The body is able to feel and experience the chemicals that are placed within, and they can be positive, negative, or neutral. Benign chemicals would include normal or healthy amounts of vitamins and proteins that help the body grow or stay strong, and some chemicals might be able to help the body reach a higher potential. Some of these include stimulants and steroids, however the designer has no business trying to suggest or provide chemicals to change the body and the perception of the world or reality. Instead, these must be personal choices, as the user will affect the body for better or worse, and it should be the user’s choice.
As humans, we use chemoreception all the time. Common chemicals that affect us are alcohol and caffeine, and there is an amazing array of other chemicals that affect us through our healthcare providers and the pharmacy. Some of these can drastically improve the way we live and our outlook, but these are not to be considered by the designer, unless working with an ethical doctor or researcher, although these are not likely to coordinate their decisions with designers, though their job and objective is to improve the world for human use.
Chemicals can help us and hone our senses, but they can also be very harmful and cloud our understanding and senses. This is why the designer should not be involved with the use of this sense. Some drugs and alcohol can alter perception and could even permanently affect the user. The chemicals can be placed in the body in many different ways, and these include: through the stomach, lungs, nose, ears, and skin–all of these are capable of sensing, and the ingestion of the chemicals can affect those senses or others, or the chemicals can go directly over to the brain to change the way the impulses from the senses are interpreted and acted upon.
We use the sense of chemoreception to alter, understand, or change our perception, and it must be up to the individual to choose whether to use these and change the experience. Some may want to become stronger or more observant, while others might want to be turn off external reality, and some may believe it is necessary to use chemicals to improve life. Now, some chemicals might do multiple effects, both good and bad. Again, this is for the user to decide, and is not for the designer.
The chemicals that we experience can be used or felt in any environment or time, although they should be controlled to avoid unexpected or undesired affects and changes. The sense of chemoreception is intensely personal and cannot be sensed the same among multiple people that partake in the use of the same chemicals. One can say this is very much like taste or possibly smell, because the sense is local and cannot be provided or sent across space. In this way, chemoreception is not like vision or hearing, but because it is sensed at the body, it is like the other forms of touch, taste and smell. In fact, some might argue that taste and smell are forms of chemoreception, although taste and smell use sensors on the exterior of the body.
The best time to use chemoreception is when all parts of the environment are controlled. There should not be any provocation, manipulation, or requirement to use the chemicals, and it must be entirely in the control and desire of the user. How the chemicals are provided and received can affect outcome, and the user must be calm and confident when choosing the chemical of choice, and the designer should not be a part of this. In contrast, the worst use of chemoreception is when the user is out of control of the body, context, and circumstances. With these beyond the users grasp, anything can happen, and the body can be harmed.
Another way to use chemoreception is to self-regulate the body to create the desired chemicals and effects. We can experience many chemicals because we make forms or similar types of the chemicals in our bodies. In this way, the body can recognize certain compounds and reacts in ways we can understand and control. Surely, we affect our brain chemistry when we react to external events and process our internal feelings, and we can improve our outlook and mindset with exercise. There are other ways to create chemical changes in the body without drugs and other forms of chemicals, and it might be the job of the psychologist or psychiatrist to explore these and not the designer.