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The History of Scent

The history of scent is shrouded in mystery. Fragrances have been used for thousands of years to block out unpleasant odors, mask unpleasant smells, and invoke pleasant memories. However, the ancient Egyptians are credited with using scents as a form of therapy. They would burn incense in their temples during rituals or perform certain tasks like embalming bodies. The Greeks adopted this practice, and it quickly spread throughout Europe, where people would often burn incense during religious ceremonies or while praying to God for help with various problems they were having in life. In this article, we will discuss the history of scent and aromatherapy.

What is Scent

Scent is defined as any smell that has an odor. It can be a pleasant smell or an unpleasant one. There are many different types of scents, including perfume, cologne, essential oils, body lotion, room spray, air freshener, and smoke. Perfume is a mixture of chemicals that gives off a pleasing smell. Colognes and perfumes are usually made from synthetic fragrant compounds called "fragrance." Essential oils are extracted from plants and trees. Body lotions are made up of natural ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax. Room sprays are also made from natural ingredients, but they contain more than oils. They may include other things like herbs, spices, and even alcohol. Air fresheners are mostly ammonia and other chemical compounds that give off a strong smell. Finally, smoke is another type of scent that comes from burning something. This includes cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.

What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the study of using aromatic substances to improve mental and physical health. These substances are known as "essential oils" because they are derived from plants. Some of the key benefits of aromatherapy are that it helps to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and insomnia. It is believed that these benefits come from how the brain processes the aroma. When you inhale a particular scent, your brain releases endorphins, making you feel happy and relaxed. When you exhale the scent through your nose, your brain releases serotonin, making you feel calm and contented. What's not to love!

The History of Scent

Fragrances have been around since forever, and the power of scent has been used for different purposes throughout history, such as for:


In Ancient Egypt, women would wear perfume to attract men. Women wore wigs and makeup to cover up their hair and skin to attract the attention of men. Men would shave their faces and eyebrows to look more attractive. They would then apply perfume to their face and hair. (Think Kirstin Dunst in Francis Ford Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette').

And let's not forget Cleopatra who was famous for her beauty. In addition to her long flowing hair, her jewelry with her most popular accessory being a crown covered in precious stones, Cleopatra's perfume was said to be very precious containing musk, ambergris, and myrrh.


In the dark and middle ages, people would rub themselves with oils or creams containing essential oils to prevent them from getting sick. During this period, people would also wear perfume when they went to church. Church officials thought that if someone smelled nice while going to church, they were less likely to get sick during mass.

During the Middle Ages, it become more popular for people to wear perfume to ward off diseases. They would rub perfume onto their hands before shaking someone else's hand. If they got sick after touching them, they knew that they must not shake their hand again. People also rubbed perfume into their clothes to protect themselves from disease.


Scent plays a big part in our well-being today with millions of people using essential oils for relaxation and meditation. There is no doubt that smells affect how we feel. Scientists call this process olfaction (the sense of smell). Olfactory receptors are found in your nose. When you smell something, chemicals hit these receptors. These chemicals tell your brain what you just smelled. Your brain then tells you what you just smelled. That linkage in our brain can evoke memories, sensations and change our mood in an instant.

Scents and Modern Technology

The Power of Scent and Aromatherapy are inextricably linked in today's modern world with a greater desire for natural medicine and ingredients to increase our overall wellbeing. In addition, knowing the power of scent, we can see a huge increase in ventures, catering for our need for sensual experience.

The modern-day experience of scents include:

Scented boutiques

Remember the last time you stepped into an exclusive boutique? Was there a particular aroma wafting in the surrounds? This is not by chance. Certain scents encourage customers to hang around and enjoy the environment, giving them more opportunity to buy merchandise. These shops make sales. Customers can be attracted to the scent and be convinced to stay a little while and buy more from their store.


You may not have thought so but the scent in cinemas (not necessarily after a movie!) combined with the movie experience is designed to draw us in. Scents like popcorn, sweets, and coffee. These scents are meant to remind us of what we love about movies.

Staged homes in property and real estate selling

Realtors or Property Agents use scents to make houses look appealing. Scents like lavender are used to make rooms feel calm and peaceful. The smell of vanilla or fresh baking used in modern technology encourages sales

The workplace

The power of scent is also used to motivate employees. Employees work harder when they know that their boss has given them a friendly-smelling office. Uplifting scents such as lemongrass or bergamot can lift that post lunch slump!

Smell the Roses!

Image: Julia Blackshaw at the Saatchi Gallery, London.

We all want to live happy life. But sometimes, life gets so busy that we don't find time to do things we enjoy. That is why we need to take care of ourselves by doing things we enjoy. One way to do this is through using essential oils.

Essential oils are powerful. Inhaling or applying just a few drop of essential oil on your body, will help you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

In conclusion, smell affects our moods. It can change how we feel about things and people. For example, feelings of happiness, sadness, excitement, fear, or anger can all be triggered by smell. So make sure you have fragrant scents around you to keep you at your best.

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