"Natural claustrophobia self treatment to provide relief from stress and anxiety. Aids in claustrophobic episodes (elevators, MRIs, commuting, airline travel, trains, crowds and other situations which cause a feeling of being closed in) providing a discrete natural remedy to overcome feelings of fear and anxiety."

How do we smell (part 1 of 2)

Posted: March 29th, 2011 | Author: Shawn_Bee | Filed under: Claustrophobia | Tags: , , | No Comments »

This is not to suggest that we need to find new deodorant or aftershave… but I want to share some science with you regarding how we scientifically smell and process odor signals.

We consider smell to be a very direct sense. Molecules which trigger the sense of smell must reach your nose. Touch on the other hand can occur at your hand or the back of your leg. As molecules trigger receptors in the nose which signals the brain to process and differentiate smell. Therefore, everything you smell gives off molecules–whether it is Cinnabons®, vinegar, perfume or garbage. Those molecules are described as light and “volatile” (easy to evaporate) chemicals that float through the air and into your nose. For instance, bread emits a smell as it can easily change structure, becoming harder with toasting, softer with moisture, etc. It is considered composed of “volatile” molecules. On the other hand, a steel rod has no smell because nothing evaporates from it — steel is a non-volatile solid.

Now, let’s describe the anatomy of smell sensation. According to Discovery Health, at the top of your nasal passages behind your nose, there is a patch of special neurons about the size of a postage stamp. These neurons are unique in that they are out in the open where they can come into contact with the air. They have hair-like projections called cilia that increase their surface area. An odor molecule binds to these cilia to trigger the neuron and cause you to perceive a smell.

From Molecular Biology of the Cell:

Humans can distinguish more than 10,000 different smells (odorants), which are detected by specialized olfactory receptor neurons lining the nose…. It is thought that there are hundreds of different olfactory receptors, each encoded by a different gene and each recognizing different odorants.

Each of the hundreds of receptors are encoded by a specific gene. If your DNA is missing a gene, or if the gene is damaged, it can cause you to be unable to detect a certain smell.

When you smell many fruits or flowers, what you smell are esters evaporating from the fruit or flower. Esters are organic molecules. For example, the ester that gives a banana its smell is called isoamyl acetate, and the formula for it is CH3COOC5H11. We can now make artificial esters, which is how artificial flavors evolved.

Although calmspace™ is all natural, it seemingly is the esters associated with vanilla and lavender which we smell. We still need to understand how smell associates with behavior. I will look into it and report back soon.

Until next time…
Dr. B.

Emotions: Fear, Frustration and Loneliness

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Author: Dr. Michael Beaubaire | Filed under: Claustrophobia | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Recently, I was on a conference call and became quite frustrated. My message was not being heard, and one of the participants made me feel “trapped.” This feeling escalated my frustration. I don’t want to belittle the physical feelings of being trapped that many claustrophobics experience, or equate my frustration with what a claustrophobic feels due to their ailment, but I do want to explore the different emotional responses that a claustrophobic person endures in a frightening situation, or tries avoiding to the best of their ability.

The emotions that claustrophobic individuals feel are not unique to only claustrophobia. The distinction is what triggers these feelings repeatedly and how the same range of feelings arise. For example, a claustrophobic individual will feel fear, anxiety, and stress each time they confront a triggering episode. Non-claustrophobic individuals can feel stress or feel anxiety without fear. We all, or at least most of us, have the capacity to feel frightened, uncomfortable, stressed, etc. The difference is the intensity and causes of such feelings, their frequency and the associated situation which triggers these emotions.

The common emotion triggering an episode is fear. This fear is characterized as being incapable of escaping from a tight spot which to non-claustrophobics is not as agitating. From this fear, frustration develops, and can lead to loneliness as one avoids common activities and isolates them from approaching such situations. For example, if you are afraid of elevators and work where you take an elevator to your floor, how do you manage each day? When colleagues want to go to lunch and take an elevator down, do you walk? Do you find a way to endure, does this activity become less frequent because of the physical response (sweating, quickened breathing) associated with this emotional response? You become agitated as these feelings escalate, as you cannot understand why this happens and cannot control it. Underlying many claustrophobics and phobias in general, is lack of control.

How do you handle such encounters? As a non-claustrophobic, I think I fight through my fear/frustration, but specifically what I do is unclear. Do I do deep breathing? Do I visualize a safe place and/or less stressful environment? What else do I do unconsciously to diminish my anxiety? Well, I will have to think about it more intently. I realize what I did regarding the situation on the phone call…I ended the call.

Until next time,
Dr. B

About Dr. Michael Beaubaire

Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: Dr. Michael Beaubaire | Filed under: Claustrophobia | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Hi. I’m Dr. Michael Beaubaire, Medical Director for Healthy Brands Group.

I received my Medical Degree from Northwestern University Medical School. I also have degrees in Finance and Biological Basis of Behavior both from the the Wharton School of Finance and School of Arts & Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. I have varied experience in healthcare as a patient, practitioner, consultant, and executive.

There have been numerous studies done on the effectiveness of different methods of treating the effects of claustrophobia. The following is a non exhaustive list of published research titles on different relations of scent and behavior.

  • The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension
  • Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant.
  • The effect of aroma inhalation method on stress response of nursing students.

We can include studies on aroma and claustrophobia as our website suggests with the Sloan Kettering trial and response to enduring MRIs. In essence (no pun to our proprietary blend of essential oils), behavior and smell are connected. The specific details may actually define medical science-the search for further understanding of the body and how it works. Nevertheless we see people feel and react to smell. We have shown that our calmspace scents at Healthy Brands provide relief to those suffering from claustrophobia allowing these individuals to overcome/participate in situations which previously elevated their stress or were avoided.

If you suffer from feelings of or associated with claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed spaces, and want to try a convenient and new approach to relief, try calmspace. What do you have to lose? Let me know how it goes, share with me your stories and hopeful success. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Beaubaire is here to share your thoughts, ideas, questions, experiences and information on claustrophobia and other anxiety inducing situations. To reach him, you can email here.

Until next time…
Dr. B

Michael Beaubaire MD
Medical Director.