Room Fragrance: How Scents Influence your Performance, Wellbeing & Interior Design Experience | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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Room Fragrance: How Scents Influence your Performance, Wellbeing & Interior Design Experience

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Biology of Scent

    • 3. From Emotion to Behaviour

    • 4. Scent and Culture

    • 5. Work Performance and Office Experience

    • 6. Physical Performance and Gym Experience

    • 7. Shopping and Retail Experience

    • 8. Hotel Experience

    • 9. Healing and Hospital Experience

    • 10. Home

    • 11. Class Project

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class you will learn, how  how much our sense of smell informs us about how we should feel about our environment and how to use scent to create the appropriate ambience for your space.


I want you to take away 3 important ideas from this class: 

  1. how fragrances impact your health, wellbeing and performance 
  2. How brands use fragrances to enhance your retail experience with their brand 
  3. How you can use ambient fragrances to increase your wellbeing or the experience of your customers 


For you to understand how your emotions engage with the scent, we will be going through 5 different environments :

  • Work
  • Retail
  • Gym
  • Hotel
  • Home

By filling in the class project questions and by watching all the classes, you will be able to implement fragrances properly in your space in order to enhance the experience of the people coming in contact with your space. 


To follow up on the photos and videos I have used in this class you can check this Pinterest board.

**Captions available 


Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology" and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising interior design in order to create great emotional experiences for people. My goal is to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies that will help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class How to Think Like an Architect.

Books and Media I love.  


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Links to other classes

A Hygge Home: Danish Interior Design Principles for Cosiness and Comfort.

Home Interior Design for Better Habits. Self-development by Design.

Colour Psychology. The Influence of Color on Emotions & Behavior in Architectural & Interior Design.

Home Office Interior Design. Work from Home like a Boss.

Interior Design for Small Apartments. Space Saving Hacks for Studio and One Bedroom Apartments.


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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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About me: 

I'm a licensed architect and have over a decade of experience in the design and architecture industry. I have worked as an in-house architect on various projects with a strong focus on furniture, interior design and experience design. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design that generates great emotional experiences for people. I've recently started my little design studio, and I'm excited to teach you everything I've learned to help you create a great home for yourself. 


Transform your surroundings, transform your life!

Your home environment profoundly impacts your mood, thoughts, behaviour, performance, and overall well-being.

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1. Introduction: Have you ever entered into a beautiful space only to be greeted by an odd smell? Were you still able to admire the space or you're now on the lookout for the source of that smell? Were you theorizing in your head what the source might be? Stale food or gym clothes, perhaps a dead pet? Our sense of smell can hijack our attention. This is why interior design isn't just what meets the eye, but it's also what meets the nose. In today's class, I want to talk about how our sense of smell can influence our perception of interior design. Hi, my name is Ana Marcu. I'm a licensed architect in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and Building Science and my passion is to create spaces that make people happier, healthier, and more creative. In this class, you will learn three important things. Number 1, how fragrances impact your health, well-being, and performance. Number 2, how brands use fragrances to enhance your retail experience with the brand. Number 3, how you can use ambient fragrances to increase your well-being or the experience of your customers with your brand. This class is designed for people who have relatively small spaces and by that I mean a home with a couple of rooms, a dentist's waiting area, a shop. If on the other hand you have an office with 50 employees or big hotels with 100 rooms, then this class is probably going to be just an introduction for you and you'll definitely need more in-depth support from professionals in order to truly create a great experience for your customers and employees. At the end of the class, you'll have the class project where you can answer 10 questions that will help guide you implement scenting properly in a space of your choosing, so let's start the class. [LAUGHTER] Let's start the class. The class. [LAUGHTER] 2. The Biology of Scent: In this lesson, I want to talk about how our sense of smell affects us throughout our entire life from when we are conceived all the way to when we are old and gray. You might think that we start learning about others when we are little but actually we start learning about them before birth in our mother's wombs. There compounds from the mother's diet get incorporated into the amniotic fluid and are ingested by the fetus. In studies where mothers were eating substances that were particularly smelly like garlic, alcohol or cigarettes it was shown that their infants prefer these sense too by comparison with infants who were not exposed to these substances. These early learned preferences also influence food and flavor preferences in childhood, in early adulthood. When you chew molecules of your food make their way to your nose which means that everything that you consider flavorful is actually sent. If you think back at the meals you had when you had a cold and your nose was stuffy you probably remember that they didn't have much of a flavor. You can try this by pinching your nose and eating something particularly flavorful. You will soon realize that the taste is only responsible for the sensation of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory. The rest of the job is done by smell. Once we are born our sense of smell is the first sense that we use and we start to learn about new sense by associating them with new experiences. If the experience was positive then we catalog the scent is being positive. For example, when infants experience cuddling in conjunction with incidental odors like perfume, then perfume becomes associated with the wonderful experience of cuddling and is forever saved in the memory as positive. This can also happen with scents who are technically not positive like the scent of skunk or manure but because for some people they evoke the memories of childhood in the countryside they can be forever stored as positive. From birth to about the age of 10 smell is our strongest sense and afterwards the sense of sight takes over. An adult human being can distinguish 10,000 different smells and our bodies are constantly generating [NOISE] new scent neurons in order to make sure that our sense of smell is in perfect working condition. Unlike our other senses who are processed centrally our sense of smell travels from the olfactory bulb all the way to the limbic system which is the part of our brain that is responsible for memories and emotion. No other sense has this deep access. The limbic system is one of the oldest parts of our brain because these structures were found in the earliest mammals. Knowing this helps us understand why scent plays such an important role in memory, emotion, and mood. While it is certainly possible to see an object or hear a song that elicits certain memories we rarely have such a strong emotional reaction, is when we encounter a scent. As we aged and our health declines so does our sense of smell and usually the loss of smell is an indication of major illnesses like Parkinson or Alzheimer. Finally, one particular aspect about our sense of smell is that if we are exposed to an odor for longer than 15 minutes we are unable to smell it anymore and that's because our sense of smell is designed to detect only the changes in the smell landscape. Before you go I want you to take away with you three major ideas from this lesson. We'll learn about sense by associating them with the experiences that we make. If the experience was positive then the scent will be associated as positive even if technically it is not a positive scent. Our olfactory bulb is connected to parts of our brain that are responsible for emotion and memory which is why we have such strong reactions when we encounter a new scent. Finally, after 15 minutes of immersion with one scent most people are unable to smell it. 3. From Emotion to Behaviour: If you can think about a bad smell that you have encountered lately, try to relive a little how that made you feel. Your body was in a higher state of alertness, your face crunched, your jaw tightened. Perhaps your hands went to your nose trying to make sure that that smell doesn't go anywhere near your eyes, your mouth, or your nose. Your physiology changes, your heart rate picks up, your eyes blink faster, and even your skin conductivity changes. Of course, your psychological mood changes as well. In environments that smell bad, you become more irritable and less patient, and you do everything you have to do to get out of there. You, therefore, feel disturbed both physiologically and psychologically. If we can recognize all these changes when it comes to bad smells, then the opposite is true when it comes to good smells. Smells that we like, make us feel good and they put us in a psychological and physiological good mood. When a positive mood is achieved, this triggers all kinds of positive reactions from us. We sleep better, our stress is lower, we have a better cognitive and physical performance, and even our self-confidence is better. By now, I hope you understand that you have a tool in your hand. You can help your body set itself in a positive state of mind by smelling sense that you particularly like, and what sense do you like? Besides the palette of pleasant smells that everybody likes, there are also smells that are particular to you that trigger specific memories, and the stronger the memories, the stronger the emotional reactions, and the stronger the emotional reactions, the higher your preference for that specific smell. Pick up the pellets of sense that mean something to you and have them closely and smell them frequently in order to set yourself in a good mood. Before you go, I'd like you to take away four important ideas from this lesson. Number 1, scent has the power to impact how you feel, how you feel impacts your psychology and physiology. Number 2, fragrances that trigger positive memories are perceived more favorably because they trigger strong emotional reactions. Knowing which scents triggered those positive memories and emotions for you will help you regulate your own mood and emotions. 4. Scent and Culture: The US military tried to create a stink bomb as part of the non-lethal, but morale-damaging weapons. Their goal was to create the most terrible smell to unleash on the enemy but found themselves unable to find such a smell Because not all smells are unanimously considered unpleasant. Even fecal odors are not terrible for everyone, because in many parts of the world, people smell them on a regular basis. This happens also with positive smells, and cultures can not concur on one smell that is positive to everyone. For example, marketers have found the word signifies clean in South America, doesn't signify clean in Asia. In North America, and Europe, citrus smells are considered bright and happy, but in Japan, this role is attributed to Rose Water. In North America and Europe, lavender is considered calming, but in Japan, it is Jasmine that is associated with a relaxed mood. You see there are some major differences in the scent palette of each culture. While there is no empirical cross-cultural data showing any consensus for any specific order, you do have to remember that the people within a certain culture do share some common associations with particular scent. Having some knowledge about a specific culture can help you decide which fragrances to pick, and which fragrances are more likely to be considered more likable by a specific group of people. Scientists have found that even when two cultures share the same language and so many traditions, they can still have different reactions to the same scent. For example, a research was set up in France and Canada and the participants were asked to rate their impression on six different scent, maple, wintergreen, rose, lavender, anise, and strawberry. The participants were asked to rate their impressions in two situation: First without knowing what the scent is and then by knowing what the scent is. One of the striking results of this study was the participants from Canada rated wintergreen as very positive, while the French participants rated it as very negative. The reason seems to be that in Canada, wintergreen is used mostly in candy, while in France it is used in medicine. The second notable result was that when people were informed of the name of the smell-producing substance, the cultural differences disappear and the overall rating of the substance was higher. This study reinforces the idea that our brain's processing of scent is not just a reaction to chemical compounds, but it is also influenced by our previous experiences with that scent, as well as our knowledge about what that scent is. In the case of this experiment, the participants were informed about what the smell is. But in reality, we perceive smell in the context. We perceive smell together with information from our other senses, like our hearing, and our vision, and our taste. If you smell something weird and you see a block of cheese, your reaction will be different than if you see some wet and dirty socks. We judge our reactions based on what's in front of our eyes. While people within one culture can share a communist associations with certain smells like cinnamon and Christmas, ultimately, how you react to a certain smell is very personal because of the personal experiences you make with that smell. For example, most people like the scent of fresh-cut grass. But if you personally had an accident on a freshly cut lawn, then your reaction to the scent might not be as positive. This is why the same culture does not bind people, the same emotional reaction to all scent. To recap, there's not one odor that makes everybody equally happy or everybody equally unhappy. People belonging to one culture may share common associations with certain smells. Cultures who share the same language and traditions may not share the same preferences for smell. Even within the same culture, people's reactions to a certain smell can be different due to the personal experiences with that particular scent. 5. Work Performance and Office Experience: We learned that scientists connected to emotions and our emotions have the ability to change our psychology and physiology putting us in a good mood or a bad mood. Being in a positive mood or a bad mood can lead to all kinds of behaviors. Studies about the impact of fragrances on mood and behavior have revealed a couple of things. When people were exposed to positive odors, they displayed pro social behaviors and we're more willing to help others, while bad odor is lowered their tolerance for frustration. For example people who are exposed to the smell of roasting coffee or baking cookies were more likely to help a stranger than people who are not exposed to these scents. It was also demonstrated that people working in pleasantly scented rooms were better at creative problem solving than people working in unpleasant smelling rooms. People who work in the presence of pleasant smelling air fresheners showed higher self-efficacy, set higher goals, and we're more likely to employ efficient work strategies than people who worked in no odor conditions. What scent might be helpful? The fragrances of lemongrass, peppermint, fight fatigue, and support mental clarity, helping the participants in one study make less typing mistakes. Because the workplace is such a highly stressful space, the use of fragrances that are stress busters are shown to improve mood and overall well being. Researchers noticed that the use of rosemary and laventer can significantly reduce the cortisol stress hormone. The use of linalool loop, which is a substance found in lemons, can also turn down the fight or flight response. How might you use fragrances for your office strategically? Here are a couple of things that you might want to consider. Because we get used to scents after 15 minutes, you have to make sure that the exposure to the scent is not constant. You can do this in two ways. Number 1 is you discontinue the scenting of the space for longer periods of time, that way, every time you turn it on, people can still perceive it. Or number 2, if you have a large office space, you want to focus on scenting those areas where people do not find themselves for long periods of time. These can be meeting rooms, focus rooms, copy rooms, social meeting areas, the kitchen, the bathroom, anywhere where people don't sit for an entire day, every day. You might want to avoid the open plan setting but focus on those spaces where people meet for shorter periods of time every now and then. That way, every time they come into that space, they can perceive the fragrance brand new. A third idea that you might want to consider, especially for large spaces is the idea to create different types of scents throughout the office. Much like nature, the office landscape also has to offer different simulations, both visually, acoustically, and also scent wise. Having different scents throughout the office can really stimulate the creativity and the overall well being of the employees. An improved well-being leads to better work output and employee retainment. Scents also have the ability to neutralize bad odors so they can be used very effectively in bathrooms and kitchens. But also if you think of those meeting rooms where long meetings take place, things tend to get smelly after awhile. Having a bit of scent in those spaces can really help out with the overall mood. If you use essential oils in order to scent the rooms, these can also have additional properties. Essential oils are known to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that they can really help keep germs at bay. They are particularly well used in places where a lot of people meet. You also might want to play some fragrances in the entryway area and in the client meeting rooms. That way when the client enters your space for the first time, they have an enhanced perception of your brand. Finally, if you're looking to understand fragrances in the context of your home office, I would recommend you to check out my class home office interior design. 6. Physical Performance and Gym Experience: In this lesson, I would like to talk about three things. One is how olfaction can hence your physical performance. Two, how brands use fragrances to enhance customer experience. Three, what you might have to take into account if you want to use fragrances for your gym, or exercise room, or for your yoga studio, whatever exercise space you might have. There are a couple of ideas that you might want to take into account. One of the ways sends can enhance physical performance is by helping athletes visualize moments in their life where they felt in optimal physical and psychological mood. For example, Christopher burglar, a triple airmen champion talks about in his book, The athlete's way, how he used fragrances from his early childhood to set him in the right state of mind to perform. For example, if you wanted to re-create the feelings of familiarity and safety, he would smell Plato or silly putty, which she used to play with as a child. If you wanted to feel optimistic, and energized, and invigorated, he would smell the colon that he was using when he was 17 and had just started running. If he was running on a treadmill in winter, and there are too many gray days, one after the other, he would use the smell of sunscreen to evoke summertime and the feelings of joy and positivity. Professional athletes consciously use olfaction to tap into old memories, so they can recreate the mood, state of mind entirely certain behavior. What sense might contribute to enhanced performance? Besides the fragrances that remind you of specific moments in your life, there are also fragrances that have been shown to contribute to improved physical performance. Peppermint has been shown to increase activation in the area of our brain that wakes us up in the morning. In that exercises, do more push-ups, and run faster when exposed to the center of peppermint. How to sports brands use fragrances? Sports companies like Adidas and Nike have incorporated fragrances in their brand. In order to enhance the consumer experience with the brand, as well as diversify their products. Adidas, for example, has launched a fragrance collection both for men and for women, designed to increase their desire, and ability to exercise, created in collaboration with elite athletes. Each fragrance activates a unique emotional center of the brain in order to enhance performance. Nike on the other hand, has experimented with adding fragrances to the store. One research demonstrated that this increased intend to purchase by 80%. Another research conducted in the Nike store showed that an ambient fragrance not only improve the consumers' impression of the store, and the products, but it increased also their desire to return to the Nike store. Again, here I'd like to tell a story that happened to me. It's probably the first time I realized that fragrance actually played a role in my buying decision. I was looking for a gym, and I was looking at a couple of them may be three or four. I remember they all had similar amenities, they all had exercise rooms. They all have rooms for bikes and for yoga. They all had all Jim gear, lockers, and possibility to work out, are they so there wasn't much difference in terms of what they offer, but all of them except one, had distinct smell of sweat right at the front door. You might think it's a gym. What is it supposed to smell like? I would have been okay with this idea until I met a gym that now Malory didn't smell like sweat, but it smelled like flowers. That really made a difference. We might be or might not be conscious about these decisions. But if you are on the other side where you're trying to enhance the experience of your customers, of your employees. Then you want to know all the levers that you can pull in order to create that incredible experience. What ideas might you have to keep in mind when it comes to sending an exercise space, if the story before it was not good enough. I hope you can keep in mind the idea that the entryway has to be a very well smelling place, especially for customers who meet your brand for the first time. The diffusing, alluring aromas in the reception area can create a lasting positive impression. Additionally, you want to keep the sense subdued, and in the background, you want your customer to keep finding that send not have an adverse reaction to it, because you can't get away from it. Just like in the case of offices, fragrances have the ability to neutralize less pleasant smells. Using them in lockers or bathrooms can really improve the quality of the experience that customers have with your brand. If the sound comes with essential oils, this may come back bacteria, molds, and viruses. What fragrances might you use for your exercise room? I wish this class would come with the ability for me to give you guys some fragrances to smell. I think this left the lessons will be so much more interesting. Unfortunately, I help only to expand your mind regarding what fragrances can do. Next time you are in a fragrance shop, you will look at them a little differently. Here are some ideas of what fragrances you might be able to use. That ultimately, I would like you to make a thorough research into what your customers might need. For example for a spot where, the mood is more relaxing, you might want to use the sense of lavender, of Mandarin, Rosemarie. If you have a uterus studio and you want to relieve tension and create relaxation, you might use the fragrances of vanilla, of sandalwood, of stage, and Rosemarie, as well as ginger and lavender. Refreshing blends orange and eucalyptus can help with meditation and serenity. For a weightlifting area where you need those juices flowing, you might want to use some citrus nodes of orange, lime, lemon, and peppermint. For intense cardio and spinning workout, you might want to combine the citrus nodes, with fruits like mango, and pineapple, and grapefruit melon. To create that energizing refreshing mood. 7. Shopping and Retail Experience: When trying to create the right ambiance, retail spaces have plenty to consider in order to suit the goods and services they are selling. Location, the core employee uniforms, lighting, art, temperature, music, and increasingly smell in order to create an immersive brand experience for their customers. Since when done correctly, have the ability to make the customer feel more comfortable, happier, more at ease, more likely to stay in the store and spend money, as well as more likely to return. The data has shown that people stay as much as 44 percent longer in businesses that smell good. Starting from 1995, examine if the presence of fragrances had any effect on the amount of money gambled in slot machines in Las Vegas casino. They picked three slot machine areas in the casino. Two of them were oduorised with different sense and one of them remained unoduorised. Then they looked at the gambling behavior of the people during three weekends. The weekend before the oduorisation, the weekend after the oduorisation, and the weekend during the oduorisation. They also compare the three areas between each other. What they found is that indeed one of the oduors did increase the amount of money being gambled by 45 percent. In a study from 1996, it was shown that customers evaluate a store much higher if there is a scent in the store versus there is no scent. Another really interesting study was looking at the idea of feminine versus masculine scents and how these may impact customers behavior in a store. They found that when they sprayed feminine scents like vanilla in the store, female sales doubled and similarly, male sale doubled when they spray the masculine scent in the store. If you have a store and you want to use scenting to attract customers, you have to make sure that you use the scent that appeals to your customers, most likely gender. If you have customers that are more likely to be female, then you might go for more female scents. What about strong scents? Do they work? Some retailers like Abercrombie and Fitch and Lush use very powerful, sometimes overpowering types of scents for their stores. Abercrombie and Fitch happens so deliberately because their market research showed that their target market is in tune to those types of fragrances. While for Lush is more the lack of packaging that makes the store smell so strongly. Such strong smells can be a specific brand attribute, but it can also turn customers away as strong smells have been proven to give all reactions to people from allergic reactions, headaches, and also vomiting. Food retailers are probably the ones we use scent marketing In the most useful way because their food already spreads its aroma in the room, and good food is always bound to attract customers. In order to make sure that the store sent is in tune with the brand, some companies like Starbucks have employed their own aroma task force, which is there to make sure that all their coffee shops only smell of coffee. They almost took a tea sandwich after menu because it's aroma was mixing with the aroma of the coffee, and they didn't want that. Other shops should have a scent, but don't like the M&M store in Leicester Square in London. These shops sells a lot of chocolate, but because the chocolate comes pre-packaged, there is no smell of chocolate. They added the artificial smell of chocolate in the store in order to enhance the customer experience. Cinnamon is also such a brand that strategically looks for store locations where the smell of cinnamon rose can linger a little longer, like airports or some way stations. The smell of baked cinnamon rolls brings many childhood memories and naturally, a lot of customers to the store. Triggering childhood memories of comfort and happiness is highly lucrative because happy memories trigger happy, positive emotions and we are more likely to choose products that triggers such emotions in us. Before we end this lesson, I would like you to take away with you four important ideas. The presence of scent versus no sense increases the customer's overall subjective impression of a store. Number 2, keep smells in the background and subdued. Some people can have adverse reactions to strong smells. Make sure to use feminine scents if you cater to a female audience and masculine scents if you cater to a masculine audience. Finally, familiar smells, especially those of food that people can recognize like coffee, chocolate, and cinnamon, can trigger positive emotional memories and make people more likely to shop in the store. 8. Hotel Experience: Because of the tight connection between scent, memory, and emotion, many brands have started to develop their unique ambient fragrances in order to enhance the customer experience. This is called scent marketing, or fragrance branding, and it is adding up to a $200 million industry, popping up everywhere, but this is specifically notable in high-end hotels. In order for fragrance marketing to work positively, there needs to be a positive experience associated with that fragrance. If somebody had a negative experience in the hotel, then naturally that negative experience will be associated with the fragrance. This is why most budget hotels don't use this technology, and it is mostly used by high-end hotels. Because the lobby is often the first impression the customer has of the brand. Most hotels choose to enhance this impression by engaging the sense of smell and then continue to support this customer experience throughout other public areas of the hotels, like the corridors or the elevators. Some hotels like the [FOREIGN] in China, start with their fragrance marketing before the lobby, already in front of the hotel, spraying the center of apple pie, trying to bring back the feelings of home, and care, and comfort, in their guests. As soon as they enter the hotel, the scent changes to fresh-cut grass after a submarine type of fragrance. Depending on the hotel, the changing of fragrances may continue throughout the hotels in order to highlight the different amenities. Also besides the brand, the mood of that amenity needs to be taken into consideration, for example, the spa area might incorporate more relaxing fragrances, that harmonize with the exercises being done in that space. Hotels and the retailers also take advantage of the holidays in order to enhance the customer's experience. For Christmas, they might utilize the fragrance of cinnamon and lavender, while around Valentine's Day, they might utilize Muscat in order to charm their their. Often, high-end hotels will have for their customers a series of scented products with this brand scent, for customers to purchase and take home with them. This can be toiletries, candles, bath soaps, room sprays, room diffusers, and so many more things. By bringing the hotel brands scent in your home, you will start to associate the feelings of home and coziness with their specific scent. Next time you are in the hotel, you will not feel stressed as you do when you are in a foreign place, but you will feel more relaxed, and more at home. Before you leave this lesson, I'd like you to take away with you three important ideas. First impression really matters, so adding fragrances to the lobby area can create a great customer experience. You can differentiate the fragrances around the hotel in order to create different moods and enhance customer experience. Having a brand scent to products, can expand the range of the fragrance, as well as enhance the familiarity of the customer with the brand. 9. Healing and Hospital Experience: When we talk about healing through fragrances, we have to talk about aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment using plant extracts like essential oils in order to promote health and well-being. The research in effectiveness of the therapeutic use of essential oils is relatively limited. Here are a couple of things that we do know. A range of essential oils have been found to reduce airborne bacteria, viruses, and molds. Essential oils have also been found to relieve stress, help people relax, and improve sleep. Both relaxation and better sleep have been proven to reduce inflammation and fight disease. For example, the scent of jasmine has been proven to contribute to a restful night sleep and improved alertness the following day. Additionally, lavender and rosemary have also been proven to reduce cortisol and improve relaxation. The sense of smell can also be deployed to improve pain tolerance in hospitals. Any pleasant smell can act as a distraction and lift the mood, but recent studies suggest that sweet smells like vanilla may work best. Sweet tastes can reduce pain by activating the opioid systems in the brain, and their orders can activate the same systems. In general, patients with chronic conditions and dementia have also remarked and improve quality of life. Because of the intimate connection between our emotions and the sense of smell, it is not surprising that a glitch in one of them can affect the other. For example, a disease, anosmia, which is a complete loss of sense of smell, often leads to depression. Conversely, people who have depression often show a diminished sense of smell. The aromatherapy has been proven to relieve both anxiety and depression. I have one more study for you guys, and I have to say this is one of the studies that probably surprised me the most, but also note it is very controversial, but it seems to be quite real. It appears that not just the odors can affect our health, but when we believe them to be and to do for our health can also impact our health. Our perception of an odor can affect your health. Can you imagine this? Let me show you what the study says. The researchers presented a synthetic odor to asthmatics who typically report strong reactions to aromas. They told half the patients that this synthetic aroma can reduce their asthma symptoms, and the other half, they told that the asthma symptoms can be worsened with this synthetic aroma. What the volunteers smelled isn't anything harmful to the human body. The smell of rode-like fragrance, harmless even in high concentrations. The people who believed that the substance was potentially dangerous did report more asthma symptoms after sniffing it. But what is surprising is that it wasn't all in their head; people who expected the worst, the experience lung inflammation, and this was persistent even after 24 hours. Those who believed that the odor was beneficial didn't experience any symptoms. In conclusion, it's not just odors that can influence our health, but also our expectations of them could influence our health. Isn't that just fascinating? Hospitals who are notorious for their distinct chemical smells of cleaning detergents and antiseptics are also looking into using fragrances to relieve pain and improve relaxation, both in their patients and their staff. Since 2010, the Vanderbilt Medical University Center in Tennessee has been using the ambient fragrances of vanilla and lavender, which resulted in patients who are calmer and in better spirits. The essential oils have helped remove foul odors to reduce claustrophobia in the MRI machines, and they have seen an overall 63% reduction in stress. The Florida hospital in the city of Celebration has observed a decrease in number of patients who needed sedation, as well as a 50% reduction in cancellations. Calming scents have been proven to relieve anxiety in patients pre-surgery, as well as in those who needed dental procedures and in blood clinics. Before you go, I want to teach you a trick of how to deliver relaxation on command to your body. Are you ready? Here we go. Remember that we said that our sense of smell is the key to memories and the positive feelings that are attached to them. You can pick a distinctive odor and pair it with a session of relaxing meditation. After a few sessions, you won't need the meditation anymore, the scent itself is going to do the job. Isn't that great? [LAUGHTER] You can train your mind to associate a specific scent with a specific feeling so every time you have to relax your mind and your body and you can't sit for a session of meditation, you can just smell that specific scent and you will be automatically transported to that calming sense of well-being state of mind. I think that's incredible. Before we end this lesson, I would like you to take away with you a couple of big ideas. Number one is that aromatherapy can relieve stress, improve sleep, and relaxation. Specifically, sweet smells can help relieve pain. Loss of smell can be a sign of a health problem. You can have relaxation on command by pairing a fragrance of your choosing with a meditation session. After a few sessions, the odor alone is going to deliver on that relaxed state of mind. 10. Home: Ancient Egyptian and Chinese societies were among the first to incorporate sense in everything from burials to sacrificial offerings, medicinal purposes, and of course, freshening indoor spaces. But the use of fragrances specifically for whole fresh new purposes, really took off in Europe in the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XV of France, who is afraid of water and was convinced that water was able to spread disease. Apparently he only took three baths in his life. You can imagine what somebody who hasn't bathed in a decade's could smell like or [LAUGHTER] maybe you don't. In order to cover the stench, the perfume industry really took off. Throughout the entire palace, there were bowls filled with flower petals and perfume was preyed on the furniture. Apparently, Louis also demanded a different fragrance per his apartment every day and beside the court where he was at was called the Fragrant court. I cannot imagine what the human stank mixed with perfume must have smelled like. But this is where the perfume and the Indian fragrance industry started in Europe. When it comes to choosing a fragrance for your home, you have to remember that we get used to smells fairly quickly. So you either have one fragrance for the entire house, but this one fragrance gets changed fairly frequently. Or you have little sources of scent spread around the house that radiate in a very small perimeter and only when you get close to them, you can smell them. But otherwise you don't. Additionally to that, you can also make this little sources of scent relatively different from each other throughout your home so you can create a scented landscape and offer yourself little surprises throughout your house. You have to watch out not to overscent your home. As we talked in the other lessons, really strong scent can provoke adverse reactions like headaches, allergies, vomiting. The list can be long. So make sure that you keep the sense subdued in the background. I'm not a biologist nor I'm I a doctor. But if you choose fragrances for your home, make sure that they come from natural sources. We're already bombarded by chemicals all over the place. So your home should be an oasis of relief, a place to rebalance your mind and your spirit and reconnect with nature. Here are some ideas of how you can make your home more fragrant. For sure there are more solutions out there. Consider this lesson just a platform for you to start digging a little deeper for things that are more appropriate to you. Number one, potpourri is similar in part of fresh ingredients like Rosemarie and lemon on the stove, making your kitchen and your home smell amazing. You can use drawers sachet. These are particularly popular in the countryside. If you ever go to the South of France in Europe, you'll find miles and miles of lavender fields. In the markets you can buy this little lavender fields sachet. They make your clothes smell amazing and they are great moth repellents. Some of the most common solutions are the fragrance diffusers. These use capillary action to release the fragrance in the air. There are also fragrance vaporizers that release tiny water particles and ionized scent into the air and are typically powered by electricity. You can use scented candles. You can use linen and pillows sprays. You can use air sprays and air fresheners. The list is long. There are many ways in which you can make your home more fragrant, and it really depends on your preferences and budget. By now you must be wondering what kind of fragrances you can choose for your home. I'm here to give you a small guide of where to start. But ultimately only you can decide what makes you feel one way or another. Uplifting scent could be refreshing green sense, like cucumber, peppermint, Faisal, eucalyptus, and freshly cut grass. We can also add here tangy citrus fruits, like grape fruit, lemon and orange, which are known to alleviate fatigue and enhance alertness. Relaxation and stress reducing fragrances can be those of lavender, rose, orange blossom and jasmine, who are said to be very good at diffusing anger and tension and reducing the stress hormones in the blood. Sleeping encouraging scent are lavender and chamomile, who are also known to help cure insomnia. If you're looking for a scent to sharpen the brainpower, it looks like cinnamon is very good at improving cognitive performance, particularly memory and visual motor responses. If you're looking for some romance evoking sense, look no further than jasmine, narrowly, sandalwood, and vanilla, which are very good at enhancing a couple's connection. Before you go, I'd like to leave you with three main ideas that we talked about in this lesson. Choose natural scents like plants, dried herbs and essential oils over chemicals. Because we get used to fragrances, you want to change the fragrances fairly often in your home. Or the second technique is just reduce the radius in which they can be smelled around the house, as well as diversify them a little bit. That's why you give your senses small surprises every day. Finally, number three, think about the mood you want to achieve in your home or in that space. Is it energized or is it chilled and relaxed? Then choose fragrances that support that specific mood. 11. Class Project: For the class project, I want you to think about the space you want to use fragrances on and start thinking about how to go about implementing it by answering the following questions. What kind of space do you have and who are you scenting for? Is it your office? Is it your home? Who else is coming in contact with the scent? Employees? Customers? What kind of mood are you trying to achieve? What fragrances may speak best about your brand values? Here, you might want to employ the services of a perfumist or a fragrance branding company. Does the fragrance support the interior design of the space? Would it meet customer expectations? Could you use scents to mark important holidays like using cinnamon for Christmas? If you have a food store, what food scent from your store could you enhance to attract more customers? Is it coffee, is it chocolate? Where is the customer most likely to appreciate the scent? Is it in front of the store, is it at the entry in the store or is it the meeting room? Think about the ways people walk into your space and the places where they are most likely to stop. How might you enhance their experience there? Would your space benefit from one scent, like Starbucks for multiple scents like a luxury hotel? If you have more than one room, how might you create different moods? You want to make sure you involve whoever will be impacted the most by the scent to be a part of choosing the right scent. If it is your office, you might want to invite your employees. If it's a doctor's waiting room, you might want to ask a group of patients, or if it's just you, fantastic. Find the scents that speaks to you the most, revive the brightest memories and put you in the greatest mood. 12. Final Thoughts : Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the class. I hope you learned some new things and already feel inspired to apply them. I enjoyed teaching this class a lot and I can't wait to see what you have taken away from it. I invite you to go to the Project and Resources section and share your class project with me and other students of the class. I'll make sure to give you feedback and help you on your way. To comment and encourage other students on their class project, we will help you make some new connections on the platform. Please use the discussion section to let me know your thoughts and questions about the class. 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