What Is 'Scent-Scaping' And How Can It Up Your Wellness Routine?

Ever been transported back in time to a favorite place and special memory by a scent? You are not alone, as the olfactory sense is the one linked most with memory. This is because of the brain's anatomy, which allows the olfactory signals to reach the area of the brain that has to do with emotional responses fast, says Harvard Professor and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Venkatesh Murthy, via The Harvard Gazette.

Scents play an important role in the associations the brain makes with one's surroundings. Hence, you can tap into specific scents to set specific wellness intentions and elevate your routine. This is known as the art of 'scent-scaping' — a trend that began as a home decor concept to elevate your interiors when everyone was spending more time at home during the pandemic but has since been broadened in its scope to address one's well-being.

As Pamela Dalton, Ph.D. and member of Monell Chemical Senses Center tells Homecrux, "Scent-scaping has been used to describe the process of filling a space with scents." In fact, one can divide up their home and workspaces by creating different scent profiles for each one. 

Why should you try scent-scaping?

The biggest benefit of adopting a scent-scaping practice is that it helps you to focus on important tasks without being constantly distracted. Choosing specific smells for each room in the house allows you to demarcate zones. The smell associated with each separate zone sends subconscious signals to our brains to adopt a certain role while we are within the vicinity of that scent.

Michelle Feeney, the founder of Floral Street Fragrances, explains to Glamour Magazine, "Scent can have a positive impact on your wellbeing by reflecting how you want to feel at a particular time. Different fragrances can help to balance or energize your mind, reduce stress, or introduce moments of self-care." For example, we know that light and natural scents are the way to waft in self-expression. By choosing specific scents for particular areas of your home, you can improve your mood and infuse each room with a sense of positivity and purpose.

Another benefit of scent-scaping is how easy it becomes to compartmentalize spaces with different scents, ultimately leading to greater productivity. 

Tips for scent-scaping your home

If you are convinced of the benefits of scent-scaping for wellness, the first thing to do is to identify the scents and plan their use according to the times of the day. Mark Winstanley, Chief Creative Officer at The White Company, shares an example of this with Home & Gardens, "You may look to an energizing, fresh fragrance to revitalize your senses to work alongside your coffee as you begin work in the morning, while a muskier scent will help you detox and fall asleep when night falls." 

He recommends ginger and citrus notes for the morning and scents that help you wind down, like soft lavender and juniper, when you are done with the day's work and looking to relax. Invigorating scents such as grapefruit and vanilla could help motivate you to work out, while soothing scents like eucalyptus help you sleep.

Apart from identifying the correct scent for different purposes, it is also important to choose the right kind of vessel for each room and purpose. Candles softly diffuse the scent to fill the room, while diffusers have a stronger impact but a shorter lifespan. Therefore, the former is ideal for bedrooms, and the latter can be placed in busy hallways or common areas.

You can also use room sprays for quick results if you are too impatient for a candle to take effect. These are especially useful for covering up unwanted scents in the kitchen or bathroom.