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Article: Scent Habituation: What it is and how it pertains to aromatherapy

Scent Habituation: What it is and how it pertains to aromatherapy

Scent Habituation: What it is and how it pertains to aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been practiced for centuries for its ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance well-being through the use of fragrant essential oils. However, there's a fascinating phenomenon that often goes unnoticed – scent habituation. This process can significantly impact the effectiveness of aromatherapy.

In this blog post, we'll explore what scent habituation is, how it occurs, why it can be a positive thing, but also the consequences of ignoring it, and how the Ascents Diffuser System addresses this issue to enhance the aromatherapeutic experience.

What is Scent Habituation?

Scent habituation is a natural psychological process that occurs when our sensory receptors adapt to a constant or repetitive stimulus, such as a specific scent. In simpler terms, it's the phenomenon where you become accustomed to a particular smell, making it less noticeable over time.

How Does Scent Habituation Occur?

Our olfactory system, responsible for detecting and processing smells, has a remarkable ability to adjust to consistent odors. When exposed to a scent continuously, the receptors in our nose become less sensitive to it. This desensitization is our body's way of conserving energy and avoiding sensory overload.

Positive Reasons for Scent Habituation

Scent habituation serves several useful purposes:

Preventing Over-Stimulation: Habituation helps prevent sensory overload. Without it, we would constantly be bombarded by scents, making it challenging to focus on other tasks or detect new odors.

Focusing on Novelty: By ignoring familiar scents, our olfactory system becomes more attuned to new or changed smells, allowing us to quickly detect potential threats or opportunities in our environment.

Energy Conservation: Habituation saves energy by reducing the resources required to process familiar scents continually.

Consequences of Scent Habituation

While scent habituation has its benefits, it can also pose problems in aromatherapy:

Reduced Effectiveness: Habituation diminishes the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy, as your body becomes less responsive to the essential oils' aromatherapeutic properties over time.

Wasted Oils: Continuous diffusion of essential oils when you've habituated to their scent can lead to unnecessary waste of expensive oils.

Doubt in Aromatherapy's Efficacy: When scent habituation occurs, people often mistakenly blame the lack of aromatherapeutic effect on aromatherapy in general, leading to a loss of faith in its potential benefits.

Preventing Scent Habituation in Aromatherapy

To counter the effects of scent habituation in aromatherapy, consider the following strategies:

Scent Rotation: Alternate between different essential oils to keep your olfactory system engaged. It has also been shown that intentionally smelling at least four distinct scents daily can help maintain your sense of smell, which fades as we age. It has been shown that a diminished sense of smell is a key factor in the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, which you can read more about here.

Intermittent Diffusion: Use an aromatherapy diffuser that offers intermittent diffusion settings, allowing you to enjoy the benefits without overwhelming your senses, like the Ascents Diffuser System.

Use Lower Concentrations: Dilute your essential oils or choose milder scents to reduce the likelihood of habituation.

The Ascents Diffuser System and Scent Habituation

The Ascents Diffuser System is designed with scent habituation in mind. It offers customizable settings and preset programs that automatically adjust diffusion patterns to enhance the aromatherapeutic experience. These settings prevent you from becoming desensitized to the scents, ensuring you continue to reap the benefits of aromatherapy without the risk of habituation.

Unlike traditional diffusers, the Ascents Diffuser System allows you not only to adjust the intensity of diffusion but also the time periods between diffusion intervals.

It also incorporates the proprietary Ascents Essential Oil Gels, which are hard, solid gel inserts that remove the risk of messes and spills. You can also easily swap out one gel for another so that you can rotate between scents.

Each gel is pre-dosed with a research-backed, evidence-based essential oil formula, guaranteed to be safe and effective, so there's no issue of counting out drops of oil to achieve the desired effects.


Scent habituation is a natural process that can both positively and negatively impact the effectiveness of aromatherapy. To maximize the benefits of essential oils, it's essential to understand this phenomenon and take steps to account for it.

The Ascents Diffuser System offers a solution that allows users to enjoy aromatherapy continuously without losing its efficacy. By managing scent habituation, you can continue to experience the soothing and rejuvenating effects of aromatherapy in your daily life.

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