Peter started smell training a few months after losing his sense of smell following a Covid infection. While his sense of smell has 'reassuringly returned', he continues daily smell training after committing to the 'long-haul'.
I began smell training at the beginning of March 2022. I’d already 'Googled' it shortly after recovering from Covid-19 in December 2021 when I first realised I’d lost my sense of smell. I’d hoped it would simply reappear but, come March, nothing had changed and it was then I thought, "right let’s do something about this" and returned to AbScent to learn as much as I could. AbScent's videos were very helpful and Chrissi Kelly’s (the founder) manner was wonderfully supportive.
Have an open mind and follow the plan. I included smell training as part of my morning ritual, like brushing my teeth or having breakfast. I also signed up for the long haul in my mind - after all, there was nothing to lose. I made up my own smell training kit which, looking back, was a sign of commitment.
The bottles live in a special box and are always to hand in my room. I also found keeping a diary very helpful, no matter how often or not I wrote in it. It gives a feeling of purpose and, for me, became an exploration of exactly what smell is and the subtleties therein. The programme can be quite a voyage of discovery if you let it
I still have the original kit which every so often I clean out and add fresh oils to. I also let friends smell them and compare their experiences with mine. With one particular friend who is obsessed with cleaning we smelt different laundry products which, besides being fun, continued my own education.
At one point after Covid, I was pretty resigned to never being able to smell again and not in a good way. My advice would be to let any tension around such things just be and go into olfactory training with curiosity. The action itself of smelling a jar of essential oils is best done with curiosity, to which I’d also add stillness and presence. You’ll find yourself, if only briefly, in an open frame of mind and it's there your sense of smell can reset.
Almost a year since losing my sense of smell I can say it’s reassuringly back. Darker unpleasant smells such as drains were the first to be noticed, other lighter smells becoming apparent over the months. One night a crowd of girls walked past me and I smelt their perfume without any conscious effort at all. It just happened. It was as if I’d arrived and the consistent effort I’d put in had paid off. I felt this burst of excitement.
All this said, I wouldn't say progress was linear - I believe that for each person undertaking smell therapy, they will be on their own unique road with its own timetable. It was a fine day though when coffee tasted like coffee again.
I sense something of lighter fragrances still evade me, the sea for example. I liken it to having an injury. You recover but you and your body remember how things were before, inviting comparison. There is much to be gained though in welcoming smells, or the apparent lack of, as they are in that moment - and without judgement. The mind would hurry you along, resigning you to never smelling anything again. Taking a moment to connect and become aware, what you encounter may surprise you - and delightfully so.
If you would like to find out more about the technique of smell training, follow our Instagram page, where Chrissi is smell training daily during November 2022.
You can also read more about smell training here.
Our Original Smell Training Kit is the ideal starter kit for smell training which includes the four specially blended long-lasting aromas inspired by the fragrances based on Prof Thomas Hummel's 2009 research into smell training.