The Olfactory System
1 Aromatherapy Course
Of The Olfactory System
As we just mentioned, the nose is a part of the respiratory system
which brings oxygen into the lungs to be processed through the body
system. As you are well aware the nose is also responsible for our
sense of smell. Our sense of smell is one of our finest senses, even
more so than taste and touch.
Smell is the strongest link to the subconscious mind and we retain
memories associated with smells for very long periods of time. It is
said, that our bodies can process between 10,000 to 100,000 different
smells and remember them. It is very similar to a lock and key. When we
first smell something it gets locked into our brain and then when we
happen to smell that scent again it triggers the memory. How many times
have you found yourself saying, "Hey, do you know what that smell
reminds me of?"
Scent is captured from the air around us and passed through the filter
of the cilia in our noses. Our nasal cavities have thousands of
olfactory nerve cells that carry scent directly to the Olfactory bulb
which is located at the back of our nose. It has nerve endings that
send messages directly to the brain. This is the only place where our
central nervous system is directly exposed to the environment. That is
why inhalation directly affects the central nervous system.
The Olfaction response bypasses the Neo-cortex or conscious brain and
goes directly to the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system
houses all of our sensory experiences such as memories, emotions, sex
drive, hunger, pleasure, instincts etc. It is the center of all of our
emotions and therefore affects our emotional behavior.
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