Gone are the days of mom’s old aromatherapy practices. Oils and sprays were nice, but what if the trusty candle did the trick in a new way?
In the latest breakthrough, Neuroscents – scents created to elicit emotional responses that are neurologically backed – are carving a new lane with Caftari. Caftari uses science backed formulas to elevate one’s well being, with a mission to help individuals lead happier and healthier lives through the use of fragrance. Caftari’s science-backed formulas are carefully crafted to support joyfulness and rejuvenation through Neuroscents, not just making spaces smell good, but leaving you feeling good, too!
This past November, Caftari entered the home + fragrance market with the launch of two mindfully scented candles – Elixir and Dolce. Caftari is elevating fragrance through science & wellness – by creating daily moments of mindfulness with scents designed to modulate brain waves and in moments of bliss, relief, and deep relaxation through science-backed formulations. Caftari candles are curated in a luxury ceramic vessel, and etched with the pattern of the specific brainwave that the candle hones in on.
Caftari’s leading candles are broken down below:
Dolce Far Niente: For a Glimmer of Bliss – Experience the Italian adage at home.
With its romantic and warm floral profile, this blend incorporates rose oil to encourage the release of serotonin, which promotes happiness and is present when we are daydreaming or practicing mindfulness.
Elixir:For a Bright Awakening – Reawaken your mind and body any time of day.
With its citrusy profile & purposeful aroma to light and encourage a sense of revival, this blend features bergamot essential oil, which promotes the release of endorphins, a neurotransmitter also known as the feel-good chemical.
Caftari’s Founder, Shreya Aggarwal, was born in India and immigrated to the US as a child, with her earliest memories linked to fragrance notes like her mom’s rose-scented hair oil & dad’s perfumed talc powder. Aggarwal always thought she’d major in Neuroscience, but eventually pivoted to pursue her passion for fragrance as a buyer in the industry. Throughout her career, Shreya noticed a lack of results driven, neuroscience-backed fragrance products created to address overall mental health and wellbeing. After suffering from her own anxiety and trying numerous different methods to tackle it, Aggarwal paralleled her love of fragrance and passion for neuroscience to create solutions with Caftari for her own needs and the similar needs of others.
To help breakdown how neuroscents work and enforce Caftari’s message and goal, they partnered with PhD and MIT Professor, Dr. Tara Swart, who answered a few of our questions. If you’re looking for insight into how neurotransmitters work on our brains, and more, keep reading!
Q&A With Dr. Tara Swart
Hi Dr. Swart! Caftari is not just your typical candle company, but something deeper. Can you explain how scent can modulate brain waves and impact mental wellbeing?
Dr. Swart: Caftari candles contain essential oils of sufficient potency, and proven by science to have beneficial effects on our mental state. These are known as neuroscents because they travel via the olfactory nerve to the memory and emotion centres of the brain evoking moods that correlate with the release of certain neurotransmitters and the relevant brain wave states.
What specific scientific principles support the idea of fragrances like rose oil and bergamot essential oil influencing neurotransmitter release?
Dr. Swart: Rose essential oil heightens the release of serotonin—a neurotransmitter renowned for its happiness inducing effects. Serotonin, the architect of alpha brainwaves, is released during moments of daydreaming or mindfulness, creating an ambiance of tranquility and joy. The Dolce Far Niente candle contains rose oil as a major ingredient. The Elixir candle’s fragrance blend includes bergamot and helps uplift mood. Bergamot essential oil stimulates the release of endorphins—the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Endorphins correlate with gamma brainwaves, and accompany heightened states of awareness.
How do different neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and endorphins, interact with brain waves, and how might this interaction be influenced by fragrance?
Dr. Swart: The release of various neurotransmitters leads to the brain producing the associated brain wave patterns. Molecules of the scents interact with the olfactory nerve through the nose and lead to neurotransmitter release into synapses in the memory and emotion centres of the brain which are deep in the brain behind the bridge of the nose and where the olfactory nerve travels to.
Do individual differences, such as genetics or personal scent preferences affect the response to neuroscented products, or does nearly everyone have the same brain-chemistry response?
Dr. Swart: The actual chemical response is broadly the same (particularly with natural and floral scents), unless there are particular memories that trigger a stress response, but the emotional response or memory induced will vary from individual to individual.
Can neuroscented products like these candles be used as complementary therapies alongside traditional treatments for anxiety or mood disorders?
Dr. Swart: They can be used as an additional element to creating a pleasant and calming environment but this cannot be compared to the efficacy of psychological therapy for actual mental health disorders. However, olfactory enrichment (being exposed to a variety of smells throughout the day) can help with cognition as we age.
In what ways might the field of neuroscience further contribute to the development of fragrance products aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing?
Dr. Swart: Further research into neuroaesthetics (the health, mental health and longevity benefits of beholding and creating beauty), the benefits of nature on well-being, and olfactory enrichment on neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to grow and change throughout life) are key areas.