By Dr. J.K. Bhutani
Smell is a big business and body odor is the new race. Smell is a growing business the world over, and more so if it is laced and marketed with aphrodisiac capabilities or pheromones like social signalling properties for attracting and mating, in surrogate advertisements. Popular deodorant brand advertisements have successfully portrayed various ways in which such products supposedly helped men attract women. The fragrance and the deodorant you wear, perhaps named after a celebrity or a star, may make you feel sexy, attractive and irresistible, but chances are that the label isn’t telling you everything that’s in it.
All species are designed in a way that supports easy survival and propagation. The oldest sensation that the olfaction sense is, not only senses smells and aroma, but is closely linked with the survival and propagation instincts of the organisms. The glory and bounty of nature wouldn’t have been the same without the fragrant, beauteous hues of color and aroma of the multitude of flowers, insects, animals, and the homo sapiens. The springs of mirth, joy, and happiness of this variety of nature’s species are bestowed with all this beauty and the fragrance for the instinctive survival and propagation basically. The attraction, the call, the mating and the act of procreation is all self-sustained and the beauty, fragrance, the scent and the aroma is all incidental and natural gift for the same. The natural fragrance of the clean and healthy organism is all which works perfectly.
We humans too have been blessed with a unique aroma of clean eccrine glands of the body and apocrine glands of armpits, nipples, and the groin regions of the body. The pubertal increase in the apocrine glands is probably intended to attract or be a signalling for the mating process. This all is but natural bliss if it is from a clean healthy body. The unpleasant odor, if any, is not of the clean, healthy body but of the grime on it, the dirt we put in, and the anger or hatred within. The cleansing of soma and mind does try to make us the perfect creation of God. It can be said that cleanliness and good health are the best aphrodisiacs in nature.
Why This Obsession Then?
Why this obsession for the deodorants and the fragrance of perfumes knowing well that the common ingredients off the label and on the label may not be all safe for us all?
Nearly 95% of chemicals used in deodorants and perfumes are synthetic compounds like benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxins and sensitizers, capable of causing cancer, nervous system disorders, and allergic reactions. (Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace, Report by the Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Sept. 16, 1986.)(Report 99-827)
A work place, shopping mall, or a room containing an air freshener or perfumed personnel may have high levels of p-dichlorobenzene, a carcinogen, in it.
More than 30 million Americans suffer from sinusitis (inflammation or infection of sinus passages). And many have asthma and other respiratory problems with increasing deaths in the past 10 years, because of perfume-related odors. Headaches cost billions in lost productivity and medical expenses too. The figures in India may be more as seen in the exponential growth of the use of deodorants and perfumes. More than 80 percent of men and women use deodorants. Many of them start in schools, and things are no different in rural and urban areas. According to industry estimates, the size of the total domestic luxury perfume market is around Rs. 600-700 crore and is growing at a rate of 20-25 percent very year.
The market and business shall earn first by suppressing the natural healthy instinctive aroma and the fragrance of clean healthy body and then rob you from the gifted illness from that.
The suppression of odor, if a must in peculiar situations, can be easily done with natural herbs, condiments, flowers, plants, and the frequent change of indoor air. The bounties and blessings of nature are unending, be it the fragrant rain-soaked earth, the lavishly perfumed jasmine flower of a hot sultry night, or an exquisite rose scent of spring.
And so is the fragrance of the clean, healthy body of a youth!
Dr J.K. Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self-healing powers of human organism.
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