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Friday, 26 February 2010


"In the 19th and early 20th centuries, scientists were fascinated by synaesthesia: the way some people perceive sensations joined together, like seeing letters of the alphabet in a range of colours or hearing music as texture. Victorians named it after the Greek for union (syn) of sensations (aesthesia). In the west, the research fell out of fashion in the mid 20th century, but since the 1980s it’s been rediscovered, helping neuroscientists to understand how we separate and combine sensations.
Classic synaesthesia is something people are born with; cognitive synaesthesia happens when our minds join different sensations, based on our experiences. It’s used by perfumers in the creative process; for example, fragrances are often inspired by listening to music. It’s the psychological side of aromatherapy..."

Synaesthesia is further described by Lush as the "Union of separate sensations" and merely watching the video above has me feeling more relaxed: mostly because I suspect I both underestimate the power of music and have become lazy about using it to reflect my mood...

While the treatment looks bliss all by itself, what struck me most was how we could use the word "synaesthesia" as inspiration for creating the kind of homes that stimulate us: homes that cocoon us and bring all our senses alive to the degree where we are truly mindful about how very powerful our four walls can be in the pursuit of atmosphere...

Watch it and be inspired.


helen said...

Stunning. Magical. Release.

Jenifir said...

Thank-you for posting this Alison; I hope you don't mind but I have a lot to say about it!
I find the concept very interesting, know some people with synaestesia, and have a background as a musician and in wellness.
As a trained classical musician the music that the Lush Spa is using would not be may choice of soundtrack although I love birdsong, have played on a recording of similar classical/contempory music and have used similar music (i.e. Enya) when teaching group pilates classes which I suppose means that I have used music specifically to create a certain state. I think that when I used Elizabethan Lute music I actually had better focus, concentration and sense of well-being from my students. As a vintage girl, I trust what has stood the test of time! One of my former students is actually a Musicology professor and we discussed how music can actually be manipulated to make you feel a certain way -musicologists have already mapped this out - and one needs to be careful with this information. My Husbands boss, Pinchus Zukermann, has classical synaesthesia and specifically sees colours with the sounds that he hears. Having not asked him the question directly, I think he might have a problem with any music being used in this manner. If you go to a concert of live music it has been shown that our brain waves actual are the same as the performers while they are making the music and this is the same when going to the ballet. Scientists have not been able to duplicate these results with recordings. Ideally, our brains are best suited to music in live performance and we get that being in the ballet feeling spoken about in the clip. That said, I do enjoy listening to many recordings of all sorts of music while going about my day just like anyone else and it always gives me visual pictures and a feeling of being somewhere else. Thanks again for sharing another interesting idea!

. said...

I just discovered some two years ago that I have synaestesia. I commented with a doctor how each number has its own colour. He told me that to other people it's not like that and told me about synaestesia! That I commented with my mother and she said that to her it's colours and names. She is synaestetic too !
Amazing world.

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