An Introduction to the Five Senses
Want to know how you can harness the five senses to improve your overall wellbeing? Well, here at Sensory Retreats, we’ve got you covered! In today’s blog post, we’re exploring what the five senses are and how they’re connected.
As human beings, we enjoy five basic senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The sensing organ associated with each sends signals to our brain to help us make better sense of the world we live in. Our eyes, our ears, our nose, mouth and hands all have a part to play in helping us to understand, perceive, experience and better connect to our environment.
Let’s take a closer look at how they work.
Perceiving things with our eyes is a complex process. Light reflects off objects onto the eye, acting almost like the lens of a camera. The iris works as a shutter, to retract and expand, letting more or less light (visuals) in. The lens of the eye bends that light and focuses it on the retina, which is full of nerve cells. Those cells are shaped like rods and cones. The cones translate light into colours and details, while the rods translate light into peripheral vision and motion.
It’s often the case that people without sight experience enhanced hearing, touch, taste and smell. Even in cases of profound blindness, the brain can rewire information to enable interaction with your environment.
Hearing is another incredibly complex process. The human ear is a complicated labyrinth of tunnels and canals that transmit sound waves and vibrations. Tiny hairs cells inside an organ called the Corti, translate vibrations into electrical impulses which travel to the brain via sensory nerves.
Hearing is directly linked to our sense of balance and helps maintain and regulate equilibrium, as well as carrying sound signals to the brain.
Did you know that humans can smell over 1 trillion different scents? We use something called the olfactory cleft, which is located on the roof of the nasal cavity. It was originally believed that humans could only differentiate between 10,000 smells, but new research has thrown that theory out of the water. The sense of smell in humans is now thought to be as advanced as that of dogs and other mammals. Old age has a significant effect on olfactory impairment.
When it comes to taste, there are five different sensations; salty, sweet, sour, bitter and also something known as umami. There may be even more flavours that as yet are undiscovered. It’s also interesting to note that spicy isn’t a function of taste but rather a signal of pain.
Taste is experienced in the taste buds of which adults have in the region of 2000 to 4000. Most are located on the tongue, but they also line the back of the throat, as well as the epiglottis, naval capacity and the oesophagus. All fives tastes can be experienced anywhere on the tongue although the sides are much more sensitive than the middle.
The smell of food also dramatically affects how the brain perceives taste too. That’s why, when we’re suffering from a cold or have a blocked nose, we experience difficulty experiencing and enjoying the taste of food thoroughly. Texture, related to our sense of touch, also has a part to play in how we experience the power of taste.
It’s thought that touch is the very first sense we develop as humans. Touch is experienced in several ways. As temperature, pressure, vibration, pain and light touch, all of which are communicated to the brain through specialised neurons in the skin. The sense of taste has aided human evolution, protecting the species from eating something that might be rotten or poisonous.
But touch is more than something we use to interact with the world; it’s also crucially important to our overall wellbeing and is the primary way in which we convey compassion and empathy with each other.
Touch is powerful. It can influence us to make decisions and can change our perception and orientation, instantly enhancing our mood.
Space; the Final Sense?
We’ve talked about the five senses and how they’re interconnected, but there is one final sense that deals with how the brain understands where your body is physically at. We call that sense proprioception. It involves the sense of movement and positioning, and it’s what enables us to find and touch the end of our nose, even with our eyes closed.
An Immersive Sensory Retreat Experience
Understanding that our senses work collaboratively to help us retain physical, emotional and spiritual balance is the reason why we developed our Sensory Retreats experiences. Each one provides a unique opportunity to be transported to a place of deep relaxation, reawakening, renewing and rebalancing the senses.
If you’re feeling out of balance, then we invite you to Surrender Your Senses and experience the indulging and enlightening world of Sensory Retreats.
- Surrender the sense of sight and heighten the intensity of your remaining senses.
- Surrender the sense of sound and bring the body back in harmony with nature.
- Surrender the sense of smell and reawaken the senses.
- Surrender the sense of taste and naturally stimulate the body.
- Surrender the sense of touch and feel deeply connected to your environment.
Discover for yourself a deeper appreciation of all five senses.