Sense of Smell Information Page
This page is dedicated to information pertaining to our Sense of Smell Training Kit.
Here you will find any kit updates, Frequently Asked Questions and Research Articles pertaining to olfaction, smell training and COVID-19.
Q: Why did Danielle develop this kit?
Danielle Fleming, M.A., M.Ed., is our Founder & CEO. She has dedicated her career to studying the psychological effects that aromas can have on our moods and behaviors while applying this knowledge to the perfumery and consumer goods industry. When people lost some or all of their sense of smell after a COVID infection, they flocked to her for help. An entrepreneur by day, a researcher by night, she studied the literature, read the research, and developed The Sense of Smell Training Kit™ to help those that need it.
Q: Is this based on research?
Yes! In particular, the kit was developed based on the research of Professor Thomas Hummel of the Smell and Taste Clinic at the University of Dresen in Germany. In his 2009 study, he investigated whether repeated short-term exposure to odors over a twelve-week period would have any effect on the olfactory ability of a group of anosmia sufferers. He concluded that compared to baseline, training patients experienced an increase in their olfactory function. In contrast, olfactory function was unchanged in patients who did not perform olfactory training. These results indicate that structured, short‐term exposure to selected odors may increase olfactory sensitivity.
Q: Do I need to do anything to the smelling jars when I receive them?
No. The aromatic disc in your jars are infused with natural fragrant and essential oils. You do not need to do anything to them, they are ready for use when you receive the kit.
Q: If I do Scent Therapy more than twice a day, will that make it work faster or will I get better results?
No and this is not recommended. We highly recommend you follow the protocol as outlined in this manual.
Q: Does the time of day that I do the scent therapy matter?
It does not matter, just as long as you do it twice a day. We do recommend that you make it a daily routine, once in the morning and once in the evening. For example, commit to doing it after you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. This will help to form a mental habit and will make it just a part of your daily routine.
Q: How long will it take me to do this every day?
It should only take about 5 minutes or less a day, 2x per day.
Q: How long is my kit good for?
Your kit is good for 4 months. If you would like to continue your scent therapy beyond the 4 months, you may purchase scented discs for your jars HERE.
Q: I need more Sense of Smell Tracking Sheets, where do I get them?
You can print them by clicking HERE.
Q: Why do we read the Scent Cards while we are sniffing?
Sniffing while reading the scent mantras helps to build that brain-to-nose connection, this is called odor-associative learning. Associative learning, the process by which one event or item comes to be linked to another through experience, is critically involved in human cognition and behavior It has been proposed that associative learning principles can explain human perceptual and cognitive– behavioral responses to odors (Engen, 1991; Herz, 2001). Specifically, it is hypothesized that how we like and perceive an odor is a result of a learned association between an odor and how we connect to it emotionally when we first encounter it (Herz, 2005).
Q: Is scent therapy like physical therapy?
Yes! It’s a great analogy. Let’s say you injured your leg and couldn’t walk properly. You would go to physical therapy to learn how to walk again. It’s the same concept for scent therapy. Your sense of smell kit is your therapist, helping you to learn how to smell again.
Q: I’ve noticed that my sense of taste is either gone or distorted, is that normal?
Yes. When you’ve lost all or some of your sense of smell, it is completely normal for your sense of taste to go with it. While they are 2 separate senses, they both come together to so we can experience flavor. Taste refers to the 5 taste groups: sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umani. Flavor is what we commonly call "taste” which is actually a combination of smell, taste, spiciness, temperature and texture. Much of the flavor of food actually comes from how it smells, so that when you are unable to smell you have lost much of your ability to experience flavor. While researchers have not been able to quantify precisely how strongly they are connected, it is safe to say that olfaction plays a “dominant” role in the tasting of food.
Q: I have heard the term anosmia, parosmia and phantosmia being used. Can you explain them?
- Anosmia is the complete loss of your sense of smell.
- Hyposmia is partial loss of your sense of smell.
- Hyperosmia is the over sensitivity of smell. Pregnant women commonly become oversensitive to smell.
- Parosmia is when smells smell different (generally worse) than usual.
- Phantosmia is when you smell something that isn’t there.
Q: Is there anything else I can do to help regain my sense of smell?
Our sense of smell is something we don’t pay much attention to until we lose it but when you think about it, you use it with every inhale you take. As you retrain your brain to smell again, I encourage you to be a “conscious sniffer”, where you are conscious about what you smell as you go through your day. Be mindful of the outside air as you take a walk. Do this on a Sunday morning in your neighborhood and you may come across the smell of dryer sheets, sizzling bacon or pancakes. Think about where you used to smell smells, like at restaurants, your family home, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas cookies. Connect to it and keep smelling even if you can’t smell it quite yet.
Q: Where can I find more information of sense of smell loss?
Great question! There are 2 not-for-profit organizations that are doing excellent work in the study, research and treatment of smell loss disorders. We highly encourage you to check both of them out for the latest research, training and support: Abscent.org and Monell.org and well as the AbScent Facebook Support Group for Anosmia.
Smell Training & Olfaction
Altundag A, Cayonu M, Kayabasoglu G, Salihoglu M, Tekeli H, Saglam O, Hummel T. Modified olfactory training in patients with post-infectious olfactory loss Laryngoscope. 2015 Aug;125(8):1763-6. doi: 10.1002/lary.25245. Epub 2015 Jun 2.
Damm M, Pikart LK, Reimann H, Burkert S, Göktas Ö, Haxel B, Frey S, Charalampakis I, Beule A, Renner B, Hummel T, Hüttenbrink KB. - Olfactory training is helpful in postinfectious olfactory loss: a randomized, controlled, multicenter study. Laryngoscope. 2013 Dec;123(12):E85-90. doi: 10.1002/lary.24390. Epub 2013 Oct 4. PMID: 24114690
Geißler K1, Reimann H, Gudziol H, Bitter T, Guntinas-Lichius O. Olfactory training for patients with olfactory loss after upper respiratory tract infections. Eur. Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Jun; (6):1557-62
Herz R, Ah, sweet skunk: why we like or dislike what we smell. Cerebrum, 2001; 3, 31–47.
Herz R, Beland S, Hellerstein M, Changing Odor Hedonic Perception Through Emotional Associations in Humans. Int. J. Comp. Psychol., 2004 (17) (in press).
Herz R, Schankler, C. and Beland, S. (2004) . Motiv. Emotion,29 (in press).
Herz R, Odor-associative Learning and Emotion: Effects on Perception and Behavior. Chemical Senses. January 2005; 30(1): i250-1251.Huang T, Wei Y, Wu D - Effects of olfactory training on posttraumatic olfactory dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33486898/
Hummel T, Rissom K, Reden J, Hähner A, Weidenbecher M, Hüttenbrink KB. Effects of olfactory training in patients with olfactory loss. Int J Otolaryngol. 2012;2012:327206. doi: 10.1155/2012/327206. Epub 2012 May 20. PMID: 22685462
Hummel T, Rissom K, Reden J, Hähner A, Weidenbecher M, Hüttenbrink K-B. Effects of olfactory training in patients with olfactory loss. Laryngoscope, 2009; 119:496–499
Konstantinidis I, Tsakiropoulou E, Constantinidis J Long term effects of olfactory training in patients with post-infectious olfactory loss Rhinology. 2016 Jun;54(2):170-5. doi: 10.4193/Rhin15.264
Kollndorfer K, Fischmeister FP, Kowalczyk K, Hoche E, Mueller CA, Trattnig S, Schöpf V Olfactory training induces changes in regional functional connectivity in patients with long-term smell loss Neuroimage Clin. 2015 Sep 15;9:401-10. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.09.004. eCollection 2015
Konstantinidis I, Tsakiropoulou E, Bekiaridou P, Kazantzidou C, Constantinidis J. Use of olfactory training in post-traumatic and postinfectious olfactory dysfunction. Laryngoscope. 2013 Dec; 123(12): E85-90. doi: 10.1002/lary.24390. Epub 2013 Oct 4.
Mydlikowska-Śmigórska A, Śmigórski K, D Szcześniak, Rymaszewska J. Can olfactory training support improvement of memory functioning in patients with cognitive disorders? http://www.psychiatriapolska.pl/uploads/onlinefirst/ENGverMydlikowskaSmigorska_PsychiatrPolOnlineFirstNr184.pdf
Liu DT, Pellegrino R, Sabha M, Aytug A, Damm M, Poletti SC, Croy I, Hohner A, Oleszkiewicz A, Mandy C, Hummel T. Factors associated with relevant olfactory recovery after olfactory training: a retrospective study including 601 participants. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33544097/
Langdon C, Lehrer E, Berenguer J, Laxe S, Alobid I, Quintó L, Mariño-Sánchez F, Bernabeu M, Marin C, Mullol J Olfactory Training in Post-Traumatic Smell Impairment: Mild Improvement in Threshold Performances: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial J Neurotrauma. 2018 Nov 15;35(22):2641-2652. doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5230. Epub 2018 Jul 23
Mori E, Merkonidis C, Cuevas M, Gudziol V, Matsuwaki Y, Hummel T. The administration of nasal drops in the "Kaiteki" position allows for delivery of the drug to the olfactory cleft: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Apr;273(4):939-43. doi: 10.1007/s00405-015-3701-y. Epub 2015 Jul 4.
Mori E, Petters W, Schriever VA, Valder C, Hummel T. Exposure to odours improves olfactory function in healthy children Rhinology. 2015 Sep;53(3):221-6. doi: 10.4193/Rhin14.192.
Negoias S, Pietsch K, Hummel T Changes in olfactory bulb volume following lateralized olfactory training Brain Imaging Behav. 2017 Aug;11(4):998-1005. doi: 10.1007/s11682-016-9567-9
Oleszkiewicz A, Hanf S, Whitcroft KL, Haehner A, Hummel T Examination of olfactory training effectiveness in relation to its complexity and the cause of olfactory loss Laryngoscope. 2018 Jul;128(7):1518-1522. doi: 10.1002/lary.26985. Epub 2017 Nov 8
Patel ZM The evidence for olfactory training in treating patients with olfactory loss. Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: February 2017 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 43–46
Pellegrino R, Han P, Reither N, Hummel T Effectiveness of olfactory training on different severities of posttraumatic loss of smell. Laryngoscope. 2019 Mar 8. Aug;129(8):1737-1743. doi: 10.1002/lary.27832. Epub 2019 Mar 8.
Poletti SC, Michel E, Hummel T Olfactory Training Using Heavy and Light Weight Molecule Odors Perception. 2017 Mar-Apr;46(3-4):343-351. doi: 10.1177/0301006616672881. Epub 2016 Oct 5
Pekala K, Chandra RK, Turner JH. Efficacy of olfactory training in patients with olfactory loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015; 00:1–7.
Sorokowska A, Drechsler E, Karwowski M, Hummel T Effects of olfactory training: a meta-analysis. Rhinology, 55, March 2017 17-26. doi: 10.4193/Rhin16.195.
COVID-19 & Olfaction
Bagheri S, Asghari A, Farhadi M, Shamshiri A, Kabir A, Kamrava S, Jalessi M, Mohebbi A, Alizadeh R, Honarmand A, Ghalehbaghi B, Salimi A, Coincidence of COVID-19 epidemic and olfactory dysfunction outbreak, MedRxiv Preprint March 23, 2020
Eliezer M MD; Hautefort C MD; Hamel A MD; Verillaud B MD; Herman P MD, PhD; Houdart E MD, PhD; Eloit C MD Sudden and Complete Olfactory Loss Function as a Possible Symptom of COVID-19, JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online April 8, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0832
Gane S, Kelly C, Hopkins C Isolated sudden onset anosmia in COVID-19 infection. A novel syndrome? Rhinology, March 29, 2020
Galougahi M K, MD, Ghorbani J, MD, Bakhshayeshkaram M, MD, Naeini A S, MD, Haseli, S, Olfactory Bulb Magnetic Resonance Imaging in SARS-CoV-2-Induced Anosmia: The First Report, Journal of Academic Radiology, April 13, 2020
Hopkins C, Alanin M, Philpott C, Harries P, Whitcroft K, Qureishi A, Anari S, Ramakrishnan Y, Sama A, Davies E, Stew B, Gane S, Carrie S, Hathorn I, Bhalla R, Kelly C, Hill N, Boak D, Kumar B N, Management of new onset loss of sense of smell during the COVID‐19 pandemic ‐ BRS Consensus Guidelines, Clinical Otaolaryngology, August 27, 2020
Lechien J, Chiesa-Estomba C, Saussez S, Olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions as a clinical presentation of mild-to-moderate forms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19): a multicenter European study, Rhinology, April 6, 2020
Mao L , Jin H, Wang M, Hu Y, Chen S, He Q, Chang J, Hong C, Zhou Y, Wang D, Miao X, Li Y, MD PhD, Hu B, MD PhD, Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China, JAMA Neurology, April 10, 2020
Yan C, MD, Faraji F, MD PhD, Prajapati D, BS, DeConde A, MD, Boone C, MD PhD, Association of chemosensory dysfunction and Covid‐19 in patients presenting with influenza‐like symptoms, Allergy and Rhinology, April 12, 2020
Olfactory Function and Well-being
Boesveldt, S. Yee, J. McClintock,M, Lundström,J Olfactory function and the social lives of older adults: a matter of sex Scientific Reports, volume 7, Article number: 45118 (2017)
Bonfils P, Avan P, Faulcon P, Malinvaud D. - Distorted odorant perception: analysis of a series of 56 patients with parosmia. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131(2):107-112. doi:10.1001/archotol.131.2.107
Chung JH, Lee YJ, Kang TW, Kim KR, Jang DP, Kim IY, Cho SH. Altered Quality of Life and Psychological Health (SCL-90-R) in Patients With Chronic Rhinosinusitis With Nasal Polyps. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2015 Mar 5. pii: 0003489415576181. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25743178
Croy I, Nordin S, Hummel T. Olfactory disorders and quality of life--an updated review. Chemical Senses, Volume 39, Issue 3, 1 March 2014
Croy I, Hoffmann H, Philpott C, Rombaux P, Welge-Luessen A, Vodicka J, Konstantinidis I, Morera E, Hummel T. - Retronasal testing of olfactory function: an investigation and comparison in seven countries. Meat Sci. 2013 Aug;94(4):425-31. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Mar 28. PMID: 23611883
Goncalves S, Goldstein JB - Pathophysiology of Olfactory Disorders and Potential Treatment Strategies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4982703/pdf/nihms775179.pdf
Hummel T, Stupka G, Haehner A, Poletti SC Olfactory training changes electrophysiological responses at the level of the olfactory epithelium Rhinology. 2018 Dec 1;56(4):330-335. doi: 10.4193/Rhin17.163
Kollndorfer, A. Jakaba, C.A. Muellerc, S. Trattnigd, V. Schöpfa, e, f, - Effects of chronic peripheral olfactory loss on functional brain networks Neuroscience, 28 September 2015
Kollndorfer K, Kowalczyk K, Hoche E, Mueller CA, Pollak M, Trattnig S, Schöpf V. Recovery of olfactory function induces neuroplasticity effects in patients with smell loss. Neural Plasticity,Volume 2014, Article ID 140419
Mahmut MK, Uecker FC, Göktas O, Georgsdorf W, Oleszkiewicz A, Hummel T Changes in olfactory function after immersive exposure to odorants Journal of Sensory Studies, 8 January 2020, https://doi.org/10.1111/joss.12559
Patterson A, Hähner A, Kitzler HH, Hummel T. Are small olfactory bulbs a risk for olfactory loss following an upper respiratory tract infection? Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2015) 272: 3593
Philpott CM, Boak D. - The impact of olfactory disorders in the United Kingdom. Chem Senses. 2014 Oct;39(8):711-8. doi:10.1093/chemse/bju043. Epub 2014 Sep 8. PMID: 25201900.
Sánchez-Vallecillo MV, Fraire ME, Baena-Cagnani C, Zernotti ME. - Olfactory dysfunction in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Int J Otolaryngol. 2012;2012:327206. doi: 10.1155/2012/327206. Epub 2012 May 20. PMID: 22685462
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