Scent and Your Health

Patients waiting at the clinic. PARAGUAY.

Patients waiting at the clinic. PARAGUAY. (Photo credit: Community Eye Health)

Many health care professionals have successfully combined scent with patients treatments.  Scent can be used to uplift patients emotions, calm patients pre and post surgery, and even diagnose certain disease.  However, some health care building smell strongly of disinfectant and other overpowering smells.  We ask them to consider how these studies could have an impact in their profession.

Do you feel anxious when you visit the dentist?  The Brittish Dental Association reported that lavender soothes patients anxiety while waiting for the appointment to begin.  A study conducted by King’s College of London on 340 patients demonstrated positive results from the patients in the waiting room.  The researches believe that using lavender to decrease tension in patients creates a calmer environment for the dentist to perform their job,  decreases appointment time, and fosters an environment where patients will be more likely to return.
The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York conducted a study in 1991 to determine how they could incorporate smell to decrease patient anxiety.  Five different scents were given to patients prior to undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  Heliotropin, a vanilla- like scent was the most successful and decreased the anxiety and claustrophobia in 63% of the patient population.  The results of the study conclude that the smell of heliotropin is able to decrease anxiety in the patient by evoking a positive memory.
These are just two examples of how scent can have a positive impact on your health care.  Have you had a personal experience with scent and your health?  We’d love to hear from you.

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