Smells like relief. (Indications).
Pleasant odors reduce pain perception, but only in women.
University of Quebec researchers had 20 men and 20 women immerse their
hands in painfully hot water for 3 minutes while savoring 1 of 10 odors:
massage oil, orange water, aftershave, distilled water, baby oil,
vanilla extract, almond extract, white vinegar, a hair perm product, and
a dental product (Physiol. Behav. 76:251-56, 2002). Higher ratings of
odor pleasantness correlated with reduced pain perception among the
women. Women are known to be more sensitive to odors than men, but in
this study the two sexes gave the odors similar intensity ratings. The
brain's orbitofrontal cortex, a region involved in smell and taste,
may play a role by altering the sense of touch. In clinical settings,
unpleasant disinfectant smells might promote pain perception in certain
patients, the researchers suggested. Or, as the old saying goes, you
could aim for the sweet smell of success.