Aromachology is the study of the influence of odors on human behavior and to examine the relationship between feelings and emotions. It analyzes emotions as relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and well-being brought about by odors stimulating the olfactory pathways in the brain and, in particular, the limbic system.[1] Different wearers are thought to have unique physiological and psychological responses to scents, especially those not manufactured synthetically but based on real scents.[2] The word "aromachology" is derived from "aroma" and "physio-psychology", the latter being the study of aroma.[3] This term was coined in 1989 by what is now the Sense of Smell Institute (SSI), a division of The Fragrance Foundation.[4] The SSI defines aromachology as 'a concept based on systematic, scientific data collected under controlled conditions'. The term is defined as the scientifically observable influence of smell on emotions and moods. Consumers use aromachology to alleviate time pressures, for relaxation or stimulation and as a component of other activities that generate a feeling of well-being.[5]

Although certain plants are known through studies in aromatherapy to have stimulating or relaxing effects, research on wider scopes of application for therapeutic purposes are still at an early stage. Aromachology devotees want to find out how psychological effects are transmitted from scent to the brain, as well as how positive behavioral effects can be induced by scent.[4] Maria Lis-Bachin, author of Aromatherapy Science: a Guide for Healthcare Professionals, notes an overlap between the objectives of aromatherapy and those of aromachology.[4] However, despite this apparent overlapping, academic authors believe that they are distinct branches of research and application, with each having its own research methods and directions.[1]

Aromatherapy vs. Aromachology

The history of aromatherapy goes back to Ancient Egypt. People for years have used essential oils to treat their psychological and physical well-being. In Ancient Egypt, people used essential oils for cosmetic and medicinal products. Civilizations from around the globe also used aromatherapy for therapeutic purposes. The term aromatherapy dates from the 20th century when French chemist Jean-Maurice Gattefosse rediscovered the healing powers of lavender's essential oil by trying to relieve a severe burn. Aromatherapy requires the incorporation of essential oils and plant-based essentials for therapeutic and holistic process assuring the well-being of the mind and body.[6]

On the other hand, Aromachology is the term The Fragrance Foundation and the Sense of Smell Institute, both based in New York, assigned in 1989[5] to the concern about the scents and the psyche behavior because of odors. Aromachology is a relatively new science that explores positive feelings induced by odors far from any holistic or healing process. The term also covers, both, natural and synthetic scents. The term aromachology is sometimes mistaken by companies with several other terms such as "essential oils" or "aromatherapy" as marketing phrases. The products shouldn't be labeled other than aromachology because they do not offer healing or holistic benefits.[6]

Aromachology and human behavior

A Journal of Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan in 1992 [7] realized a study to show how humans behave based on the scent they are exposed to. On the study, the effect of odor on cardiac response patterns was investigated on human subjects during a period of two-stimulus paradigm in a simple reaction time task. During the experiment changes in the cardiac response pattern were obvious and heart rate deceleration reflecting the process of anticipation or attention. Olfactory stimulation was provided to the subjects with different aromatic air samples with a 5-second rest period, followed by a 20-second olfactory stimulus period. It was concluded that the odor of lemon, traditionally thought to be stimulative, had the effect of activating anticipation or attention process. The effect of activating the anticipation or attention process was stronger when the odor intensity was more concentrated. On the other hand, the rose odor initially was thought to be sedative, had the effect of suppressing that process.[7]

Commercial application of aromachology

From the point of view of creating a scent for the body, a number of aromachology practitioners and small companies interested in aromachology are focused on creating bespoke perfumes for individuals who are less interested in purchasing the same fragrances that every other person is wearing and more inclined to wearing a perfume tailored precisely to their own preferences, memories and scent matches.[8] Some cosmetic brands such as Shiseido and Décléor are devoting substantial efforts to the task of finding out the beneficial properties of aromas on our sense of well-being and health. Shiseido currently has a skincare line called "The Skincare" that uses aromachology in their products.

Broader applications for aromachology are found in industries that introduce scent into products other than cosmetics or perfumes. Aromachology is considered to also encompass scents introduced to home fragrances, textiles, drawer liners and odor reducers for the home environment.[1]

See also


  1. C. X. Wang, Sh. L. Chen, Aromachology and its Application in the Textile Field,
  2. Celia Lyttleton, The Scent Trail, (2007), ISBN 978-0-85750-031-1
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-08-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Maria Lis-Balchin, Aromatherapy Science: a Guide for Healthcare Professionals, p. 3, (2006), ISBN 0-85369-578-4
  5. "Aromachology? (The consumer counts: fragrance)." Home Accents Today, May 2003, p. 34. General OneFile, Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.
  6. Warda, R. (2002). Aromatherapy vs. Aromachology: the difference between natural essential oils and synthetic fragrances can mean the difference in offering consumers true aromatherapeutic benefits. Global Cosmetic Industry, (11), 58. Retrieved from
  7. 谷田正弘, 菊池晶夫, 上野山重治, 阿部恒之, 山口浩, Tanida, M., … Yamaguchi, H. (1992). アロマコロジーの化粧品への応用 (1) 香りが反応予期事態の心拍変動パターンに対して及ぼす影響. 日本化粧品技術者会誌, 26(2), 113–119. doi:10.5107/sccj.26.113
  8. Subramaniam, Vanmala (2010-03-17). "Aromachology: A scent of their own".
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