Fragrance and aromatherapy has always been a part of the wellness industry, but a new wave of knowledge and information has uncovered the role that scent plays in mental and physical health. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) initially called out the "wellness trend" in 2019, but now in 2021, functional fragrances are being developed for the wellness industry.
Smell is is the only sense with a direct path to three important brain areas: the orbitofrontal cortex (associated with awareness), the hippocampus (associated with memory) and the amygdala (associated with emotion or mood).
Related: 9 Aromatherapy Spa Treatments
According to GWI, the Covid-19 pandemic kicked research into high gear, revealing the way scent impacts human health and how it can be used to improve well-being. In turn, the research kickstarted a lot of companies turning their attention to administering aromatherapy products. In fact, a CB Insights report noted that sales of aromatherapy and incense reached record levels in 2020.
Related: Aromatherapy: Create a Healing Environment in Your Spa
Now, functional wellness fragrances are rapidly gaining popularity, with brands using neuroscience to engineer scents that affect different parts of the brain, like boosting energy, calming nerves or tackling stress. There are even scents geared toward better fitness performance, energizing people before their workouts or calming them for a yoga practice.
This is believed to be only the beginning for using scent as a well-being pathway. The GWI predicts that scent technologies will also become a popular avenue, as neuroscience and artificial intelligence are already being tapped to create fragrances that connect people to digital worlds.