Why are essential oils used for smell therapy?

The 4 essential oils for post-COVID smell training

Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy, but they’re also becoming more common for people who have lost their sense of smell after COVID-19.

Research indicates that a combination of certain essential oils can be useful for smell retraining.

As a part of your smell retraining routine, we recommend smelling each essential oil twice every day for six weeks. Each smell training session should take roughly 10 minutes.

The Science Behind Smell Therapy

The concept of using essential oils to treat the olfactory nerves began in Germany in 2009, when Thomas Hummel, a psychologist, developed a technique in which patients inhaled four essential oils (rose, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus),

The study lasted 12 weeks and was carried out under a group of people who were suffering from head injuries, a severe infection of the upper respiratory tract, or other unaccountable reasons. Today, thousands of people are using the same techniques to recover from their smell and taste loss following a COVID-19 infection.

A large percentage of the group of people who had followed smell training had a better score on the odor tests at the end of the study compared to the control group that had not followed odor training.

In addition to Dr. Hummel, there are other scientific studies indicating that smell training 2 times daily can have a noticeable effect on the development of your smell and taste.

Essential Oils for Smell and Taste Recovery

These oils represent the 4 key quadrants of scent (flowery, fruity, spicy, and resinous) which represent our core ability to smell and taste. Similar to order, taste and flavor can be classified as sweet, bitter, sour, and salty.

During an earlier study in 1916, Hans Henning attempted to divide scents into 6 categories. He then used these categories when describing the different types of scents.

The 6 main categories of scents studied by Henning include resinous, burned, flowery, spoiled, spicy, and ethereal. To make smell training more practical, Hummel reduced these scents into the 4 essential oils that we currently use for smell training.

Modified Smell Training

A separate study from 2015 has shown that smell training is beneficial for people with an impaired sense of smell, and it can be enhanced by using a wider range of odors.

In the study, 85 patients used various essential oils in the modified olfactory training group, whereas patients in the classical odor training (COT) group used a total of 4 odors. In the modified olfactory training group, patients used twelve different essential oils sequentially. Meanwhile, the participants in the classical smell training group used four odors.

The results showed both groups experienced an improved sense of smell and ability to identify the odors in the group better than the control group. In addition, it was concluded that the effects could be more pronounced if a broader range of scents was used over a longer period than in previous experiments.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to how smell training works. Your olfactory recovery can vary depending on genetics, the frequency of smell therapy, and the variety of scents used in your smell training routine.

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