AROMATHERAPY

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Indirect Perfuming 

Over the past few years indirect perfuming has become a serious concern of businesses who are trying to find ways of increasing the efficiency of their staff and the satisfaction of their clients. All over the world scientific laboratories are experimenting on the effects of aroma and coming up with results that will one day affect you and me as we go about our work and play.

For example, Dr Rober Barron at Perdue University, la Fayette, Indiana, has confirmed that aromas in the workplace affect their efficiency with which people perform tasks; - not only do the workers feel in a better mood and project a more positive frame of mind, they actually think more clearly and intuitively.

Airlines are looking at the possibility of indirectly perfuming their aeroplanes with aromas that will make the passengers more relaxed. Shimizu, the third largest construction company in Japan, now incorporates an 'Aroma Generation System' into their air-conditioning of new offices and hospitals.They tailor-make the aromas to the client's needs and already have a standard twenty aromas in their catalogue.

Shimizu's faith and investment in the power of aroma is based on research carried out by Japan's largest fragrance manufacturer Takasago, among others. They found that people operating computers and word processors made 54 per cent fewer keying errors when the air was diffused with lemon, 33 per cent fewer with jasmine and 20 per cent with lavender. 'Perfume dynamics' as it is called in Japan, means that workers in Japanese banks now work with a lemon atmosphere and their customers are being soothed with lavender.

America is not far behind. Henry Walters, chairman of International Flavours and Fragrances in New York, has been quoted as saying they 'envision a zillion different possibilities'. In his view the new field of indirect perfuming is as full of potential as the 'beginning of antibiotics'. As IFF is the world's largest producer and supplier of fragrances (which appear in the washing-up liquids, soap powders and perfumes you and I buy every day) you can be pretty sure that sooner or later we are going to be feeling the effect of all that enthusiasm as we go about our work and business. An d the younger generation had better watch out - it could already be planned to pump stimulating aromas into the classroom to wake them all up.

You may not be too happy about the idea of your boss putting aromas into your space to increase your efficiency or even reduce your stress. An d what will happen to the lunchtime pub trade if appetite suppressors come in to use and the lunch break becomes a thing of the past? Where will it all lead? Of course we cannot know, but if the ethical considerations seem mind-boggling to us now, in times to come we may consider mental and emotional management through aroma no more of an infringement on our personal rights then the introduction of new technologies  or working conditions such as fluorescent lighting and air-conditioning, which are known to have bad effects on those who are obliged to work in them.

It may simply be that job application forms will have an extra question  - 'Do you have any objection to perfume dynamics being operated in your workplace?' We may even see trade union 'aroma representatives'. But if lack of choice may become an issue in indirect perfuming of the future, we have a choice in the matter right now. Certainly there is no doubt that aromas effect one's performance at work, so why not take advantage of the reality in ways that will make your job more enjoyable and productive? You can choose the essential oils to use from the various sections of this chapter and use them in a plant-spray, room diffuser or atomising ring, or just on cotton-wool balls with a few drops added on a heat source. Desk lamps are useful for this as they are nearby so we get the full effect ourselves.

Indirect perfuming has particular advantages for both male and female workers. As it has been shown in psychological testing that men wearing a personal scent brings out rivalry in other men, it may be better to diffuse the atmosphere instead. They might get jealous of your working space - but that's harmless enough and takes the heat off you. Women's perfumes are usually advertised with sexual connotations, and wearing a scent  in the office can give the wrong impression to the males around. B ut a scented office gives the whole place a charming aura - and there's nothing wrong with charm.

Women working in a man's world could utilise the oils of basil or sandalwood which do not smell at all like feminine perfumes and which, respectively, give an intellectual boost and enhance the 'active principle'. But for everyone, whatever their working situation, the essential oils have much to offer in terms of indirect perfuming. So just experiment and find the right ones for you. Most of us have to spend about forty hours a week in the workplace so we might as well make the very best of it.

Reference: The Fragrant Pharmacy: Valerie A. Worwood

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