Science of Scents

Let's start with how your brain responds to scents. First, scent particles you inhale bind to receptors in your nose, generating electric signals transmitted to your brain (via your olfactory nerve). Nobel-prize winning research (Axel and Buck, 2004) theorized that each scent particle could stimulate unique pathways inside the brain, potentially exciting different functional brain areas. In humans, some of the involved brain centers include the amygdala (an area for emotion) and the hippocampus (an area for memory). What is interesting is that you don’t need to actually realize you are smelling particles for the action to take place—research has shown that areas of brain are activated even in individuals born without the sense of smell.


Scent molecules enter the nose and bind to olfactory cell receptors that send signals to the brain.


Each signal is transmitted into different, specific areas of the brain, which may then be stimulated into action.


Research has shown specific scents stimulate actions that benefit work, play, and rest. We combined these ingredients into our proprietary personal formulas: WorkSense, PlaySense and RestSense.

Research Behind xSense


In scientific studies, natural ingredients in WorkSense demonstrated meaningful improvement in both learning new information (over 30% better compared to controls) and retaining new information for at least 4 weeks (improved by over 40%).

A separate independent study showed improved attention span for individuals who smelled these ingredients, compared to their normal levels.

A different university study in an office setting found that data entry speed improved by over 25% on average, organizing tasks improved by over 15%, and accuracy improved by over 5%, when using ingredients in WorkSense.


Research in a university-based study designed to gauge athletic performance demonstrated that the natural ingredients in PlaySense improved endurance (by over 5% compared to baseline) and speed (improving overall finishing times by over 2% vs. baseline!), which may be just the edge needed to win, improve gains and push through those plateaus.

Another independent research study conducted by an Ivy League University,reported a significant improvement in breathing as well as attentiveness while using the ingredients in PlaySense.


Research on natural ingredients in RestSense resulted in marked relaxation in subjects, measured using brainwave activity vs. control ingredients. A controlled research study conducted at a military hospital using the ingredients in RestSense demonstrated stress reduction of over 50%. In professional settings, such marked reduction in stress was reported after several days of sustained use, compared to control subjects.

The exact ways natural scents affect work, play and rest are not exactly understood, but research has allowed us to learn a lot. Here are some ways we believe these scents are creating these positive benefits:

How do scents help Work?

Connections between brain memory centers (like the hippocampus) and the olfactory nerve may well improve memory storage, in terms of both learning and remembering at a later time. Improved learning and memory can, in turn, make tasks more efficient and accurate to perform in the future. This hypothesis may explain why smelling some scents results in improved learning, retention of information, accuracy, and efficiency. 

How do scents help Play?

The brain’s “limbic system” is associated with emotional drive, and the “flight or flight response” which activates when faced with a predator. This response relies on both speed and endurance to evade a predator. Smelling these scents when we exercise may improve our endurance and speed via the connections within limbic system such as to the amygdala.

How do scents help Rest?

Alarm and anxiety are associated with the brain’s limbic system (with structures such as the amygdala and cingulum). Research has discovered that scents may act to counter this system and may actually calm it. These connections found between scent pathways and the limbic system could be how they reduce stress and improve relaxation.


The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004 was awarded jointly to Drs. Richard Axel and Linda Buck "for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.” Here are three concepts applicable to all our products (borrowed from their Nobel Prize-fitting presentation language):
(1) "Different odorants [scented substances] are detected by different combinations of 'receptors' on cells… these codes are translated by the brain into diverse odor perceptions."
(2) "An electrical signal is triggered in the olfactory [smell-related] receptor neuron [or nerve cell] and sent to the brain via nerve processes [or extensions]."
(3) "Receptor cells of the same type [of odorant] converge on the same 'glomerulus' [or common area within the brain]; from the glomerulus, signals are relayed to the higher regions of brain with maintained specificity [so the specific scent is conveyed]."

How did this award-winning work inspire xSense?
xSense solutions include different natural scent ingredients, each found through independent research to have effectiveness. For example, since each of these ingredients has molecules with “specificity” involving a different pathway, the combination of all the ingredients into one product give the potential for a combined effect when that product is used. Think of it as "scent-benefit multi-tasking."

Our Products

For each of our products, great care was taken to ensure that the key ingredients are as consistent with the studies as possible—while at the same time meeting or exceeding safety guidelines. We’ve combined scents from each of these studies to create natural, proprietary products. Independent researchers performed all of the studies discussed here. xSense has not paid for, influenced or contacted researchers or subjects in any way.

This is real science, made with natural ingredients, and we strongly support it with a 100% money-back guarantee.

> Olfactory input is critical for sustaining odor quality codes in human orbitofrontal cortex. Wu KN, Tan BK, Howard JD, Conley DB, Gottfried JA. Nat Neurosci. 2012 Sep;15(9):1313-9.
> Blind smell: brain activation induced by an undetected air-borne chemical. Sobel N, Prabhakaran V, Hartley CA, Desmond JE, Glover GH, Sullivan EV, Gabrieli JD. Brain. 1999 Feb;122 ( Pt 2):209-17.
> Remembrance of odors past: human olfactory cortex in cross-modal recognition memory. Gottfried JA, Smith AP, Rugg MD, Dolan RJ. Neuron. 2004 May 27;42(4):687-95.
> Learning about the functions of the olfactory system from people without a sense of smell. Croy I, Negoias S, Novakova L, Landis BN, Hummel T. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33365. 
> Functional neurology of a brain system: a 3D olfactory bulb model to process natural odorants. Migliore M, Cavarretta F, Hines ML, Shepherd GM. Funct Neurol. 2013 Jul-Sep;28(3):241-3.
> Human Amygdala Represents the Complete Spectrum of Subjective Valence. Jin J, Zelano C, Gottfried JA, Mohanty A. J Neurosci. 2015 Nov 11;35(45):15145-56.
> Human amygdala activations during nasal chemoreception. Patin A, Pause BM. Neuropsychologia. 2015 Nov;78:171-94.