Olfactory Functions

This includes your sense of smell and taste. The two senses are interconnected, and having a weak sense of smell will influence your taste.

A person with weakened Olfactory senses have never known differently, so they don’t have anything to compare it to, therefore they may never know it is weaker. Because of this, children won’t be able to tell you they don’t smell much. Most parents won’t know unless they test them.

If smell and taste were the only problems for a weakened Olfactory Function, then it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, because it uses the brain’s higher processing functions, a child with a deficiency or overactive sense in this area usually displays a deficiency in other higher functions as well. As a matter of fact, some of the cell populations that are formed in the Olfactory Epithelium migrate to the forebrain and contribute to upper brain formation. The upper part of the brain is responsible for the higher functions in the Prefrontal Cortex. A weakened or overactive Olfactory negatively affects information processing, sensory systems, attention span, digestive and immune systems, impulsiveness, and even social and emotional behavior.

Beautiful Asian girl is smelling the daisy flower outdoors

Testing for weakness

It is important to test the olfactory one side at a time. One side could be overactive and the other underactive. Get about 5 pleasant smelling items and 5 strong-smelling items.

Pleasant Examples: Chocolate bar or Ding Dongs, watermelon gum, grape gum, perfume, essential oils, fruit, vanilla, etc.

Strong Examples: Coffee, garlic powder, onion, oregano, vinegar or salad dressing, lemon, cinnamon.

If any of the items are not in an airtight container, put them each in individual jars or containers so the child cannot see or smell them until you are ready to start. Have the child use one hand to gently close the nostril on the left.

One at a time, open the container and hold it about a foot away from the nose. Ask the child if they can smell anything. If they cannot, bring it a few inches closer. Do this until they can smell it, and then ask them if they know what it smells like. 

Note how close the item was before they could smell it, and if they were accurate at guessing the object. After going through all five items with the left nostril blocked, let the child rest, then do it on the other side. Once again, note the distance and accuracy of each five items. Compare the results to see if one side was weaker than the other. They should be able to smell and recognize items about 8-12 inches from their nose.

If you had to bring the containers closer than 8 inches or they had a hard time identifying the item, exercises are needed.

Weaker left nostril indicates weakness in the left hemisphere and a weaker right nostril indicates weakness in the right hemisphere. Exercise the weak nostril only.

Weakness on both sides indicates a strong need for exercises to both sides.

Our suggested exercise is much the same as the test. But, if they cannot name it, tell them the name of it. The point is not to test them, but to stimulate their Olfactory. No pressure. Make it fun like a guessing game.


  • Picky eater
  • Information processing problems
  • Under sensitivity or over sensitivity to odor
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Overactive or Underactive immune
  • Digestion problems
  • Food intolerance’s
  • Social and emotional problems