Essential Oils Provides Opportunities
For Healing Of The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection
Aromatherapy was my first experience into the realm of relaxation and learning how to lessen my stress level, making only a slight connection between the body, mind and spirit. I remember going with my mother for a spa treatment and “girls’ day out” including a massage and slumbering on lounge chairs drinking herbal tea. The perfect opportunity to bond with Mom and find my moment of Zen in my otherwise lacking spiritual life.
As I headed into the massage room, the therapist would ask which of the aromas I would prefer for my session. Would it be a peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender or citrus essential oil? I almost always asked for lavender as a way to increase my relaxation and to disconnect from the world around me. I would soon be purchasing the essential oil candles, hand lotion and soaps as a way to continue my experience but never thoroughly considered the other uses and opportunities that essential oils and aromatherapy provides for the mind-body-spirit connection.
For instance, did you know aromatherapy might help to promote health and reduce health risks? One example is a recent 2012 news article in Natural News by Sherry Baker discusses a study “published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found that the essential oils used in aromatherapy for stress relief may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.” Baker’s news article highlights how researchers at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan worked with “100 young, healthy non-smoking men and women” who received vaporized bergamot essential oil resulting in “reduced blood pressure and slowed heart rate for between 15 and 60 minutes after exposure.” The researchers cited their results as “statistically significant.” There was a caveat, however, the researchers also found that if recipients were exposed to the bergamot essential oil for over an hour, they observed increase heart rate and blood pressure. (Baker)
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), founded in 1990 with a mission to “advance the knowledge of the medicinal use of aromatic plants and essential oils to its fullest extent and to support aromatherapy as a truly holistic professional art and science,” has available on its website the most recent research on aromatherapy. The research shows the array of essential oils and their impact on various dis-eases such as insomnia; breast cancer; respiratory problems; neurobehavioral issues and even head lice. (NAHA)
So what else do we know about aromatherapy? In the book titled Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, aromatherapy and the use of essential oils are described as “antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antitumor, antiparasitic, antiviral and antiseptic.” The essential oils are described as “helping to promote emotional, physical and spiritual healing.” (Modern Essentials)
If you have an ailment, it will only take a moment to determine which of the numerous essential oils might be the most optimal to help resolve the problem. Then, you need to consider how best to utilize the essential oil. (Modern Essentials)
Are you having mood swings? Modern Essentials states, “a mood swing is a rapid change caused by fatigue or by a sudden shift in the body’s hormonal balance.” To help support a change in a person’s holistic health, the primary recommendation is to use clary sage or lavender by diffusing the essential oil in the air. These are the two primary and optimal oils found to be effective in helping with mood swings but others may be substituted as well. (Modern Essentials)
While the public seems to be more enamored recently with essential oils and their healing capabilities, the use of the oils has been around for centuries. In Dr. Joie Power’s article “Aromatherapy and Emotions,” essential oils were used by the ancient cultures of India, China and Persia. The ancient cultures “left records that document their use of fragrance for its effect on mental states and feelings,” states Power while further specifying, “the Egyptians, in particular, made extensive use of incense and fragrant oils in their religious rituals. Kyphi, an incense containing at least 16 herbs and other fragrant plants such as Juniper, Cinnamon, and Myrrh, was used by Egyptian priests to facilitate the attainment of ecstatic states during religious rites.” (Powers, Vol. 2 No. 2) Egyptian priests were not the only religious practitioners of essential oils. There are over 180 references within the Bible of the use of essential oils. (Modern Essentials) As we all know, Jesus’ birth brought the arrival of the wise men with their frankincense and myrrh as special gifts to the newborn king.
While ancient cultures understood the importance of essential oils, there has been a recent resurgence by modern culture to regain that knowledge and understanding of essential oils for our health and self-care. Power’s in her “Aromatherapy: The Basics” explains that “in the 1950’s, the practice of aromatherapy enjoyed a strong revival that has continued into the present.” More and more individuals are searching for alternative approaches to the current medical treatments.
As Power’s describes, “essential oils are complex mixtures of naturally occurring compounds that exist in some plants which have fragrant flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots or seeds.” (Powers. Vol. 2 No. 4) Essential oils vary from that of vegetable oils in many ways and it is important to understand the difference. Essential oils are known as “volatile” meaning that “they evaporate when exposed to air; they are fragrant; they do not feel slick or oily, and do not leave an oily residue.” (Powers. Vol. 2 No. 4) Power’s contrasts essential oils to vegetable oils by describing them as, “as almond oil, apricot oil, olive oil, or avocado oil [that] are not fragrant; they do not evaporate readily; they do feel oily and leave an oily residue.” (Powers. Vol. 2 No. 4) Vegetable oils are combined with essential oils for the use of safely applying the oils to the skin. (Powers. Vol. 2 No. 4)
So the next time you are faced with a specific feeling or pain, my recommendation would be to consider if aromatherapy or the effective use of essential oils may be the best medicine. In Modern Essentials, the book offers the following recommendations:
For anxiety: Diffuse into the air either lavender; orange or lemon or secondarily ylang ylang; frankincense or sandalwood.
For headaches: Diffuse into the air peppermint; basil or rosemary. A secondary oil may be eucalyptus or frankincense.
For stomachache: Take internally or apply topically either basil; peppermint or lemongrass. A secondary oil may be ginger.
For fatigue: Diffuse into the air either rosemary or thyme. Both of these may also be applied topically.
The list goes on and on as to the best and optimal uses of essential oils and their use in treating dis-ease.
Luckily for me, I no longer have to wait for a spa treatment to be able to enjoy all of the benefits associated with aromatherapy and essential oils. I am also a more informed recipient of the use, benefits and options available with essential oils and aromatherapy.
About Mara Benner
Mara Benner has been a student of the Institute of Applied Energetics for three years. She has completed her third level of training and became a Certified Energy Medicine Practitioner last year. She is continuing to study to receive her medical intuition certification.
Mara is also the founder and president of Four Directions Wellness based in Alexandria, Virginia. The company began operations in 2016 and is affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine. Mara, through Four Directions Wellness, is focused on the adoption of “whole person” healthcare and helps both individuals and healthcare providers/practitioners to integrate alternative healing modalities. She does this by offering individual sessions; classes; consulting services and group sessions. To learn more, please visit Mara at www.fourdirectionswellness.com.
Baker, Sherry. “New study: Short-term aromatherapy with essential oils may
prevent heart disease.” National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, 2012. Web. 21 June 2014.
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). National Association for
Holistic Aromatherapy. 2014 Web. 21 June 2014.
Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential
Oils. Utah: Abundant Health LLC, 2011. Print
Power, Joie. “Aromatherapy and Emotions.” World Health News – Vol. 2, No. 2
Spring 1998 Print.
Powers, Joie. “Aromatherapy: The Basics.” World Health News – Vol. 2, No. 4
Winter 1999. Print.