Our Smell Sense and How Scent Stimulation Affects Accelerated Learning
Our smell sense affects our brain chemistry and changes our moods in powerful ways. Certain types of scent stimulation like food can disrupt the accelerated learning functions of our brain. Chemical smells from air fresheners, perfume, and even some essential oils can also be distracting and block learning.
Smells Form Powerful Memories
Studies have been done on the effects of smells on our brain chemistry and its tie to our moods and emotions. It's a fascinating subject. I know someone who started a company that works with major hotels, resorts and casinos. His aroma therapy systems emit pre-selected aromas in the environment that are reported to stimulate certain moods in visitors. For example, at one resort, his system releases a special "tropical blend" in the lobby that invokes noticeable happy festive moods in its patrons. He's making a living simply by triggering people's sense of smell and making them feel happy!
The Science Behind Sense of Smell and Scent Stimulation
When we breathe in an aroma, the particles that make up the aroma are detected by the part of our brain that govern our sense of smell and emotions. Often, this has an instantaneous effect on our moods and emotions. Some experts tell us inhalation is the most direct route between the outside world and our brains.
Distracting Scent Stimulation
When I started this section on scents, I touched on how certain aromas can break our concentration - food being one of them. When we discuss our accelerated learning environment, food smells can be a major disruption as well as many other man-made or natural odors, as mentioned above.
Why our Sense of Smell is Important for Accelerated Learning
As I discussed in the section on "Our Right Brain Senses...", our right brain function has tremendous potential for mass-memory, automatic processing and more. In most people, this potential goes untapped or underdeveloped because the pathways between right and left brain functions haven't been built. When doing the exercises that build these pathways, we want to use the correct kinds of stimulation. And, when we talk about scents, we don't necessarily want the smell of, say, burnt toast to be associated with the accelerated learning method we're practicing.
A Great Scent Stimulation and Brain Strengthening Exercise for Your Baby
A fantastic way of stimulating brain connections in babies is gathering the essences of flowers, herbs, wood, etc. and placing them inside small labeled bottles. Be creative but don't mix two essences together - they need to be pure essences of one item per bottle. Also, don't make your essences too strong.
When your baby is in a happy, receptive mood, sit in front of him/her and announce, "We're going to smell some scents now." Open one of the bottles, smell it yourself and tell your baby what the scent is, then put the bottle under your baby's nose and tell him/her what it is again. Close the bottle and open another, doing the same. Do as many as you can while keeping your baby's attention. Stop when he/she shows any disinterest or looks uncomfortable. We made a box of over 40 different scents for our children. They absolutely loved this exercise!
So, in short, your accelerated learning environment should be free of all smells that distract our focus and concentration but use ones that can enhance our learning experience in a positive, memorable way. Some essential oils can be beneficial.
The Best Essential Oils for Learning
Below is a list of oils that have been known to enhance the brain's learning capabilities. This information comes from: Essential Science Publishing, Essential Oils Desk Reference (see at right).
Frankincense. This oil stimulates the limbic system of the brain as well as the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. It has also been used to relieve depression.
Rosemary. This helps clarify the mind and emotions.
Peppermint. This is used to awaken the mind and heighten the senses. It is one of the best oils to boost energy, creativity and learning skills.
Vetiver. This oil provides a grounding, stress-relieving and calming action for the mind. It is also used to relieve depression and helps children with ADD and ADHD to focus and learn.
To use these oils, inhale a drop or two from cupped hands or use a diffuser to spread the fragrance through your room or house.
If used topically, put a drop on the back of the neck at the base of the skull. This is the most effective place to apply oils for clear thinking and learning.
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