The difference between functional fragrance and aromatherapy

Basically aromatherapy is always a kind of functional fragrance. However, while aromatherapy as a whole always falls under the more comprehensive term functional fragrance, not every functional fragrance is aromatherapy.

The classic definition of aromatherapy is: The use of essential oils for a therapeutic purpose.

A functional fragrance, on the other hand, is simply a fragrance that has a "planned" effect. For example, it is a characteristic fragrance used by a hotel chain to evoke positive emotions in its guests so that they keep coming back.

So, while these fragrances are intended to evoke an emotional response, they are not all intended to relieve the symptoms of medical conditions, nor are they necessarily essential oils.


So while aromatherapy may be considered as a kind of functional fragrance, the similarities end there. Aromatherapy can be seen as a herbal medicine. Clinical aromatherapy also includes stringent quality controls and efficacy tests so that it can be used by healthcare professionals. Functional fragrances on the other hand can be synthesised from almost any compound and do not need to be tested for quality, safety or efficacy.

So you can say: functional fragrances are created with a goal in mind. And in this goal, the health and well-being of the visitor or customer is not always the first priority (unless they are made specifically for aromatherapy). But this definitely does not mean that functional fragrances are bad or should be avoided. The basic idea behind the production is only a completely different one than the one behind aromatherapy.

Definitions for the English word field "fragrance"

The confusion is immense: too many different words, whose meanings often differ only marginally, are lumped together so that the differences blur and are no longer clear to many people.
With this blog series (7 single blogs in total) we want to confront this and bring some light into the darkness. On the one hand the definitions are to be clearly assigned to the English words; on the other hand the differences of the - frequently synonymously used words - are to be pointed out.
For it is not only in English-speaking countries that different meanings are often assigned to the same word. In addition, there are new connotations from countries where English is not mainly used as a mother tongue. In order to prevent misinterpretations, we work here with recognized definitions and elaborate on them in the following blogs (based on the Oxford Dictionary).


1. A pleasant, sweet smell.
1.1 A perfume or aftershave.

Middle of the 17th century from the French or from the Latin fragrantia or fragrare "smells sweet".


1. A distinctive smell, in particular one which is pleasant.
1.1 Pleasantly smelling liquid worn on the skin; perfume.
2. A trace marked by the characteristic odour of an animal and perceptible to dogs or other animals.
2.1 A trace of evidence or other signs that may assist a person in a search or examination.
3. Olfactory ability or sense of smell.

Late Middle English (describes the sense of smell): from the old French sentir "perceive, smell", from the Latin sentire. The addition of -c- (in the 17th century) is unexplainable.


(US odor)
1. A distinctive smell, especially an unpleasant one.
2. A lasting property or impression that adheres to something.
2.1 The presence of a condition in a certain respect.

Middle English from Anglo-Norman French, from Latin odor "smell, scent".


1. A distinctive, typically pleasant odour.
1.1 A subtle, pervasive quality or atmosphere.

Middle English (mostly in the plural with fragrant plants or spices): via Latin from the Greek arōma "spice".


Aromatherapy refers to the use of essential oils to alleviate illness or increase well-being. Professionally or commercially, any form of medicine is only allowed to licensed physicians and in Germany according to § 1 Heilpraktikergesetz also to alternative practitioners. This also applies to alternative healing methods such as aromatherapy.


functional fragrance
Functional fragrances are scents created from natural or synthetic ingredients to specifically create an effect. For example, a scent of apple pie and cinnamon. The smell reminds us of Christmas baking and cosiness and is consciously used to evoke memories of the Advent season and a beautiful feeling of comfort. If this fragrance is emitted in a shop, it causes the customer to feel comfortable and to buy more, or to associate beautiful memories with the shopping experience and to come back with pleasure.


essential oil
A natural oil typically obtained by distillation with the characteristic scent of the plant from which it is obtained.


Extract or concentrate obtained from a plant or other substance and used for aromatization.


aroma oil
Aroma oils are mixtures that always consist at least in part of essential oils.


aromatherapy oil
Aromatherapy oils are made from essential oils for aromatherapy. Synthetic fragrances are excluded.


fragrance oil
Fragrance oils are artificial fragrances that are synthetically produced. They may contain essential oils, but do not have to.

Room fragrancing with tradition

Fragrances awaken memories in us. We also call this sensation olfactory perception. Some fragrances immediately take us back to our childhood. Images are created in front of our inner eye which are triggered by the respective scent. We are accompanied by scents that we associate with a beautiful event for the rest of our lives. And always, when we perceive this smell, we are reminded of this beautiful event. These memories are activated by the limbic system, the location of our emotions. The subjective sense of smell is influenced by experience and therefore individually different.
The physical- and psycho-objective effect is the same for every human irrespective of the experience values, since neurochemical substances such as encephalins, endorphins, serotonin and noradrenalin are released in the limbic system by olfactory stimuli. This knowledge serves, among other things, as the basis of aromatherapy, in which the effect of natural aromas and essences is specifically applied. Special use is made of room scenting in sauna, spa and wellness because here the effect of the scents used on the body is sought directly.

However, the scenting of rooms is not new, but has a long tradition.
Legend has it that King Solomon scented the guest rooms for the Queen of Saba so beguilingly that the Ethiopian imperial dynasty arose from the royal relationship.
Room fragrance is an ancient cultural asset. People have always used plant scents, i.e. natural essential oils, for their well-being. But also to stay healthy or to become healthy again. This huge wealth of experience is increasingly confirmed by the scientific findings of recent years. The renaissance of room scenting and the growing importance of aromatherapy are therefore only logical. The scenting of rooms is originally also an expression of appreciation towards the guest or the customer. A successful room fragrancing is also today not conceivable without this basis.

Possibilities of room fragrancing

While dealing with room fragrancing in the sauna, spa and wellness area, the first question arises: How do you bring the fragrance into a room or to an application?

There are three ways to transport fragrance:
• Via water
• Via steam
• Via air

Where and how are these three fragrance transport routes used?

Fragrance via water
• In the shower / adventure shower
• In the brine inhalation with scent
• In the sauna about the sauna infusion. Sauna versions: Finnish sauna, Russian banya.
• In relaxation rooms through a fragrance fountain, which also serves as a humidifier, e.g. in the tepidarium and laconium.
• Typical applications of indoor climate: hot and dry (sauna), warm or cold (adventure shower), cold (brine inhalation), warm and dry (laconium, tepidarium)

Fragrance via steam
• In the steam bath and caldarium
• In the Hamam, Rhassoul
• In the biosauna and soft sauna
• For air humidification
• Typical application area of room climate: hot and humid (steam bath) as well as warm and humid (Hamam, Rhassoul)

Fragrance via air
• In the relaxation room
• In the relax room
• In the Laconium
• In the Tepidarium
• In changing rooms
• In the entrance area and lobby
• Typical climate conditions: warm and dry (laconium, tepidarium, resting room, etc.),
• Normal room climate approx. 25°C (lobby, changing room)

Kemitron manufactures fragrance dosing pumps for all the above-mentioned areas. These pumps are characterised by the possibility of spreading a constant fragrance over a longer or fixed period of time, fully automatically, even in larger rooms, without anyone constantly having to actively watch for it. Fragrance, intensity and interval are individually adjustable.
The dosing pumps and dosing systems are high-quality and durable. Many years of experience in production, operation, installation and maintenance enable us to competently advise you on the correct installation as well as on the selection of fragrances for the corresponding application area.

See also: Technico fragrance dosing pumps

Cleaning Salt and Brine Rooms

Cleaning Salt and Brine Rooms – Maintaining value through correct cleaning
Brine inhalations are a recognized method for the alleviation of respiratory diseases and the prevention of respiratory tract infections. For this reason, the integration of a salt cave or a steam bath with the possibility of brine applications in wellness and spa areas is becoming increasingly popular.

In order to ensure that the rooms, which are often impressively designed, do not lose their beauty and retain their value, it is important to clean properly from the very beginning. Saline mist forms a film that is blanketing everything. If this is not removed, the salts settle as a solid deposit and hard crusts form, which can hardly be treated. In order to remove salt crystals, complex and time-consuming cleaning procedures are necessary which attack the surrounding materials and, in the worst case, require premature renovation work.

We therefore recommend that you carry out an initial cleaning as soon as your brine inhalation room is put into operation. In addition, we recommend a thorough cleanup at least once a week, preferably two cleaning cycles per week to ensure long-term value retention.

With Pure Wisin, Kemitron offers a cleaning agent that has been specially developed for the requirements of brine inhalation rooms and steam bath cabins as well as for fittings and sanitary areas. Used regularly and in accordance with instructions, it prevents salt encrustations and enables you and your guests to enjoy a lastingly attractive and valuable environment.

Fragrance solution or fragrance emulsion in sauna and steam bath?

Fragrances are deployed in saunas or spas to surround visitors, because fragrances influence our mood and health.

However, if fragrances for sauna, wellness, and spa areas need to be purchased, the range is huge. One of the decisions that have to be made is whether alcohol or emulsion-based fragrances should be used. These differ on a number of points, which we would like to explain:

In a fragrance solution or fragrance concentrate, the essential oils are dissolved in alcohol. Due to their composition and the substantially continuous evaporation process, alcohol-based fragrance solutions can be used very economical and efficient. They are fully absorbed and quick by the steam. Contact times are low. Residues only occur, if the steam-contact-time is chosen too short or if the dosage is not matched to the steam flow.
Excess-amounts of the solutions are also absorbed quickly. The specific aroma of the essential oil reaches the steam bath cabin unadulterated. The fragrance concentrate and the fragrance solution evaporate in the sauna on the stone without leaving any residues the aroma remains stable and can spread throughout the cabin with the steam.

On the other hand, the shares of the essential oils in fragrance emulsions (fragrance milk) are dissolved with the help of an emulsifier and water. Because emulsions are mostly manufactured in a combined system, a high share of emulsifier is necessary.
The evaporation process for fragrance emulsions is significantly more unpleasant since the water share only evaporates incomplete, the emulsifier (up to 20 % of the emulsion) not at all. The not evaporated share of the fragrance emulsion remains standing in the pipe and impairs the steam flow or runs as greasy distillate out of the valve into the cabin. Since a greater part of the essential oil is attached to the emulsifier or to the emulsifier-water-mixture, this share of it drains off unused together with the distillate. In saunas an emulsifier-layer remains on the stones.

To receive the same fragrance intensity, the consumption of the application quantity can be increased by a multiple compared to the solutions. The usage may be further reduced if the dosage arrangements are not favorable, i.e. if the steam contact times are too short. Alcohol-based fragrance solution enables a quality monitoring using simple methods, in comparison to emulsions, where monitoring is practically impossible. Therefore in emulsions can be incorporated shares of inferior quality essential oils (so-called “terpenes”) as well as inadmissible emulsifiers (i.e. technical emulsifiers). If used, this can lead to skin irritations and reddening of the mucous membrane subsides.

Not homogenized emulsions tend to unmix fast, which means that the oil and the aqueous phase separate, the oil floats on top of the emulsion. If they are unmixed they won’t get completely consistent again, not even by subsequent mixing (intensive shaking). Due to phase-separation significant quality differences in the fragrance supply of the cabin occur, since the watery phase doesn’t contain any essential oil, the layer floating on the surface however, consists of essential oil shares. Additionally, the different composition of the phases leads to adhesion of the steam pump and the steam valve.

Also the inherent odor of the emulsifier can superimpose the specific aroma of the essential oil. Furthermore, the emulsifiers and water-based solutions often distort the typical nature of plants and reduce their characteristics. Immediately with opening of the fragrance emulsion containers, contamination starts, which is accelerated by storage in warm rooms. This can be delayed by adding preservatives. Therefore Emulsions are durable for six weeks.

Alcohol-based fragrance solutions and fragrance concentrates don’t have this contamination problem. They stay stable in their mixture and the same in their odor intensity, even if a container is in use over a longer period.

The use of fragrances in saunas, steam baths, hot air- and aroma cabins support the characteristics of the application. Therefore, attention to the fragrance solutions for containing mostly natural essential oils should be paid. Alcoholic solutions intensify the characteristic radiance of the essential oils and support their properties while the nature of the plants is preserved.

This means summarized: for a very good reason Kemitron only uses alcohol instead of emulsifiers (emulsion or emulsion-milk) as fragrance-carrier for its Aromee products: with a very good fragrance development, alcohol supports the quality and leaves no residues on the sauna stone or the pipes of the steam bath.