What Is Sensehacking ?
Sensehacking is a phenomenon that is explored by Professor Charles Spence in his new book by the same name.
In a sentence, Sensehacking allows us to improve our emotional wellbeing (as well as our cognitive and social wellbeing) by stimulating our senses in different and specific ways. The professor is conducting research as to how we might develop our understanding of this phenomenon to create multisensory environments, interfaces, products and even food.
Why Is Sensehacking So Important ?
Just as an unbalanced diet can lead to poor health, an imbalance in our sensory stimulation can also cause us to experience a number of problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. Such problems can cause someone to struggle to get enough sleep, which actually increases your chance of dying from one of the leading causes of mortality.
In today’s world, this imbalance comes from too much visual and auditory stimulation through excessive screen time, ear phones etc, while on the other hand there is a lack of tactile and fragrant stimulation. All of which are our considered to be our more emotional senses. This isn’t a judgement on your personal choices, this is simply the world that we live in.
Life in Lockdown
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this sensory imbalance has only been exacerbated. For example, we have all heard very sad stories of care home residents being denied the most basic of pleasures of being embraced by their loved ones.
Even before Covid-19, over 90% of the lives of those living in urban environments were spent indoors, often leading to ‘light hunger’ and even Seasonal Affective Disorder. But, throughout lockdown our environmental stimulation has become even more monotonous. The lack of variety and the abundance of the mundane exposure to screens via Zoom and Netflix are not without consequence.
Fortunately, Sensehacking does bring a solution.
Sensehacking In Practise
The Power Of Touch
Skin makes up just under 20% of your total body mass – making it the largest sensory organ in (or on) the human body. Wherever hair is grown (e.g. excluding palms and soles), there are receptors called ‘C-Tactile Afferents’ that elicit a pleasure response. This response is best encouraged through slow and gentle stroking (e.g. a massage).
Infact, just like a massage, if the touch is warm (in regards to temperature, although emotionally helps as well), and if there is a pleasant fragrance in the air, the wellbeing benefits are further enhanced.
However, unlike massages, research into Sensehacking concludes that multisensory stimulation of our skin is a biological necessity, not a luxury.
The Smells & Experiences Of Nature
One of the key principals of Sensehacking is the benefit that being in and amongst nature can have on our wellbeing. It is paramount that the exposure to nature has an all encompassing impact on your sensory stimulation. For example, Sensehacking explores how ‘Anthropocene Noise’ (such as the noise of traffic) can dramatically reduce the benefits of being in nature.
Ideally, as well as looking and listening to nature, you should look for a tactile experience such as feeling the ground beneath your toes or perhaps gardening and growing your own herbs. In fact, growing your own herbs will expose you to the fifth and most important sensory stimulation that nature provides – smell.
Fortunately, the efficacy of nature’s stimulation through our sense of smell is not impacted by whether or not we are actually amongst nature. While it is best to experience the smells of different grasses and wild flowers, Sensehacking shows that air fresheners or scented candles reflecting the aroma of nature can be just as effective. For example, a lavender fragrance as part of aromatherapy can be framed in terms of ‘smelling nature’ – e.g. the olfactory effect.
Furthermore, the positive impact of natural fragrances within the home becomes more pronounced in times of stress and uncertainty – which as we discussed previously, are often caused by an imbalanced sensory diet in the first place.
Taking The First Steps
We would suggest that you might find our large bell reed diffuser to be effective in bringing the outdoors indoors.
Our natural product is perfect for your home and provides your living space with a continuous fragrance. This will allow you to take full advantage of the perks that Sensehacking has to offer.
We understand that you may prefer some fragrances over, so we invite you to have a look at our full range here to find a diffuser that suits your tastes.
If you are unsure as to which fragrance suits your style, many of our customers have found the perfume experience box to be very useful.