The 2019 Global Wellness Summit has published its Eight Wellness Trends Report for the year. The Summit’s sponsor, the Global Wellness Institute, summarizes the report this way: “The only wellness trends report generated from the insights of 650 industry leaders from 50 nations, the Global Wellness Summit’s annual trends forecast is a uniquely informed, detailed and global look at what’s ahead in wellness. For 2019 we’ll see the rise of a ‘dying well’ movement and wellness remaking the fashion industry to ‘meditation going plural’ and scent playing a more dramatic role in our emotional health.’” One trend, Fragrance Gets a Wellness Makeover: A new understanding of scent’s crucial role in our physical and emotional wellbeing, gets our particular attention.
PHYTO5 skin and hair care is formulated and manufactured in Fleurier, Switzerland. The Fleurier name itself roughly means "Flowering Village," entirely apropos for a company whose skincare products are largely made from the essential oils of flowers. We always bring light to the very basic premise of essential oil use in skincare—that flower blossoms, the “face” of the plant, store the sun’s solar energy and vital force and transmit these to the skin through its essential oil.
But perhaps just as important to our well-being is the scent a flower or plant conveys.
In the molecules of natural essential oils, the scent of the flower is inhaled and the hypothalamus(1) in the brain produces hormones that provoke an appropriate reaction in the body. The hypothalamus controls the pituitary master gland of the body and plays a key role in connecting our hormonal (endocrine) system with the nervous system.
Located a mere inch or so away from the amygdala in the brain, the olfactory bulb (the neural structure involved in the sense of smell) has obvious intimate access to it. The amygdala is a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere.
Both of these, the hypothalamus and the amygdala, are part of the limbic system, the area of the brain most heavily implicated in emotion and memory. The hypothalamus plays a role in the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is a part of any emotional reaction. The amygdala itself is primarily involved with the experiencing of emotions.
Perhaps this is why philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche(2) is justified in declaring, “All my genius is in my nostrils.”
Further, biophysicist Luca Turin developed the quantum vibration theory in 1996 which suggests that olfactory receptors actually sense the quantum vibrations of odorants' atoms. It is in the arena of quantum vibration where we begin to move toward the deepest core of the mind-body system creating the space for spontaneous healing to occur.
Scent registers in our brains first—before sight, sound or touch.
Scent philosopher Annick le Geurér argued more recently that:
Fragrance has the potential to carry meaning in its aromatic quality. The scent of rose loves and heals, myrrh is prophetic and grounding, and frankincense evokes quietude and holiness.
After pausing to understand the interaction of scent, the brain and nervous system, taking time out to stop and smell the roses has more meaning for us now than ever before as we quest for authenticity and connection and strive to create more mindful lives.
Using scent to balance emotions and treat “disease” is actually an ancient practice and today large-scale medical studies are underway that will probably bring legitimacy to this healing modality. Because the brain produces memories in conjunction with smell, scientists are finding that scent can play a healing role in neurological disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Treating Alzheimer’s with scent may prove effective since loss of the sense of smell is an early symptom of the disease. It is believed scent therapy can be effective with Alzheimer’s patients by triggering positive memories from their past.
The Eight Wellness Trends Reports indicates the following uses of scent trending for 2019:
scent in mental wellness
scent as flavor as in choosing a drink in a restaurant, for example, by its scent
scent in branding where studies show customers will be more loyal if their experience involves scent
scent of a place; the typical place might be a PHYTO5 spa where lingering scent of the products can trigger subtle changes in clients’ bodies and minds
scent in art where large-scale multisensory art exhibits focus on the sense of smell
scent as feel good fragrances in candles and bottles (perfume) and which incorporate a wellness aspect while transporting us back to fond memories
scent as functional/workplace wellness where scent is an invisible mood enhancer improving learning, cognition, function and productivity; a Japanese company found that diffusing a lemon scent in the air increased productivity by 54%.
The 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report finds that today’s consumers by and large want 100% natural ingredients, transparency and sustainability in the products they buy. While PHYTO5’s products are rich with bouquets derived from premium-grade all natural essential oils, extracts and flower waters, they also deliver all natural holistic products formulated without animal testing and with sustainability and kindness to the planet in mind.
(1) a region of the forebrain below the thalamus that coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary, controlling body temperature, thirst, hunger, and other homeostatic systems, and involved in sleep and emotional activity.
(2) (1844–1900), German philosopher philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history
McGroarty, Beth, et al. 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report. Global Wellness Summit, 2019, 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report.
“8 Wellness Trends for 2019.” Global Wellness Institute, globalwellnessinstitute.org/global-wellness-institute-blog/2019/01/30/8-wellness-trends-for-2019/?utm_source=Global%2BWellness%2BInstitute&utm_campaign=a36e55f195-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_BRIEF_2019_1_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbb41a322d-a36e55f195-69763529.
Annick le Guerer, (2002) ‘Olfaction and cognition: A philosophical and psychoanalytic view’, in C. Rouby, B. Schaal, D. Dubois, R. Gervais, & A. Holly (Eds.), Olfaction, Taste, and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press