Do you know the Sensory Rooms? (En español Salas de Estimulación Multisensorial). These are pleasant spaces, physically and cognitively accessible and where we can find various stimuli for the different senses. In these multisensory rooms we find controlled stimuli such as lights, music, objects, textures, images, sounds, aromas, vibrations … a whole world of elements that provide many benefits, since their designs have therapeutic applications for a large number of conditions. Currently we can see two types, the sensory modulation rooms and the sensory integration rooms.
Some of the objectives of sensory rooms are: – Increase concentration. – Promote cognitive development by increasing brain activity. – Provide security. – Increase creativity. – Stimulate the basic sensory elements. – Develop the sense of cause and effect. – Promote social interactions. – Promote physical and mental relaxation. – Reduce stress levels. – Increase calm and decrease aggressive behavior. – Improve communication and the ability to share. – Provide pain relief (therefore, they are a great accompaniment for painful physical therapies).
In general, there are three types of rooms: – White room: In which security, comfort, relaxation and stimulation are sought through discovery. – Black room: With a fluorescent purple light that makes it possible for certain colors to emit a glow. This room favors learning, the search for surprise and the opportunity to move. It has a high stimulating potential. – Adventure room: Contains elements that promote perceptualmotor and sensory activity; there is a control of the medium with the games, the noise and the movement.
History says that these spaces were created in the Netherlands towards the end of the 1970s. Their inventors were the psychologists Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge. Originally, these rooms were known under the term “snoezelen”, which comes from a mixture of two Dutch words, “snuffelen” which means to sniff and “doezelen” which means to doze. The objective of the room is to provide an environment in which people can expose themselves and interact with different stimuli, so that sensory perception is released and increased. Sensory rooms have sensory kits that are specially designed for a specific feel.
The cosmetics industry, of course, has a great opportunity for innovation in two ways. Firstly, developing products that help design sensory kits that are unique and different, and secondly, drawing inspiration from the concepts and developments that these rooms provide. For sure, in the near future we will see cosmetic sensory innovations inspired by the textures, aromas, fragrances, colors, sounds and tastes that the impressive multi-sensory design of these rooms offers.
In different parts of the world we can see very interesting related concepts. In Dubai, in March, an event called Art in Space was presented, which incorporated multi-sensory experiences through technology. The presentation combined video, audio, aromas, light effects, fog and temperature.
In Paris, a recent post from April indicates that champagne brand Krug has created an exclusive multi-sensory experience at the well-known Samaritaine gallery. In this space, consumers can discover exceptional pairings of music, gastronomy and of course champagne, thus involving all the senses. The experience begins with an intimate musical tasting, introducing the history and unique know-how behind the Krug champagnes selected for the occasion. The tasting is a unique experience where each cuvée is paired with different melodies. The website indicates that the master of the Krug cellar, Julie Cavil, has worked closely with IRCAM, the French Institute for Acoustic and Musical Research, to achieve the perfect combination of the menu, with melodies and the profiles of the champagnes. The goal is to better understand how hearing, smell, and taste interact. This proposal is, without a doubt, very inspiring to develop cosmetic concepts.
Last November, thepeninsulaqatar.com portal published a news item indicating that sensory rooms will be available in three Qatar 2022 stadiums, with the aim of providing a safe space to watch football. The portal mentions that “the possibility of enjoying a match in a fun and exciting environment is one of the many pleasures for football fans. However, for people with cognitive disabilities, experiencing the games and the stadium atmosphere can pose certain challenges.” The goal is for people with neurobehavioral needs and their families to be able to access the sensory rooms before, during and after the match, in a way that avoids crowds when entering and leaving the stadium.
Portland International Airport (PDX) opened a sensory room in one of its terminals in January. We all know that air travel can be stressful and even more so in times of pandemic and post-pandemic. For people with anxiety and those on the autism spectrum, these trips can be a sensory overload experience. The airport indicates that the sensory rooms are therapeutic spaces designed to help people experience a variety of stimuli in a safe environment, where there is a specially designed mix of lighting, colors, sounds, aromas and interactive platforms. Last year, the Seattle airport also opened its own sensory room. News broke in April that Abu Dhabi Airport has also created new sensory rooms, incorporating educational, recreational and therapeutic techniques, through an integrated set of sensory experiences for children in an environment that helps them relax, focus and learn. American Express recently opened a new space in one of its Centurion Lounges at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where travelers can mingle before boarding their flights. The space is designed to foster a totally peaceful and less anxious airport experience for travelers. Our industry can innovate with many products specially designed for these spaces.
In cosmetics we can also already see very interesting trends in this field. For example, on April 5th the portal glamadelaide.com.au published an interesting note about the opening of Dream Cuts, which is a hair salon that offers a welcoming and inclusive haircut and party experiences for children with sensory needs, including people with autism. Children who get haircuts can play with the digital entertainment offered in the store. There are two Nintendo Switches, three Playstation 5s, and several iPads. If one is still available, kids waiting for their date can also play on these devices while they wait.
Looking at the photos of the place, it really seems to be inspired by a sensory room. The store’s marketing manager indicates that “the idea is to make the overwhelming experience of going to the hairdresser a fun and comfortable experience for children and easier for parents.” The store offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Without a doubt, the cosmetics industry has a great opportunity because it can contribute to the development of these sensory experiences in places like this. The design of the cosmetics, the packaging, the texture, the fragrances and the sensory profile must also be ideal for these types of experiences. That is why the “sensory friendly” claim will be a driver of innovation in cosmetics in the future.