When Aromatherapy first surfaced in the popular mind in the 80’s it was thought to be really weird and claims for its healing effect to be exaggerated.

Far stranger was the fact that there was no real research about smell and its effects. I was astounded to learn that no one actually knew just how the nose smelled things. There were three theories but not much fact. We knew a lot about sight, hearing touch etc but the poor old nose was left out in the cold.

As for Aromatherapy early on I was constantly irritated by being told it was the province of over imaginative women. How wrong the presumptuous sceptics were!

True in the UK massage and aroma was pioneered largely by women with common sense and poo poohed by science. I was an exception in a women’s world. Aromatherapy became popular and popularity meant money so science then got interested.

Since the 90’s scientists have been falling over themselves to discover the way humans scent and the effect of scent.

Not only the nose but every organ of the body is now known to smell things! The skin in particular thanks to Dr Hans Hatt’s research at the Ruhr University is now known to smell its way around the world. So massage with aroma makes perfect sense.

In a series of real life tests abrasions healed 30% faster in the presence of some odour molecules than without. From antiaging to healthy skin aroma makes things happen faster.

Children are explorers and the sense of smell is particularly important to them in their learning not only at an experience level but through the skin as a healing, comforting agent. Now we don’t know  just what we and they perceive through these olfactory receptors in the skin - is it comfort or a feeling of wellbeing – whatever pathways it is, massage, bathing with aromatics is as old as time and makes perfect sense enjoyed by adults and loved by children.

Wisely we tend to stick with what we know to be good smells from nature like Rosemary, Mandarin and the ubiquitous Lavender but who knows where this research will take us.

The Aromacosmetologist

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