she did not recognize any of the smells, and now, she recognizes all but one (cinnamon). With a little more time and blind testing, we are certain that she will recognize cinnamon as well. We are sharing her testimonial here from Rosie Rosario of New York City: Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition About me: I’m a 4 time aneurysm survivor. These aneurysms occurred between May and July of 2017. After 3 craniotomies and one pipeline stent, I am happy to be alive. In the process, I experienced some challenges post surgeries….one being that my olfactory nerve was damaged. This had initially impacted my sense of smell and taste. Initial thoughts: I received the Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition on July 31st, 2017. Loved the packaging. The kit comes with six labeled rollerball scents, cards and scent strips. Initially I could only smell one scent, Mint. I used the cards, which notes each scent and gives examples of where we would associate such scent – example, Mint, “It grows in gardens.” I associate Mint with tea, therefore, I would remember a moment in time where I’d be sitting drinking this tea. My process, conclusion and my “scents” of it all: Thorough daily sampling, at least 10 min each day, I am happy to say that I can smell five out of the six scents. Cinnamon still presents a struggle for me. To make testing fun, I sometimes made it a game. I would engage my son to help me tests the scents. He would randomly pick a scent, roll some of the scent onto a scent strip (provided also in the kit) and would place it under my nose to detect which scent it was. When I had any trouble, he would say a few words to help me evoke a memory to make a connection with the scent. This method help me and it also helped me connect with my son, which is really great. I use this kit to help me pause, reflect, and to help strengthen my sense of smell. Think of it as muscle training. Through practice, and constant testing, this kit helps stimulate my brain. This gives me, “me time,” reminding me to continually work on my recovery; for that, I highly recommend this wonderful kit. To get to the point of smelling five out of six scents, it has taken me a little over five weeks. Never knew how much I took my sense of smell for granted. Hope this kit helps you and helps you bond further with your family.
This past weekend, my husband made French Toast. I have never liked pancakes, waffles, or French Toast because they are usually served with maple syrup and, as a youngster raised in the midwest, we only had the syrup made primarily from the fake stuff - high fructose corn syrup with flavoring - the type that turned my stomach when I smelled it. However, for the past 10 years of our marriage, I have developed a new found love for this wonderfully delicious syrup that comes from the maple trees in the northeast where we live: Vermont, New York, Maine, and Canada. Whenever we travel to these areas, we often go to street fairs and little county shops, where we will most often find and purchase a sample of local syrup as long as it was easy to carry back and we treat our maple syrup like it were a precious souvenir from that area. So on Sunday while I was up on the 3rd floor of our home tinkering around, the aroma of egg-battered whole wheat toast sprinkled with cinnamon traveled up to my sensitive sensors and immediately lured me to the kitchen with the taste of the velvety smooth maple syrup on my tongue. I devoured my little 1/2 slice of toast, but secretly wanted another, but since I am always counting calories, I did not even ask for more. That 1/2 slice satisfied my wanting. Smell and taste are housed in the olfactory system, and housed in the oldest part of the brain where memory is stored. With my new found obsession for natural and pure maple syrup, I can finally help erase my memories of the smell of mass produced maple syrup for the wonderful smell and taste of "the real stuff". Natural is always better.
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>
The holidays are a time when we often reflect on the past year with hopes of going forward with good health and happiness. We anxiously await to participate in traditions that have been the glue to keep families together. It was my mother who instilled tradition in my family by organizing all the tasks needed before and after the festive dinner when she'd take out our china she and my father received on their wedding day. Growing up on a small farm in rural America was scent memory filled during the Christmas season: It started with a trip to the woods with my father to help select the right Christmas tree to bring back to our little farm house. The scent of pine or fir would fill the air as he sawed a straight edge at the tree's stem for balance in the stand before my siblings and I adorned it with ornaments that included peppermint sticks and strings of popcorn (both slowly disappeared over the days). Christmas Eve always meant a visit to my grandmother's house for fruitcake and cups of her spiked eggnog sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Before bed, my mother would leave ginger man cookies "for Santa" while we all lay in bed thinking about what was in those gifts until we finally went to sleep. When morning arrived, we scrambled for the tree always ripping open the biggest box first before the reality of our daily farm chores separated us from our joy of gifts. The barn--that dirty, smelly place of goats, chickens and pigs! Breakfast was a feast in itself as my father believed in big ones: Crisp smell of bacon, eggs or pancakes with maple syrup, toast and the smell of my mother's coffee. As I've entered this holiday season, I reflect on my childhood memories and of my mother who helped form them. It's those simple pleasures in life that remain the most treasured. My message to you is to encourage you to spend time with loved ones who have instilled family traditions in our lives, and to try and recall every little aroma that connects to them during those precious times.
"I use this kit to help me pause, reflect, and to help strengthen my sense of smell. Think of it as muscle training. Through practice, and constant testing, this kit helps stimulate my brain. This gives me, “me time,” reminding me to continually work on my recovery; for that, I highly recommend this wonderful kit. To get to the point of smelling five out of six scents, it has taken me a little over five weeks. Never knew how much I took my sense of smell for granted. Hope this kit helps you and helps you bond further with your family." - Rosie Rosario, New York City, NY
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.
I have a niche brand, but it's not perfume. It's a true innovation: The first smell and memory kit dedicated to enriching the lives of our elderly citizens through the sense of smell. After volunteering for more than a year at Senior Centers, I developed the Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits to help families and caregivers engage the seniors in conversation and the recall of memories through what I call "essential smells": The smells of Apples (apple picking in the autumn) Cinnamon (baking cakes and cookies from scratch), Lilac (the garden back home), Popcorn (think about the wonderful pastime of watching movies together) and others were carefully selected for the kits. Through smelling and engagement with my audience, I have had the thrill to hear and watch my audience excited to talk about moments in their lives, and express their gratitude to me on how smelling can be so much fun! For that, I am thankful that I can help make lives brighter through my innovation. Through my year of product development, I have made what really makes me proud. And it's all Made in the USA!
This is a good article about the sense of smell, and early indicators of Alzheimers, from a 2016 CNN that is worth taking a few minutes to read: http://cnn.it/2a3CrRj
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?