One of my many loves in life is aromatherapy. I fell in love with essential oils when I was about 15 years old, while working a co-op with a local massage therapist and holistic healer who used essential oils with her clients. My first smell of lavender essential oil hooked me for life.
It didn’t take me too long before I had a growing collection of these amazing, therapeutic, healing, health promoting essences, which to this day has grown to a collection of nearly 60 different oils. My love of these essences inspired me to become a Certified Aromatherapist in 2000.
Among the diverse benefits that can come from this specialized branch of Herbology, with very quick, effective and direct affect on the brain through our sense of smell, it doesn’t take too long for benefits to affect our mood.
With all that is going on in the world, I can only imagine how everyone’s mental state has been affected. Everyone in some way has had their world turned upside down. I feel very blessed to have built up to the many tools in my “tool box” of life. The art and skill of aromatherapy is one of those tools.
Aromatherapy is not just good smells. The olfactory sense (our sense of smell reception) connects directly into the brain. The naturally occurring chemicals contained within the extracted essences from various plant matter is a very targeted way to get these compounds into the blood stream, where they work their magic.
I thought I would share some basic essential oil knowledge that some might find helpful at this time. Some common essential oils that are easily accessible, relatively in-expensive, versatile and offer some good mental health benefits with very few contraindications (reasons why they may not be appropriate): Cedarwood, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lime, Mandarin, Rosemary & Ylang-Ylang
Cedarwood can support a sense of calm & well-being with its earthy, basic tones that help to calm the nervous system.
Frankincense is a relaxing, mildly sedating essence that helps the mind focus, along with support the body’s immune response. Also earthy and calming and provide great support for meditation practices.
Grapefruit, like all citrus essences, is uplifting & refreshing to the mind. Helps to clear the mind and supports good circulation to the brain.
Lavender is likely the most versatile essential oil that provides benefit to just about every aspect of mental and physical well-being. Calming and soothing to the nervous system, safe enough for use of babies and young children. Its light floral tones help to balance a busy mind and relax the muscles.
Lime is uplifting, inspires confidence, can brighten some dull days and help to remove the dark cloud. It’s sweet, fresh and clean smell can help to clear out negative emotions and support a brighter outlook.
Mandarin’s sweet and astringent qualities, like grapefruit help to refresh and clear the mind.
Rosemary is wonderful for encouraging good circulation throughout the body, but especially to the brain. Rosemary is well known for encouraging neural networks in the brain to help with memory. It has a strong, awakening aroma that is sure to light up your brain.
Ylang-ylang is earthy, rich, lightly floral and basic. All earthy tones help ground both body and mind. It is mildly sedating, without being too much so. Provide great support for meditation practices. Helps to focus the mind, provide support and a sense of calm.
While this is just the “tip of the iceberg” so to speak, it will give you a good starting point when it comes to utilizing essential oils to help the mind.
Sometimes the easiest way to utilize essential oils is through a diffuser that mists directly into the air, or through skin application with a carrier oil such as grapeseed or coconut with a few drops of essence added, then massaged into the skin, or even in the bath tub. There are many application types, choosing one that suits your needs and is convenient generally brings the most benefit – simply because you will use it.