Each of our memories is linked to a smell: the smell of a place, of a loved one, of a moment in the year. Smell helps us to determine if we like someone or some place. According to scientists we tend to choose our soulmate based on their scent. But more than that, smell impacts our day-to-day mood.
In the series of articles “Awaken Your Senses to Huatulco”, we’ve explored how we are affected by the senses in Huatulco. Here we’ll see how the sense of smell helps us perceive the vibrant energy of this magically healthy place.
Smell and memories
Smell is not just about a nice fragrance or a bad odor. Smell is essential in our everyday life. We perceive food first by smell. Taste only adds the sensation of salt, sour, sweet, bitter and savory. We remember the smell of freshly baked cake or cookies from childhood. We remember the smell of a crackling fire in winter, or the smell of leaves in the fall. Smell is even used in therapy to put patients at ease, and work on their psychic state.
Smell and air quality
In our everyday life, up north we tend to miss out on the simple luxury of appreciating clean air. In Huatulco, air has a very particular quality, and it changes throughout the year. The quality of the air in Huatulco is determined not only by the salty air rolling in off the ocean but also by the air coming down from the mountains. In winter months, especially December, the air from the mountains tends to prevail and the smells are light and clear. In summer months the ocean air is dominant and heavier, and the smells are those of the ocean water and whatever currents are rushing in.
It’s important to add that air pollution in Huatulco is almost nonexistent so it is easy to distinguish the smells of nature.
Happiness is in the air
Breathing in the salty air is actually therapeutic. Science says so.
In line with air quality, the negative ions in the ocean air can help calm your brain. According to scientists, negative ions have been shown to have a pronounced anti-depressant effect. These oxygen atoms have an extra electron and occur in places like waterfalls and the ocean. Smells on the air influence our mood, and fresh air from the ocean is the best remedy when we’re feeling down.
These two elements combined make it the perfect place for asthmatics if they’re not overly sensitive to humidity. Because pollution is low, the symptoms of a person suffering from asthma tend to get better. The salt water from the ocean helps to get rid of toxins and other substances that attack your lungs and makes breathing easier. And living on the water, the wind from the ocean blows away allergens and pollen that cause irritation.
Viruses and the ocean
The wet environment near the ocean is perfect to protect your home from viruses, especially in winter. In dry environments, they tend to flourish. Then, to limit the flu or allergies, the level of humidity has to be controlled. Even if many say that humidity isn’t the best for your health, dryness is shown to be worse. Breathing dry air all day long can cause or aggravate respiratory problems. Plus, humidity can help ease symptoms of respiratory conditions or cold.
Mexico is known to be a colorful country, in the tropics partly due to the flowers and blossoming trees growing everywhere. These flowers emit sweet smells of freshness. Flowers and plants are recognized as a beneficial aid to the sick in hospitals, since the healing rate of sick people with a plant in their rooms is higher than those without one. In a country where there are so many green spaces, the scent of flowers enhances our daily life.
This scent of freshness also comes from the sun-drenched fruits, slowly ripened. The delicious smell of the passion fruit or delicious mangos, a ripe pineapple. They all give off a sweet smell heightening our senses.
Lastly, smells ground us. They invite us to come back to the moment and take a deep breath. That slowing down and coming back to the moment and giving our breath importance lowers our cortisol levels that go up with prolonged stress. When that stress goes down, the strength of our immune system goes up. That’s what Huatulco has to offer: constantly reminding us to live in the present.