MediScent: Fragrance Gets a Wellness Makeover
A new understanding of scent’s crucial role in our physical and emotional wellbeing is transforming how we think about, nurture, and use our sense of smell.
The sense of smell is having a renaissance. It is often dismissed as the least relevant of the five senses—in a 2011 survey, 53 percent of millennials said they’d give up their sense of smell before they’d give up a tech device. Throughout history, our noses have been underrated by many and praised by few. In 1798, philosopher Immanuel Kant dubbed smell the “least rewarding” sense, and said it was, at best, “a negative condition of wellbeing.”
Yet, during the 2018 Global Wellness Summit, trend forecaster David Bosshart, PhD, quoted Nietzsche—“my genius is in my nostrils”—when explaining the importance of smell (and taste) in the multisensory experience of sharing food and drink.
Companies like Aeroscena, based in Cleveland Clinic’s Innovations Lab, are literally redefining and relabeling aromatherapy. The company has trademarked the term “phyto-inhalants™” to describe its line of plant-based aromatherapeutics formulated to specifically treat health symptoms, such as pain, nausea and anxiety. The company, which boasts a medical advisory board that includes the likes of Dr. Michael F. Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic, is pioneering the concept of clinical aromatherapy in the US (other countries have been more open to aromatherapy’s use). Founder Mark Kohoot says they are bringing legitimacy to aromatherapy’s folklore through large-scale medical studies that provide evidence-based proof that scent can stifle pain (a study is currently happening with patients receiving knee replacements), improve sleep, alleviate morning sickness, and relieve anxiety. The biggest problem with adoption? In the US, insurance companies won’t cover natural remedies without FDA approval; a hurdle Aeroscena is working to overcome in its quest to bring clinical aromatherapy to market.
Aromatherapy 2.0 ticks all the boxes today’s consumers care about, including 100 percent natural ingredients, transparency, sustainability and evidence-based results. And the natural essential oil market is expected to grow at a rapid pace, reaching $13 billion in 2024 thanks, in part, to an aging population looking for natural solutions to combat what ails them as well as a growing demand for natural essential oils in beauty products.
Read the report in its entirety on the Global Wellness Summit website.