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Aromatherapy for Overcoming Overthinking

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

I’m going to let you in on a little secret …well, not so secret if you know me. I have a tendency toward overthinking. Yep, my mind is seriously an overactive overachiever. And, if I don’t manage my mind, it can border on obsessive, repetitive thinking like a hamster running on the perpetual wheel to nowhere.

For as long as I can remember, my mind has been like a stalker on steroids in certain situations. It races ahead with thoughts that I sometimes struggle to process before it races on to the next. I talked fast as a child, and even now sometimes when I get over stimulated. I have been told this is a result of my mouth trying to keep up with my mind.

In some instances a fast-moving mind has served me well. Fast thinking on my feet was a plus in the corporate world, most especially when I worked in crisis communications. And, seriously, I’m the girl you want in an emergency making excellent lightening decisions with a laser focus.

On a day-to-day basis, though, not learning to slow overthinking can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed and overtired.

But, until several years ago, I didn’t know there was a way to slow the flow.

And, then, I attended a meditation workshop where I learned “the mind is like a monkey that has been stung by a scorpion.” (there are many variations on this theme from ancient Buddhist teachings).


That was an illuminating moment. Not only did this accurately describe the inner workings of my mind, but also for so many others from millennia to modern times. And, ancient medicine had already addressed how to control our thoughts rather than letting our thoughts control us.

In this last blog we discussed a type of obsessive thinking that occurs when the mind wanders into worry.

When the “Mind Runs Amok

And, we detailed some simple practices to calm the mind by counting our breath coupled with aromatic companions that may be helpful for dealing with this type of distress.

Continuing that discussion, I wanted to share three other ways I find where overthinking can overtake my mind.


Creative Channeling

One of the things I’ve learned about my hard wiring is that I get super excited by cool concepts. I will then tuck this new notion away in amorphous form for future reference. Then, suddenly, something will trigger a lightening round where all the dots start to connect themselves at super speed and I am then able to perceive the idea in a prevailing pattern.

This process of coalescing into concepts I can now see sets in motion what I call creative channeling, Ideas and information begin to swiftly come together seemingly without effort as I furiously write to keep up with the flow lest the information making itself known become lost.

The upside to this is that it powers my passion and inspiration for writing. There are times when I can write like I am on fire and feel like I am simply a channel for the creativity flowing from fingertips to the keyboard.

One downside is I might find myself drafting at 3:00 a.m., or after I started meditation, because it is always the most quiet of moments that fuels the fire. I end up torn between needing sleep and needing to not lose the moment of creative flow. If I try to sleep, I worry it will be gone and my mind goes on repeat to try to remember.

Here are some ways I work to balance creative inspiration with creating quiet time:

  • Keep a tablet by the bed (paper or electronic) to jot down the notes.
  • Create more quiet time and space during the day to allow time to go with the flow
  • Get to bed at an earlier time knowing  the channeling may come so I can get it down and get to bed.


Persistent Problem Solving

Sometimes a problem presents itself that we just want to get solved. So, we go over and over it in our mind seemingly into oblivion without getting it resolved. And, sometimes, we try to stay a step of ahead of what we imagine may come by trying to solve for the many iterations in advance.

Yet, when we go over and over something without a solution, it can lead us to fret on repeat. A good friend once told me repetitively asking the same question over and over again in our mind, when we don’t have the answer, is like continuing to hit the button on a computer keyboard when the operating system is stuck. You get nowhere, the computer doesn’t have a chance to reboot, and you can trigger a bigger issue.

I have learned if you have gone over many aspects of a problem and don’t yet see a solution, you likely don’t yet have enough information. Here it becomes important to be comfortable tabling the problem solving until you do. And, you have to get out of your own head and own way for the information to come.

Here are some ways I work on balancing problem solving with letting the mind off duty for the moment:

  • Keep a thought journal with you – just a small, thin booklet that is easy to carry in your purse or have on you at all times. Write down the question or problem you have and then let go trusting it is now written and doesn’t need to be held in your thoughts on a persistent basis.
  • Engage in introspective practices that calm the mind so you can hear yourself think. If you are repeatedly in asking/doing mode in your mind, you won’t be ready to be in receiving mode when the information makes itself known.
  • I find that different bits of information begin to come to me like pieces of a puzzle. I write them down even if I don’t know where they fit, just feeling and trusting that they do.
  • For me, eventually, the dots then just begin to naturally connect. Usually, when I am open and ready for the answer.
  • And if you are trying to solve for things that don’t yet exist, as the saying goes, “cross that bridge when you come to it.” Worrying about it now is a waste of energy.


Inquisition Into Infinity

Oh my gosh do I have a mind that likes to know things. I have an avid curiosity and a life-long love of learning. This passion has been a bonus in my professional and personal life due a love of research of inquiry. Knowing new things feeds my mind and my spirit.

But, when you take me as a whole, with the tendency toward all the ways my over zealous can mind overthink as outlined above, this is another area I can wander into the weeds of obsessive thinking.

I’ve noticed this especially with the advent of the smart phone. It can be problematic for a mind like mine to have a mini-computer in the palm of my hand. While I do have everything I need with me to manage my life at all times, I also have the ability to get sucked down a rabbit hole at any given time.

I can be adding something to my calendar and two hours later I am still watching a cooking demo for root vegetables. I’ve learned some really intriguing things, but probably not the best time or with the best use of my time, especially if it just before sleep.

I swear, I was only going to set my alarm and now I see a great video on how to curl my hair. Apparently, this is common as I am seeing more and more articles about our smartphone addiction overall.

This reminds me of the advent of email, especially at the office (yes, I am old enough to remember). At first, we would just get a few here and there. Then, when the concept finally caught on, we started to get barraged. The more we tried to respond instantaneously, the less we got done as all we were doing was reacting to email.

We learned to set aside time to review and respond to email to protect the most productive parts of our day and get our most pressing work done. We checked in the morning, after lunch, and later in the afternoon. In this way we were responsive, but not held hostage. Certainly, there were exceptions for things that were urgent, once we discerned that to be true.

This practice could also be suitable for how we keep connected through our smartphone. Not every notification is urgent and not every interesting item you chance across is important in that moment. This isn’t easy, I know. I am still really working on this. Anything my mind wants to know, at any given moment, I can Google with the flick of a finger and a few taps of my thumb.

Here are some other ways I am working to balance wanting to know now with not needing to know right now:

  • If you get notifications on your phone from various apps, discern if it is urgent or important, or just interesting. If it is urgent, respond. If it is important, decide if it is a priority over what you currently need to be doing. If it is just interesting save it for later.
  • Bookmark, to save posts  on social media to save for later
  • Email articles and recipes and such to yourself perhaps to a  folder of interesting things for later at leisure
  • Create certain times of day when you can go back and pursue the things that piqued your interest sand set yourself a time limit
  • Don’t pick up your phone before bed. Have everything preset for morning (seriously a hard one for a me and seriously a detriment to soothing sleep).


Aromatherapy for An Overactive Mind

The same practice of counting our breaths, as detailed When the Mind Runs Amok, can cut the cord of continuous thinking beyond what’s beneficial.

To accompany your practices of overcoming overthinking, once again, aromatherapy makes an awesome ally. Essential oils excel at supporting the mind, and there are certain selections that are exceptional for repetitive and obsessive thinking.

I’ve combined my favorites into the synergies below with some suggestions for how they may best serve. As always, it is important to experiment so you can experience what works best for you.

Now, that you have had an insider’s look to my overactive mind, if you recognize anything familiar, I hope you find these suggestions helpful on your own journey to slow the flow!

All of these recipes are written as mini-master blends. You can add as written to your diffuser.  To add to a personal aromatherapy inhaler, simply multiply the mini-master blend by 3 for 15 drops total.


Quiet Mind

For when the mind is working overtime running on that hamster wheel to nowhere. This is a great general synergy to take on the go for any situation from sunrise to slumber.

2 drops Basil Linalool Ocimum basilicum

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum


Fret Free

I like this synergy for quieting the mind before bed. It is especially good for when the wheels keep turning and you need support shifting down for a peaceful slumber.

2 drops Frankincense Carteri Boswellia carteri

2 drops Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

1 drop Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana


Zen Zone

I just love this synergy when I need to just let go and drop into the zone for to introspection and meditation. I find it calming, centering, grounding and uplifting. This is one of my go-to’s to help bring me back to balance found in quiet time.

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Blue Cypress Callitris intratropica

1 drop Davana Artemisia pallens

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum




When the Mind Runs Amok

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

With a new year, many of us start a fresh set of intentions for improving our health and wellbeing. So, we count steps walked and clock miles ran. We count calories and reps at the gym or laps in the pool. And, some of us measure our BMI, numbers on the scale, or the inches around our waist.

But, what about counting our breath?

Wait. What? Why?

Ok, let me back up a bit.

We often put the focus squarely and solely on the measures of our physical health. But, ehnancing our emotional and mental health is just as important.

If you follow my blogs, you know I am an advocate for the mind, body, spirit connection and the impact it has on our wellness. When our whole being is in balance, we can find our own optimal level of wellbeing.

Our best of  intentions for improving our vitality can be overtaken by our lack of attention to our state of mind.  For a balanced equation in measuring our wellbeing, the mind most definitely matters. In fact, it is actually mission control.

 So, what does this have to do with counting our breath?

When, our thoughts and emotions are out of balance, it can create havoc with our overall wellbeing. The good news is we actually have a built-in mechanism to take charge of where our mind travels. Simply counting our breath can help rebalance to our being. Coupling our breaths with an aromatic companion can create an even more enhancing experience.


When the Mind Runs Amok

Many of us, myself included, have a tendency to let our minds run away with us. I think of it as the mind running amok. Sometimes, I begin to worry or feel anxious solely because I am imagining all that can go wrong down to worst-case scenario for things that have yet to happen. This is especially true if I am about to experience change or make a big decision. Instead of focusing on faith that all will be well, I can “what if this, and what if that” myself into feeling fissures of fear.

Now, before I go on, I want to clear up any possible confusion. We aren’t talking about a deep sense of worry or anxiousness from significant situational, physiological to psychological issues.

Situational issues might include life’s major stressors such as divorce, job change or loss, financial change, a move, death or serious illness and so on. Physiological imbalances may include chemical imbalances in the mind and body that affect a healthy state of mind to the point of debilitating anxiousness, worry or sadness. Psychological issues could include PTSD, phobias or other mental, emotional impairments.

I have dealt with all of these, and while there are things I could do to help myself,  I also needed the help of qualified health practitioners in partnership with my self-care.

But, what if outside of those significantly serious scenarios, we have a tendency toward worry? To imagine worse case scenario when it doesn’t necessarily exist? Can we support a happier state of mind through self-care? 

The Short Answer is “Yes.”

Most of us know if we are “worriers.”

Worry is exhausting on all levels of our being and can diminish our ability to be well.

When we begin to remove worry as a constant source of distress, our whole being has the ability to rebalance and replenish. If left in a chronic state, continued distress of the mind leads to stress in the body, which can take a toll on our mental and physical health.



You can read more about this in:

Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets

But, by becoming aware of our worry when we are in the moment,  we can take control and switch our mind from autopilot run amok to a conscious state where we may steer our thoughts to back to slow and steady.

And, we can do this simply with two natural tools when we find our thoughts tail spinning for reasons not based in our current reality.

Are you ready? Here’s what we need:

  • Our own natural breath
  • Aromatherapy as an amazing ally


Calming Your Mind in the Moment:  Counting Your Breath and Aromatic Anchors

Let’s start with deep breaths and aromatic anchors. We can create a positive association in the brain by connecting a supportive affirmation with a soothing scent to make an aromatic anchor. In this way, we can quickly send a message to our mind that all is well when we subsequently smell the same scent again. This is a great practice to have when you find yourself wandering into worry and need to flip the switch.

First, we want to create an affirmation that is calming to us when our mind in a state of calamity. An affirmation is a positive thought used to replace a negative thought stated in the present tense. I like to use “all is well,” for example, but it is important to use what works for you.

We can enhance this experience by creating a practice combining our affirmation with counting deep breaths. When I was a child, and my emotions became stormy, my mom always told me to take deep breaths and count to three. Naturally, our mothers were right because we now know the deliberate act of slow, deep breathing sends signals to the brain to turn off the stressed state.

Next, we can choose an aromatic synergy that is soothing to us and supports the positive state of mind we are seeking. For this practice, I recommend either adding your synergy to a personal aromatherapy inhaler or diffuser jewelry so it can be with you to whiff when needed.

This is how it would work all together.

  • Choose your affirmation to repeat during times of worry
  • Choose your aromatic synergy to help soothe your senses
  • Create a personal inhaler
  • Use the following deep breathing exercise when needed


An Aromatic Deep Breathing Exercise:

  1. Hold the inhaler under one nostril while gently holding the other nostril closed.
  2. Begin to repeat your chosen affirmation to yourself.
  3. Inhale your aromatic synergy gently, deeply, and slowly down into the lungs, feeling your belly expand, to the count of 3.
  4. Hold a moment.
  5. Exhale slowly, through the mouth, to the count of 3.
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Repeat on each side if desired.


 Suggestion for Creating Your Own Synergy

This is one of my all-time favorites for letting go of worry and bringing myself back into balance, especially when I find myself in a heightened state after the fact, or when I become aware of it beginning to bubble up from below:

Add the following to a personal aromatherapy inhaler:

6 drops Geranium Bourbon Pelargonium x asperum

6 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

3 drops Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis


Suggestions for Ready Made Synergies

Worry Free – blended to support a relaxed state of mind during times of tension and anxiousness.

Grounded Foundation — helps to soothe, calm and relax when you are feeling distressed by encouraging a sense of safety and security.


Calming Your Mind as as a Practice: Counting Your Breath and Aromatic Meditation

Because thoughts are things that can have real effect on our wellbeing, it is important to learn to drive our own mind, rather than letting it run amok.  This is where meditation can make a great impact.

You read more about the many benefits to our wellbeing in:

M is for Meditation

When we talk about the practice of meditation, it can create a variety of impressions depending on what you’ve heard or experienced. And, for those of us who are worriers, we don’t want the idea of this to be overwhelming.

What we are really talking about is simply a practice of calming the mind and learning to taking control of our thoughts, rather than letting our thoughts control us.

And, this  practice of calming the mind works wonderfully both as a preventive measure and to  be prepared when we become aware of thoughts heading in a wayward direction.

To keep this simple, here we also use the practice of counting the breath and aromatherapy. Here, again, aromatherapy is a great ally by helping to calm the mind, creating a sense of peace, and opening us to a higher state of consciousness.

For meditation, I like to use my diffuser, but you can also use a personal aromatherapy inhaler before you begin.

Seven Simple Steps to Aromatic Meditation

  1. Choose an aromatic blend.
  2. Find a quiet place to practice. Noise canceling ear phones with soothing music may help.
  3. Start your diffuser (for no more than 60 minutes) Or, inhale from your personal aromatherapy inhaler.
  4. Sit in a comfortable position and gently close your eyes.
  5. Simply focus on your natural breath and begin counting each breath.
  6. Thoughts may bubble up.  Just notice them, let them go without emotion or judgement like they are floating on by.
  7. Return to counting your breath.


Suggestions for Creating Your Own Synergy

I like this particular synergy when I am meditating to calm my mind run amok. I find it centering, clarifying and uplifting to support me in seeking a more clear state of mind.

3 drops Grapefruit Pink Citrus x paradisi

1 drop Lemon Citrus x limon

1 drop Buddha Wood Eremophila mitchellii



Suggestions for Ready Made Synergies

Clear Intuition — helps to quiet the conscious mind, encourage introspection and connect to a higher state of consciousness while remaining grounded in peace.

Meditation Synergy Blend — helps to take you into a calmer, more meditative state of mind.


I hope you find these practices combining counting your breath with aromatherapy as a companion helpful in easing your mind when you tend to wander into a state of worry. To truly enhance our overall wellbeing and vitality, it is important to care for our whole being. So, while you are focused on counting your steps to feel more fit, don’t forget to include a practice of counting your breath to create more calm on your journey toward the most fabulous feeling you!

From Surviving to Thriving with the Power of Essential Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

If you’ve followed my blogs, you are likely familiar with my backstory. Unhappily successful executive desperately wants to jump off the rapidly racing treadmill, is too afraid, and literally and figuratively gets run off the road in a life-threatening, life-altering blink-of-an-eye moment. Wakes up, literally and figuratively, to a new reality of re-learning how to move more step-wise through life in search of restoration and revitalization.

 That’s pretty much the skinny. So, why am I rehashing this again? 

Because it has been 10 years since the traumatic event that launched me onto this part of my life’s journey. I mark this milestone as the rebirth of my authentic self. And, truly, it has taken the entirety of that decade to really gain a more profound perspective about this phase of my path.

When we can free ourselves from the muck by re-focusing from the life-altering to the life-affirming, we can shift from surviving to thriving and find our own sense of optimal well-being.

The key to gaining my well-being was getting myself unstuck in order to find my way forward. So, in honor of that process and progress, I want to share what I have learned about getting out of my own way. My hope is that my story helps others who also want to be on their own way after a traumatic event.

 And, here is the short story.

After any type of trauma we can become mired in a mental morass that may keep us from moving forward. When we can free ourselves from the muck by re-focusing from the life-altering to the life-affirming, we can shift from surviving to thriving and find our own sense of optimal well-being.

 So, let’s talk about that.

Trauma affects us on all three levels of our existence: mind, body and spirit.  It rocks our whole being and upends how we know to be in the world. With physical trauma, modern medicine has rendered many miracles, of which I am one.[1] Yet, when we experience a traumatic illness or injury, it challenges the very definition of clinical recovery — returning to our former state of health and functionality. [2]

We contend with acute and chronic changes to our physical state; such as functional limitations; our emotional state, including a sense of loss, fear, anger, stress and anxiety; and our spiritual state, including questions about the very purpose of our existence. And, we may feel challenged about how to integrate these changes into our very core essence.[3]

These are the things I have experienced in my own personal journey. I have also learned they are a commonly shared experience calling for recognition and research in the clinical community in order to better support those who have survived traumatic illness and injury. [4] [5]

When we experience a trauma, we often see our lives as before and after. The thing that happened could be my story if I stopped there. An ending to what I saw as my life before. We see this with folks who define their sense of self by their condition long after the thing that happened.

Moving a step beyond, we can also become mired down in the longer-term aftermath, stopping at the sense of surviving.  What I wanted was to move beyond these first two stages to a sense of thriving. And, it was the thing that happened that pushed me off that perpetual treadmill propelling onto a new trajectory to get unstuck from the muck.

Please understand, while I perceived this perspective early on in my mind, it hasn’t been simply a flip-of-a-switch, but rather a lot of work rewiring into the deep recesses of my being that formerly framed how I lived my life.  For me, that part of my journey has taken me nearly a decade of delving deeper into self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance, to truly let it seep down to the level of my soul.

Getting Stuck in the Surviving Stage.

Because, initially, I didn’t know how to be in my new world, I kept trying to retreat into the old by holding onto my former ways to be who I thought I should be. So, I tried to wrap myself in a super hero cape and carry on. In reality, I was trying to fly with a false security blanket that was not keeping me safe. On the surface I projected a sense of being fine. Sitting just slightly below the surface was a swirling storm of disordered emotions holding back my healing. Here’s just a sample:

Not fully accepting what had happened and what I needed to happen to support my healing: I would push too hard  and too fast to be “before Ellen” and the Universe pushed back delaying my healing through several setbacks. “I don’t have time for this. I need to get back to work.”

A sense of cheating death and potential doom. When every doctor ever looks at my medical history it goes like this: Looks at chart.  Looks at me. Looks at chart again. Looks at me in stunned disbelief. Then, says, “Wow! No one usually survives and/or walks away from that.” Me to self: “Whoa! What the heck? That’s a heavy load and that’s scary.

Which leads to guilt. I did not feel I deserved to fully experience my feelings about loss and fear. “Why me and not others? Others have it worse. I should be grateful and not complain.”

 Then, existential pressure. I felt like I had been given the gift of a do-over and wanted to get it right. As an over achiever,  I handled this like a burden not wanting to mess it up, rather than seeing that experience as a blessing. “Why did I survive? What am I meant to do?” I must make this meaningful.”

So… I just totally disconnected.  My emotions were too messy and scary and I didn’t have the skills to know how to process them. I also did not understand they were part of the package.

I thought I was giving off the vibe of “I’m fine. Really. I am sincerely grateful for what I have and just want to move forward.” However, I learned that I was actually giving off the vibe of numbing out.  Rather than dealing with the mental and spiritual aspects of what happened, I was creating further distress by divorcing myself from what I felt. Because what I felt about what happened was scary and I was the girl who stood on her own two feet.

By focusing solely on my physical needs while neglecting my emotional and spiritual needs, I was creating a fragmentation in caring for my whole person. I was fighting the forces of nature and the factors of my own functional facility. And, I was trying to get back on the treadmill I knew, rather than facing the future.

My fear of moving forward caused me to get worse, not better. This literally caused a  repetitive replay of taking one step forward and two steps back in my functional ability. Treading water. Trying to survive. Wanting more, but not seeing how that was possible. What I wasn’t seeing was how I was standing in my own way, based on what I believed.

And then, the traumatic event finally went from breakdown to breakthrough. But, rather than happening after the immediate injury, it happened in an instant two years later.

In my struggle to push back and perform at previous levels from before, I hurt myself significantly for the second time in two years after the initial accident. It was enough to scare my rehabilitation specialists. The miracle workers had successfully put my body back together three times, and each incident had its own challenges. This time, while I had been slow to grasp the gravity of my situation, I was finally scared straight.

That was my “aha” moment: It was time to seek support for my mind and spirit, as well as my body, so that my whole being could heal.

This is what I learned.

While I wanted to keep a positive outlook, I was not dealing with the challenging emotions associated with the trauma because I believed they served no purpose. I thought they would drag me back, but in actuality, they were causing me to be stuck.

With the help of a gifted healer to support my mental, emotional and spiritual needs, I learned what you believe and what you feel are different tracks of your being. One is an aspect of your mental state and the other arises from your emotional state. When they are not in alignment, it can create a sense of dissonance or disharmony.

Because of my inability to cope, my mind managed to disconnect from the trauma that had occurred, creating a state of dissociation. I wasn’t experiencing my feelings, but they were there below the surface creating significant disturbances.

I learned how to begin to untangle the two. I learned that life-long beliefs could be changed, especially if they are keeping us unhealthy. And, I learned to experience my negative emotions while feeling safe so they could be exorcised.

Perhaps, most significantly, I learned when we try to recover our old life, to the day before the thing happened, we are trying to go backward. This keeps us stuck in the surviving stage, or even relapsing further as I did in the thing-that-happened stage. But, when we choose to reclaim our lives, we can begin to move forward from surviving to thriving.
Moving from Surviving to Thriving

The clinical miracle workers had worked their magic. But I wanted to more fully experience reclaiming my life, even if I moved forward by fractions.

The mind matters. Much of what was holding me back was myself in my own mind. Letting go of negative thought patterns and self-limiting belief systems helps liberate our spirits and better supports the ability of our bodies.

Engaging in conscious wellness has been vital to restoring  whole-being balance. When our mind, body, and spirit are in balance we can better reclaim our lives. Holistic healing arts such as yoga, massage, energy work, acupuncture, meditation and aromatherapy have played a vital role in bridging the span between the limits of functional recovery and the unlimited potential of reaching my own level of optimal well-being.

Like many aspects of tending to our well-being, this has been a practice grounded in awareness and an ongoing series of conscious choices about my mindset one step after the next. And I have learned to call in the professional and personal support as needed all along the way.

The closer I came to mastering my mind, the easier it became to release the shackles that bound me from flying free. My outlook became sunnier, my emotions more centered. Work flowed more freely, and I was able to do more physically.

Where there was once resistance to the changes from fear, there is now more resilience to changes on the go, allowing me to bend and bounce while I re-balance and grow.

But, let me be real here. It has taken me almost 10 years to own my pathway. And that includes the before the thing that happened, the thing that happened, and the after the thing that happened as my journey in its entirety so far.

I don’t want to give the impression “I’ve arrived,” or I have reached “enlightenment.” I am just hoping to leave some lights on for others along the way from what I’ve learned so far. What I can say for sure: Learning these lessons has helped me realize my potential and my purpose and created a greater sense of wholeness and health.

Aromatherapy as an Essential Companion

Today, I am grateful I am able to blend my professional and personal passions with aromatherapy to create a synergy of support for myself, as well as others.

Aromatherapy came into my life many years ago in the “before” part of my journey creating the gateway to accessing natural healing arts.  Since then, aromatherapy has been a constant companion in my self-care. When the “after” came, especially after my “aha” moment, I incorporated aromatherapy in my healing journey, every step of the way, to help bridge that the gap in moving forward from surviving to thriving.

Aromatic essences excel in supporting challenging mental states while soothing the emotions. They can help to ease discomfort experienced in the physical body. And, they can help restore the spirit.  Most significantly, aromatherapy blends wonderfully into all of my self-care and self-balancing practices expanding the essential experience.

Here are just a few links you might find helpful about how to incorporate aromatherapy in your healing journey:

Food for Thought

Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets

M is for Meditation

An Achilles Heel to Healing

What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health

What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy

Chakra Synergies for Self Care

Essential Oil Well-being: Be Gentle, Be Generous, Be Grateful

New You from the Inside Out

And, here is a synergy to especially support moving forward from Surviving to Thriving

For me, this synergy embodies all the attributes I seek in moving from surviving to thriving. It can be used to support us in letting go of what was, assist us in moving forward to reclaim our lives, and sustain us in our capacity to thrive.

This can be inhaled by placing in a diffuser, or a personal inhaler. Because the scent resonates so deeply with me, I also like to dilute it to 2% in a 10 ml roller ball bottle and wear it on my pulse points to gently waft over me as my own personal restorative perfume.


2 drops Black Pepper Piper nigrum

1 drop Sandalwood Indian Santalum album

1 drop Orange Blood Citrus sinensis

1 drop Peru Balsam Myroxylon balsamum

The intention of this synergy is to help us restore our overall sense of balance and well-being. It helps us to ground, strengthen and replenish our spirits while encouraging a sense of peace, calm and serenity for the mind. It uplifts the heart and promotes a sense acceptance, compassion and  optimism.

It supports the clearing of blocked energy and encourages healing on all levels of our being. And it helps us let go of challenging emotions such as fear, anger and frustration while promoting a sense of  courage, self-confidence and self-empowerment.

From my heart to yours, I wish you peace and empowerment on your journey from surviving to thriving.  May your whole being thrive in the light of your own personal optimal well-being.



Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

[1] The National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 29 Apr. 2009,

[2] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[3] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[4] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[5] The National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 29 Apr. 2009,

Essential Oil Well-being: Be Gentle, Be Generous, Be Grateful

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Essential well-being. Where mind, body, and spirit meet aromatherapy.

Essential Wellbeing: Where mind, body and spirit meet aromatherapy.

As you may know, from reading my previous blogs, the catalyst for my own healing journey started with a traumatic injury. I mention this here because, in retrospect, there is actually a prequel to that moment in time.

Prior to the accident, I did not live a healthy life. I lived the idea of the “American Dream.” Marriage, dream house, well-educated, big job, nice car, travel to amazing places. Regardless of what it took for me, and what it took out of me, I persisted in how life was “meant to be.”

This led to living life in a persistently unhealthy way.

While I wasn’t always unhappy, the underlying threads holding together the fabric of my health were fraying.  Always battling my weight. Never enough sleep. Not enough energy for physical activity. No time for creative outlets. False energy in caffeine and sugar to keep up the go, go, go pace. And, I was living in a chronic state of stress to where I often didn’t even notice it wasn’t normal. As a result, I was also living with multiple chronic conditions caused by inflammation and autoimmune responses that my physicians at the highest levels of academic medicine couldn’t keep in check.

 I was heading for a health crisis.

One of my most insightful physicians led the integrative medicine department at the university medical center where I worked. She explained the connections between my mind, body and spirit, their impact on my health, and the effects of the life I was living on my whole being. She pushed me to make changes and warned of an imminent and more intensive break down to my health. This was also the physician who first incorporated aromatherapy into my wellness plan when she prescribed the sleep hygiene routine with lavender discussed in Slipping Into Slumber.

Lavender essential oil and salt baths can help relax the senses.

Newly divorced, and dealing with a new boss creating a hostile work environment, I didn’t heed her warnings. I couldn’t see how to make changes while my senses remained in fight or flight status and I continued to flail out of fear of failure. What I didn’t realize was I was failing myself, and my health was failing because of my inability to focus on feeling well. And then, I received word that I would require urgent surgery for what seemed an unexpected issue with an extended recovery period. During that rest period, I came to the conclusion that the solution was to simply surgically remove everything else that was unhealthy and, then, I would be well.

I was wrong.

It was indeed critical that I extricate myself from the influences of the extreme external stressors such as the ex-husband from an emotionally abusive marriage, the current hostile job environment, and the health issue requiring surgery. But what I failed to realize was the work that remained within in order to address the aftermath, as well as to correct my course so I could become well. So, l continued dashing down my life path, which I thought I had cleared of ongoing danger, until the night a horse ran right across my literal path as I drove down a dark and rainy road.

That was the catalyst that literally and figuratively hurtled me off my path that night. With it came the realization I had received the gift of a “do-over.” What I knew for sure was I wanted to do whatever it took to enhance my overall well-being. And, so, while I worked on my physical rehabilitation, I learned I also needed to work on my mind and spirit to truly begin to walk in wellness.

Working from Within

For me, there was no single “aha” moment of revelation illuminating the way in living color while working in those areas of my being that lie beneath. Instead, there has been exploration, experience and evolving — often with gifted healers to help guide the way. The process is active and it is intentional. It can take constant adjustment, like standing in a boat riding the waves, sometimes standing still, sometimes gently rocking, and sometimes getting tossed about.

Plant Therapy essential oils help heal from within.

I also learned there is no arrival at state of perfection in the practice of conscious wellness. Instead, I see the path toward optimal well-being as state of awareness in which we make a series of choices about what works best for us in mindful moments that make needed self-care a priority. An approach that nourishes our mind, body and spirit so that our whole being can flourish by bringing ourselves into a better state of balance.

In addition to the conventional care I required, I added many natural healing techniques to enhance the healing process for my whole being. Massage, gentle yoga, acupuncture, meditation, energy work, and of course, aromatherapy. I continue with these practices today to help sustain my well-being, and help me back on course when I wander off. And, in many ways I much healthier than I was in the years “before.”

Growing Well

As I continue to walk this path, what has came to me most recently is that rather than “getting well,” I am “growing well.”

Like in nature, essential oils can help people grow well. And, this is an important distinction. Rather than passively waiting for a return to health, growing well is a more active, engaged and empowered process in my healing journey. It implies the intention of tending to yourself. Tilling deeper into the soil to turn over old thought patterns and remove blocks that are depleting our well-being. Plant and nourish new seeds so your whole being can better flourish.

In nature, plants produce essential oils to support their ability to flourish. We can incorporate the natural gifts of these aromatic essences into our own self-care routines to support our own ability to grow well. On its own, aromatherapy shines in supporting our practice of growing well by nurturing our mind and nourishing our spirit. Incorporated into our self-care routines, aromatic essences create a synergy that enhances and expands the experience.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding which practices work for you. What is important is finding what fits best for your unique needs.

If you are looking for some inspiration, you might like to start with the articles linked below. Each suggests some self care routines synergistically supported by aromatherapy.

Regardless of which road you choose to travel toward growing well, one thing I have learned for sure:  It is vital to tend to yourself with loving care. Like the planting of new seeds, we reap what we sow, and what we want is well-being that grows in a nourished and balanced environment, sprouting from a nurtured mind and spirit.

With this in mind, I have outlined below what I have come to call “My Three Be G’s for Growing Well” along with some aromatherapy options that you may consider to support you in sustaining that space for yourself.

My Three Be G’s for Growing Well

Be Gentle

  • Let go of expectation — don’t set time frames, measurements, or any other types of metrics to beat. If you need to see how far you have come, you can take a look back to where you started.
  • Invite, don’t push — be at peace with yourself, not at war.
  • Be resilient — be soft enough in your stance; flex, bend, and bounce back. 

Be Generous

  • Give yourself the gift of time for self-care and for the process to play out. Don’t set a timer on your forward progress.
  • Self-care is not selfish. It is putting on your own oxygen mask first to be prepared for what comes and where you are needed next.
  • You are a gift and you have gifts to share. Being well enough to share your gifts also allows you to be in your purpose.

Be Grateful 

  • Rather than battle your body, be grateful for what it endures on your behalf. Thank yourself, don’t berate yourself.
  • Frustration and irritation create blocks in the road.
  • Being sidelined by illness or injury is never a blessing. But, the time created can be used to re-calibrate, restore and renew. Use it well.

Be Gentle, Be Generous and Be Grateful can serve as affirmations to gently remind ourselves to come back to a positive place in our journey to grow well. When we combine these with aromatherapy, we can create an aromatic anchor to help bring us back when we find we have wandered away simply by inhaling our chosen scent. For this reason, and as always, it is important to choose what you feel best supports your own sensibilities.

When supporting emotional or spiritual needs, inhalation is the best approach. You could add 15 drops to a personal aromatherapy inhaler, add about 5 drops per 100 mL of water to your diffuser, add 1 or 2 drops total to aromatherapy jewelry, or create up to a 2% dilution and apply to pulse points with a roller bottle to smell (6 drops essential oils to 10 ml carrier oil).

I have included a recipe below, as well as some ready-made synergies to help inspire you on your way as you choose your own path to growing well.

A Suggested Synergy to Make:

Flourishing Spirit

3 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

1 drop Elemi Canarium luzonicum

1 drop Spearmint Mentha spicata

Evoking the sweetness of life, Flourishing Spirit can create a feeling of infusing the spirit with an expansive sense of wellbeing. Soothing, calming and uplifting, the scent can support feelings contentment and compassion while gently encouraging balance to mind, body and spirit to fortify our vitality and instill a sense of renewed vibrancy.

Cautions: None known when diluted properly.  It is recommended that spearmint be diluted to 1.7% or less when applied topically on its own. For purposes of this blend, you will be well within range if the total blend is diluted 2% as recommended for topical application.

Plant Therapy's Chakra Synergy essential oils promote balance, inner peace and happiness. Or, Choose a Ready Made Synergy:

Loving Compassion — From Plant Therapy’s Chakra Synergy line, this comforting and calming synergy helps to nourish the heart center and spirit. This scent invites positive energy and encourages a joyful outlook promoting unconditional love, compassion and acceptance, including for ourselves.

Calming the Child — a staff and customer favorite from the KidSafe® line, this synergy is fantastic for folks of all ages in need of some soothing to the senses. Calming and uplifting, this synergy supports a sense of serenity with its happy, sweet scent.

Tell us what you think! How do you intend to: Be Gentle, Be Generous and Be Grateful? Let us know in the comments below. 

New Year, New You — Resolutions From the Inside Out

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Happy New Year!

If you are like me, the advent of a new year brings the desire for a fresh start. New Year, New You!

Tradition and popular culture tell us to set new goals and go, go, go! But, many of us find our resolutions lose our attention until the best of our intentions melt away with the winter snow.


Most often, our resolutions revolve around the most surface level of our beings — our physicality and our personality. On a physical level we often focus on our looks and fitness. Exercise more. Eat better. Lose weight. On a personality level, we might focus on better behaviors. Be kinder. Be more patient. Listen more.

While the desire and success of these outcomes are worthwhile, I believe we need to start by going below the surface, where our longer-term well-being is more deeply rooted within our inner selves. When we start from the inside out, we support whole being by removing blocks to our better selves.

Wait… What?

Our physicality and our personality are often the most visible to ourselves and others, so it can feel natural to want to start there. But, this can be akin to trying to tune up your car’s transmission by changing the tires.

When we start with making over our outward selves, we may be ignoring issues influencing us from within.  Left to fester, these concerns can manifest as symptoms we experience more externally.

If you ignore checking and changing the oil in your car’s engine, eventually you are going to run into transmission trouble. This is true with our own innermost workings as well.

So, I suggest switching gears. Instead of focusing first on resolutions for regimens to polish up our outsides, let’s start by setting our intentions to restore our sense of vibrancy from the inside out by releasing our natural energy flow.

Tuning In and Tuning Up our Chakras

In holistic approaches to care, we talk about mind, body and spirit. Together, these three interconnected aspects of our selves comprise our whole being and impact our overall well-being.

When we are working with the “spirit” part of our being, we can also refer to that as our subtle body. Our subtle body is that most amorphous part of our being. It includes our natural energy flow which we may be considered as our our life force. It is what animates us and brings a sense of vitality and vibrancy when we are in balance.

When this vital balance to our natural energy flow is disrupted by stress, negative thinking,  wounds or traumas, it can bog down and create blocks. Left over the long-term, these blocks can begin to impact our overall well-being.

One way of tuning in to our natural energy flow is through the chakra system which comes to us from ancient Ayurvedic medicine and modern energy balancing techniques. From this perspective, we have 7 major chakras aligned along our spine located in ascending order from base to crown. Each chakra  intersects with specific functions of our mind and body.

These chakras, which translate to “wheel” take in energy and move it throughout our beings as they turn. Our overall well-being depends on these chakras being open, and their ability to  move energy through a pathway of freely flowing open channels from one location to the next.

This state of being in balance supports our bodies’ own natural healing mechanisms. When our chakras are out of balance, it can bog down our vibrancy and sense of vitality leaving us feeling flat in mind and body. Disruptions in our energy flow, left unchecked, can create blockages that affect our ability to bounce back into a state well-being eventually appearing as physical concerns and conditions.

The good news is we have the ability to tune in and tune up by adding some self-balancing technique to our self-care routines.

Simple Ways to Start

This blog is not intended to deal with the deepest of imbalances, but rather to introduce you to some simple steps to get us started .  Like aromatherapy, the study of our chakra system and its effects on our wellness can be an endless exploration of study — an exciting one that I encourage, if it interests you.

What we want to do here, is to begin by checking under our hood to see where we might need to nourish and replenish our sense of vitality. If we can do a tune-up ourselves, great! But if there are more serious issues, it is always worth considering professional support.

Instead of waging war with our superficial selves, we are going to practice peace within our innermost selves. To tune into our own inner workings, we are going to look at some common imbalances with each chakra, see if they might inspire our own inner awareness, and add some simple self-balancing techniques.

Aromatherapy combined with practices to be present and purposeful in calming the mind, body and spirit, can create a wonderful synergy to enhance our experience in restoring our sense of balance, harmony and well-being within our whole being.

In this practice of subtle aromatherapy we use aromatic essences to help support balance in our natural energy flow by choosing those that can resonate with certain chakras . You can read our previous blog, “What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy” for more detailed information.

I hope this information will inspire you in getting started with a new and better you from the inside out, while encouraging you to continue your exploration to enhancing your wellness from within.

Choosing a Synergy to Support Your Chakras

When you embark on an expanded study of subtle aromatherapy, you will find many ways to choose essential oils to enhance balance in your chakra system.

For the beginner, those on the go, and experienced practitioners alike, Plant Therapy offers the Chakra Synergy Essential Oils  for ease in accessing your practice.  Each synergy was created with the intention of supporting balance in for each of the unique chakras.

To invite inspiration and intuition, I have offered some examples below of experiences so common they get expressed in our everyday language. These are often outward reflections of an inner imbalance, though we may not have thought of them that way.

If you find these resonate with your experience,  you will find the chakra most often associated with these concerns, as well as suggested synergies and self-balancing practices. Please keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, but simply a guidepost to start you on your own exploration through introspection and greater self-awareness.

Click to Download “Choosing a Chakra Synergy Chart”

“She is such a worry wart.”

 Possible Imbalance: 1st Chakra/Root

Location: Base of Spine

In Balance: a sense safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling grounded and present in our body.

Synergy: Grounded Foundation

Intention: Use to help ground, soothe, calm and relax when you are feeling disconnected and distressed. Helps to create a sense of security, protection and hope.


“I get bad vibes from her.”

Possible Imbalance: 2nd Chakra/Sacral

Location: Lower Abdomen

In Balance: Ability to experience emotional security, passion and pleasure in creative expression and connection to others.

Synergy: Joyful Creation

Intention: Encourages harmony, warmth, and enthusiasm in relationships. Helps to clear energetic blocks related to relationships and creative expression.


“She doesn’t stands up for herself.”  

Possible Imbalance: 3rd Chakra/Solar Plexus

Location: Solar Plexus

In Balance: Sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence while retaining warmth and graciousness toward others.

Synergy: Self Manifestation

Intention: Strengthens our sense of self-empowerment with enthusiasm, stamina and motivation. Nourishes our sense of self-worth with courage, confidence and optimism.


“She is cold-hearted.”

Possible Imbalance: 4th Chakra/Heart

Location: Center of Breast Bone

In Balance: Open to love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion for self and others

Synergy: Loving Compassion

Intention: Comforting and calming, this synergy helps to ease wounds of the heart and nourish the spirit. Promotes unconditional love for self and others with compassion and acceptance.


“She sounds so phony.”  

Possible Imbalance: 5th Chakra/Throat

Location: Center of Throat

In Balance Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

Synergy: True Expression

Intention: Use this synergy to support clear communication in integrity with yourself and others. Helps to connect to our inner essence, as well as higher consciousness, so that we may know and outwardly express our authentic selves through truth.


“She has no vision.”

Possible Imbalance: 6th Chakra/Throat

Location: Center of Throat

In Balance: Ability to clearly “see” conceptually and symbolically through intuition, perception, visualization and imagination.

Synergy: Clear Intuition

Intention: Use this synergy to quiet the conscious mind and encourage introspection. Promotes the ability to “clearly see” through intuition, insights and clarity. Invites creation energy and inspires possibility.


“She seems to have lost her way.”

Possible Imbalance: 7th Chakra/Crown

Location: Top of Head

In Balance: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self while remaining firmly grounded.

Synergy: Higher Connection

Intention: Use to help strengthen your purpose and ability to connect to higher spiritual consciousness. Gently encourages strength in our spiritual growth to know greater love and deeper purpose.


Choose a Mindfulness Practice

Subtle aromatherapy works best in combination with mindfulness practices to help bring balance to our well-being.  You may wish to  choose from these practices below, or perhaps you already have something that works best for you.

Intentionssetting a clear purpose and using your synergy with that purpose in mind.

 Suggested Usage: direct inhalation


Affirmationsreplacing negative thoughts positive thoughts in the present tense

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation, anointing


Visualization – using your mind’s eye to create a healing image on which to focus.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing


Meditationcalming the conscious mind to allow for inward introspection and higher information

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing


Choose a Method of Application

Once you have chosen your chakra to bring into balance, selected your synergy for support, and focused on a practice to bring balance, it is important how best to integrate your aromatic essences to enhance your experience.

You will find below some suggested methods of application for the chakra synergies in combination with each mindfulness practice, but feel free to choose what works best for you.

Because you are working with your spirit, or subtle body, we recommend you use these synergies at much less intensity than you would for your emotional and physical needs so as not to overwhelm the senses.

Inhalation Simply add 1 drop to a tissue or cotton ball, aromatherapy jewelry, a few drops to your diffuser, or gently breathe in from personal aroma inhaler.

Topical Application – dilute to 1% in jojoba carrier oil or organic fractionated coconut carrier oil. You may wish to anoint your chakra pulse points, or nearby areas of the body. For the first chakra, you may use the soles of the feet and/or touch behind the knees.

Combination – add drops diluted to 1% to the hands and then anoint the chakra, pulse point or body area desired. Then, bring the hands up to inhale and relax into a mindful balancing practice.

Ellen’s Top 5 Essential Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Aromatherapy charged into my world and changed my trajectory in 1999 when a speaker from a local natural living boutique in New Orleans gave a talk at a women’s meeting I attended. She presented us each with a sample of bath salts blended with essential oils.

I can’t remember the synergy, but I can recall the scent exactly. I kept opening the little zip-top bag and sniffing it every few seconds throughout the rest of the presentation — so much so, that my friends were all having quite a laugh at me. But I just couldn’t stop. I found it absolutely intoxicating and I was hooked.

I visited her shop soon after and picked up some basic essential oils with handouts about how to use them. I still have each of those papers to this day and realized later I was blessed to begin my education with information from Jeanne Rose, one of the most respected aromatherapy pioneers in the United States.

From there, I sought out some more in-depth reputable references and came across Valerie Cooksley’s “Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Healing and Essential Oils” published in 1996. The book is now a classic from another pioneer and current educator. Though I have her updated book, I cannot bear to part with the original. Dog-eared, splattered, marked up in the margins with pages falling out — this guidebook has served me well starting out as home enthusiast and onward to this day.

Aromatherapy became my gateway into the natural healing arts. I was so amazed at how well the recipes for remedies worked, when nothing else would, that it stoked my hunger to know even more to practice “some day.”  That some day came sooner than expected. After spending 22 years in healthcare and higher education administration and wanting to get out, but not knowing how,  I experienced a life-threatening and altering accident. In addition to the critical traditional medical care I needed, I also accessed the natural healing arts to enhance my overall wellbeing and vitality.

While being ill or injured is never a blessing, I learned if you allow it, breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. For me it was a rebirth. Now, finally free from the treadmill,  I set out on a forward journey to reclaim my life and my authentic self. That process opened the pathway to pursue my passions personally and professionally.

I completed an intensive program in energy medicine and a professional practitioner program in aromatherapy. I received my license to touch in therapeutic bodywork, with an added emphasis in reflexology. And, I became certified as a holistic health coach. My informal and formal learning, along with my experience, allowed me to bring together and put into practice my life-long interests in the mind, body, and spirit connection, and its impact on our well-being.

Today, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Plant Therapy aromatherapy team where I can live out my purpose and passion for helping others. I love to write, teach, and blend and I am blessed that I have the opportunity to express myself in these ways and more.

My aromatic passions are subtle aromatherapy (working with aromatherapy for the spirit) as well as conscious wellness (the mind, body, and spirit connection). So, naturally, when I was asked about My Top Five Favorite Essential Oils, I immediately chose the following based on how they make me feel.

Bergamot Citrus bergamia – this was love at first smell. It was the oil of all oils that got me hooked. To me, it has a wonderful citrus scent; more tart than orange, but more sweet than lemon. I find it uplifting, balancing, soothing, and joyful. It is often described as a ray of sunshine. As a sun seeker for my spirit, this is my go-to in so many synergies. Based on its therapeutic properties, this little burst of joy is also a powerhouse for so many concerns of mind, body, and spirit.

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans – oh my goodness, if you read my recipes, you will see this makes almost as many appearances as Bergamot. In fact, the two together are lovely. And, what is not to love? It smells softly and sweetly divine and has practically replaced Eucalyptus and Tea Tree in so many of my blends, but with a much more gentle and inviting scent. I especially love it for energy work as it helps to release deep-seated emotional patterns and blocks. I use this in so many blends as it is uniquely balanced and helps to bring that balance to our synergies and our selves.

Take the Ache Away

Those who know me, know how much I love my aromatic baths to restore and rebalance my whole being before bedtime.  Here is one of my best bath blends combining two of my favorite essential oils mentioned so far. I find this blend to be very calming, soothing, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit, especially when experiencing the effects of nervous tension. It is also excellent for soaking away soreness, stiffness, and knots, as well as aches in the muscles and joints.

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

1-2 tablespoons unscented, natural body wash

1/2 cup Epsom Salts

Thoroughly combine essential oils with body wash. Add Epsom salts and mix. Pour under warm running water in the bath. Enjoy.


Continuing on with my list of favorite essential oils…

Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora – the first time I smelled this beauty, I just wanted to bathe in it. So, I did. Literally (in an appropriate blend of course). What a wonderful addition to a warm bath blend to prepare for bedtime by relaxing and relieving nervous tension. In fact, immersion in an aromatic bath remains my favorite way to experience Ho Wood as it soothes the body and the mind simultaneously. When I smell this, all is well no matter what else is happening.

Rhododendron* Rhododendron anthopogon – with my first whiff of Rhododendron, I immediately felt a sense of balance in my whole being. It became an immediate favorite, especially for uses in synergies for the spirit. I am not a fan of strongly scented florals, and this fills the bill for my sensibilities. This is such a well-rounded essential oil with so many uses for mind, body, and spirit. But, I also appreciate how well it plays nice with others.  It just adds that special something to so many synergies helping to bring it all into balance.

*Rhododendron was offered as a Plant Therapy Oil of the Month.  Check back to see if it has been added to inventory for general sale. 

Sandalwood Indian and Sandalwood Australian Santalum album and Santalum spicatum – to me, the scent of Sandalwood is so softly, sweetly, spicy, and intoxicatingly exotic to the senses. I especially love Sandalwood Indian, but also really enjoy Sandalwood Australian. The first I save for special use and the second I use more freely. This is the only essential oil that blisses me out more than Ho Wood. Just a drop and I am transported into a place of deep peace. Considered sacred in spiritual traditions, Sandalwood is my go-to for grounding and quieting the mind, making it the perfect partner for meditation.

Bliss Blend

This is another favorite bath blend using two more of my favorite essential oils before bedtime. This blend is very calming to the mind, relaxing to the body, and soothing to the spirit. It helps me to find a sense of inner peace before placing my head on the pillow for the night.

2 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

2 drops Kunzea Kunzea ambigua

1 drop Sandalwood Australian Santalum spicatum

1-2 tablespoons unscented natural body wash

1/2 cup Epsom Salts

Thoroughly combine essential oils with body wash. Add Epsom salts and mix. Pour under warm running water in the bath. Enjoy.

Stay tuned for more of our Aromatherapists’ Top 5 Picks!


Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #4

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

During this season of celebration, we take time for giving and gathering with loved ones.

But there’s a problem:  At the same time, it can also mean less time for respite and restoration of ourselves, leading to a sense of depletion. Yet, if we can give ourselves the time to gather our energy, we can gain a much greater sense of well-being, even during the hustle and bustle.

Improve You Life in Just 20 Minutes?

Meditation allows us that necessary timeout to calm our conscious mind and tap into our core essence so that we may nourish ourselves from our own inner source of strength. Research has shown just 20 minutes a day can have a positive impact on our health, down to the genetic level, by boosting the immune response and reducing the inflammation response which are both linked to stress.  Even short, single sessions yield positive results.[1] You may wish to read “M Is For Meditation” for more about the positive effects of meditation and how to get started with some simple steps.

I can’t emphasize this enough:  

Aromatherapy excels in helping to calm the mind and soothe the spirit, making it a perfect partner for meditation. In thinking about a special synergy for this season, I was inspired by the gifts of the Magi. Also known as wise men, who hailed from the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, Magi make appearances in ancient texts across many spiritual traditions.[2] The story, of course, with which we are most familiar this time of year is the visit of the Magi to Jesus upon his birth to present the precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Inspired by these historically prized offerings, this modern-day synergy of aromatic essences is rich in scent for the spirit.

~ Meditation of the Magi ~

2 drops Davana (Gold) Artemisia pallens

2 drops Myrrh Commiphora myrrha

1 drop Frankincense Carteri CO2 Boswellia carteri


Why Do These Oils Matter? 

The aromatics of the essences in this synergy have been used throughout time in sacred ceremonies across many spiritual traditions. This synergy is calming to the conscious mind while supporting introspection, meditation and prayer, and restoration of our mind, body, and spirit. These essences can support us in strengthening our spiritual selves through connection to higher consciousness and higher information while keeping us grounded in our bodies.

Use this synergy according to your personal preference. For inhalation, add 5 drops to a Diffuser, 15 drops to an Aromatherapy Inhaler, or 1 drop to an Aromatherapy Diffuser Locket.

You may also choose to apply topically as an anointing blend or perfume creating a 1-2% dilution (3-6 drops) in 10 ml rollerball bottle with Jojoba Carrier Oil or carrier oil of your choice.

Cautions: Not KidSafe®. Avoid during breastfeeding and pregnancy.



Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #4


Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. CreateSpace, 2015.

Lawless, Julia. Aromatherapy and the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2014. Kindle Edition.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: a Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. New World Library, 2016.

[1] Quinn, Corina. “Reset Your Health.” Yoga Journal June 2014: 22.

[2] “Magi.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Aug. 2017,


Creating An Aromatherapy Life Crisis Care Kit

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

In a recent blog, “Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms,” we discussed the many ways to help sustain our inner world when storms crop up creating crisis in our external environment.

As you may recall, with Hurricane Irma’s impending arrival, I evacuated within a small window of opportunity, northward and inland from my home on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Given the short time frame, and the need to travel lightly, I only brought with me what felt most necessary for sustaining life away from home, and for starting over should my home be irretrievably impacted. Fortunately, the worst did not come to pass.

When weathering life’s storms, aromatherapy can play a significant supporting role in helping you get through. It can be especially profound for our mental and emotional states as we navigate the uncertain road ahead. You may be wondering what I brought along from my aromatherapy stock and supplies. I promised to answer that question here in its own blog and the answers may surprise you.

As an aromatherapy practitioner, with professional training, I have a large stock of essential oils and extracts. Part of my role is not only to create synergies, but also to blend on demand to support what is needed to help bring balance to mind, body and spirit.

Like you, I treasure my supply and the role each and every aromatic essence plays in supporting our wellness. I also trust my instinct and ability to create restorative remedies. But, when push came to shove, I had two hours and 2 suitcases to take what I needed overall from my home on the road.

What to take from my aromatherapy stash to support myself and others? With the clock ticking down, there was no way to bring everything. And, bringing everything would not only bog me down, it wouldn’t be beneficial.

When you are experiencing crisis, it can leave you feeling drained and stressed. And, with so many details to handle, it can make it hard to focus. If you are also on the road and on the run, recalling your well worn recipes under duress can be difficult. And, the possibility of no power could create a recipe for disaster.

One of the items getting carried into the car was a standard, portable First Aid Kit with bandages and other supplies. That inspired me to create a companion Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit unique to this situation.

And, it was imperative that I keep it simple.

In a moment of clarity, I realized I had on hand many of Plant Therapy’s synergies, as well as blendable bases for dilution, that I could grab to go as a readily available and accessible solution.

I created this Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit to support the uniques needs and uncertainties for this particular situation.  I did not know if we would make it all the way to Atlanta, or how long it would take. I didn’t know what conditions we would find on the road, or what the weather conditions would be along the way and after we arrived. I  didn’t know how long I would be away. What I did know was these selections would allow me to support most situations for myself and others as the needs arose.


Neutral Carriers for Blending

4 oz Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil

8 oz Olive Lotion – Unscented Base

4 oz Organic Healing Balm

4 oz Castile Soap Unscented

4 oz Aloe Vera Jelly Unscented

4 oz  Neutral Grain Alcohol (Everclear) 151 Proof


Containers and Other Supplies

Personal Aromatherapy Inhalers

1 oz PET Plastic bottles

1 oz PET Plastic jars

Disposable gloves

Blank Labels


Pre-Blended Synergies 

These are the synergies I chose especially to help soothe mind and body. While I packed these synergies specific to this situation,  in general, these selections could support the stressors brought by many of life’s storms.  Just be sure you are familiar with any cautions the synergies might carry and any contraindications you or others may have due to your unique health situations. Note: If you have children, you could substitute KidSafe synergies for use for both the little ones and adults alike. 

You may note that some of these synergies may overlap slightly in the type of support they offer. I wanted a choice of options for myself and others not knowing which might work best in unknown situations, as well as the option to rotate.

Blues Buster ™ — to uplift my mood and support my emotional wellbeing

Brain Aid ™ — to help clear brain fog when I needed to focus

Citrus Burst ™ — uplifting and refreshing to the senses and the air

DiGiZen ™ — for an upset tummy when life has you outside of your nourishing norms

Germ Fighter® — when life has knocked you off base, your immune system needs support from seasonal threats

Invigor Aid ™ — help for fighting fatigue from sleepless night and relentless tension

Let It Go ™ — because sometimes you literally have to lock the door, leave your life behind, and go

Meditation ™ — to calm the conscious mind and clear the way for contemplation

Muscle Aid ™ — to soothe those sore, achy muscles that come from over exertion

Rapid Relief ™ — to reduce the perception of pain when your body feels wrecked

Relax ™ — for both body and mind even in the midst of chaos

Sleep Aid ™ — just a little extra support to slip into slumber

Tension Relief ™ — to tackle tension around the head and neck

Tranquil ™ — to help reduce a sense of anxiousness

Worry Free ™ — to calm, comfort and help reduce nervous tension


All items were placed in self-sealing plastic bags, and then, inside an insulated, soft sided portable cooler for ease in carrying and in case we hit heavy rains or flooding. This also created a place for everything and having everything in its own place so I could easily access what I needed time and again while my mind was in a muddle.

May your own journey be smooth sailing. Should you find yourself weathering a life storm, I hope you may take inspiration for creating your own Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit unique for your own needs.

Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

I began the drafting this post from Atlanta, Georgia where I evacuated from my home on the Gulf Coast of Florida, which was located in the path of historic Hurricane Irma. As I finish this blog more than a month later, I am grateful to have escaped all but some displacement, stress and inconveniences.

Others were not as fortunate, and as I finish this blog there are still many suffering not only from Irma, but also from Harvey and Maria.  And, while the East has been drenched, the West has been parched with folks there suffering terribly from the raging wildfires. I want to acknowledge their significantly more serious situations and note that I am simply sharing what I learned from my own personal experience in the hope that it may help should your life’s journey suddenly become stormy. As always, with a life crisis, do not hesitate to access professional support as needed.

While I have been exposed to hurricanes, and hurricane season, for a number of years (a Floridian fact of life) this one felt different. Irma intensified quickly and, then, she didn’t set her compass for a distinct location until the last minute. Instead, she led us on a wild chase as we raced to do what we could and must to avoid her destructive forces from a direct hit of unknown determination.

When you live in certain locations, planning and preparing for the possibility of a hurricane comes with the territory. But, for myself, and for many, the intensity and unpredictability of Irma caused chaos creating a storm within us mirroring the force of nature coming at us.

Two critical lessons I have learned about the healing process after a crisis both start from the inside out.

The first practice is to pause to restore and rebalance. The other is to savor that solitude so I may hear my soul speak.

It is only in this quiet space, with my whole self, that the lessons I seek reveal themselves for next steps in my life journey. What this looks like, for me, is to support mind, body and spirit in a restful and introspective state while opening myself to higher consciousness. In this way my spirit can show my mind the information I need to see through my sense of intuition.

Once I reach the part of my being that is  internal, I am then able to ask of the Eternal,  “What am I meant to learn/know?” After doing so, I let that thought go from my conscious mind, before I drift into a mindful meditation trusting the answer will return to me when I am ready to receive it. Sometimes, it is immediate and sometimes the information arrives much later at an unexpected moment when my mind is again quiet. But, it always comes as a sense of clarity where I can “clearly see” consciously what I couldn’t before.

Here is what came to me.

While Irma was her own event, she also acted as a natural life metaphor bringing me the following message. What worked well in weathering this storm, would also serve well in weathering any other stressful life crisis suddenly blowing in to buffet our sensibilities and our unbalance our sense of being in the world.

In that spirit, here are the Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms that I wanted to share. I hope you will bear with me as this blog is a bit longer than usual. Irma had a lot to say.

Looking back, for me, there were three distinct stages of the crisis that sustained intense levels stress over a period of several weeks. Each meted out and merited its own message.


The Arrival of Seriously Significant Storm

Prep and Plan But Be Prepared to Change – over a series of hours and days, it seemed that no matter which way I planned to go to get out the way, Irma’s path followed my every move. This required discarding the plan and making new preps sometimes on the spot multiple times in day. When the wind keeps changing directions it is important to be resilient.


You Can Run, But Nature Runs It’s Course – at the last possible go time, driving what is normally a seven-hour distance northward and inland to Atlanta seemed the best course of action. And, then, Irma locked in her GPS to follow. We ended up at a safer distance from the intensity and a direct hit, but there was going to be no total escape from the storm. Eventually, you are going to have to turn and face the circumstances.


Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help – there are many people who love me, but assumed I had it handled. What we needed was a place to stay out of the way. When we thought of whom to ask, we hesitated because of the last-minute imposition. Yet, when we called, she was relieved. She had heard we were going in another direction, but that plan had been scrapped the day before while things were moving quickly. She was ready to help. Don’t assume someone knows what you need. Help them help you if they are able.


Don’t Take In the Alarm of Others – while busy planning, re-planning and rebooting those plans, I was trying my level best to stay calm and focused. In that time, I received an incredible amount of messages from folks who were anxious on my behalf. What they mostly transmitted, however, was simply a sense of alarm without specific support that was rational, reasonable or doable. Absorbing all that anxious energy finally sent my own anxiety over the edge taking  me off course into a melt down for a short period of precious time. While there a hurricane around you, you do not have to bring the storm into your soul.


Choose Your Planning Partners Wisely – it is simply impossible to think of everything yourself. Look to those who know you best, and whom you know will come through with concise and sound information specific for you and your situation. For me, this was my best friend, who was also my roommate, and who was evacuating with me. In spite of the stress, we worked in sync keeping a synergy to our energy so we could do more than we thought possible. My Mom, from across the country, dispensed some insightful advice through the distance to help sort out some simple solutions to smooth the way and sooth the stress. Carefully choose  whom to take along for the ride so you may depend on their ability to help navigate the crisis.  


Focus on What is Immediately Important – I always thought I knew everything I would pack and take if we ever had a hurricane on the way. For the all the reasons outlined above this was not my reality. While I did not know which direction I would be heading, what I did know was I needed to be nimble. What that meant was I needed to be able to carry what I brought to manage within my abilities. That realization helped me quickly focus on what was would literally fit into two suitcases, a small tote and my handbag. Turning the lock in the front door, and leaving my car behind as I left, I felt confident I could create a new life from the few things I carried. Letting go of what was helped me lighten the load while traveling toward the unknown. 

Note: As an aside, you may be wondering what I brought from my precious stash of essential oils and supplies.  I wrote about this in an upcoming  companion blog. I thought  the lessons I learned there merited their own mention. Look for this followup to publish shortly. In the meantime, you will find some supportive synergies for this blog below.


Find The Time to Keep Your Gas Tank Full – growing up in earthquake country this was a mantra my Dad had drilled into me. You never knew when there would be any kind of personal or environmental emergency and so  it is important to be prepared. Irma’s direction for landfall in Florida became apparent as one day drew to a close. By early the next morning, the gas stations in the local area were drying up. I had just filled up my tank the day before for the week ahead and was never so glad I had listened to my Dad. Just as importantly, it was the close of a holiday weekend. I had spent the last few days relaxing and restoring my body, mind and spirit. Having been rested rather than run down was never more important for being able to take the trip ahead. Taking the time to top off your tank of energy reserves ensures you don’t get unexpectedly stuck or sidelined.


What Can Seem Impossible Can Be Possible – if you had told me that we were going to make an arduous trek in the car over 16 hours in one day, I might not have even tried. With my spinal cord injury, and my friend only 8 weeks post major surgery, the notion would have seemed daunting for the two of us. We knew the trip in traffic would take longer than the normal 7 hours and so started out early on a day we hoped we had timed to miss the worst of it. We were wrong. Taking turns resting and driving we crawled forward mostly in middle lane to see and steer around any upcoming chaos coming our way. Staying focused on navigating the road right in front of us kept the fear at bay for how far we had yet to go. After we safely arrived, we were both dumbfounded at the distance we had covered. A significant journey forward happens one step at a time, with lots of stops and starts, and by focusing your navigation on what is immediately in front of you. 


Anchoring While Weathering the Storm

Restore Your Power Supply At Every Opportunity – once we arrived in Atlanta, we had two full days to rest, restore and replenish ourselves and our supplies and we took full advantage of the opportunity.  Irma arrived on at our doorstep in the evening of day three downgraded to a tropical storm.

While Florida would have weathered that reduced intensity well, this was Atlanta’s first ever experience which she was not built to withstand.  Predictions that the high winds would topple massive amounts of old growth trees taking out the power lines on the way down proved correct.  (As an aside the dark humor of my mind kept me humming in my head the old Vicki Lawrence song “That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia.”) When you find even small pockets of time, take that time to prepare for the next wave by restoring to shore yourself up again. 


Ration Your Energy Between Recharges – the unparalleled force of the storm winds left behind an unprecedented power outage for most of the population of the Atlanta region, as well as other areas of the state. And, backup crews were already handling a one-two punch in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and in Florida following Hurricane Irma.

What that meant for Atlanta was that time and patience were going to have to prevail. For three days we were faced with no electricity to power our sources of outside information including, most importantly, our phones. So, we powered down to battery saver mode and also to the off position so we need only recharge our phones rarely by way of car charger because we also needed to reserve our gasoline. While you are weathering the storm it is important to conserve what energy you have left lest you become totally run down and offline. 


Mind Your Mind – sometimes , when we are in crisis mode, our worst enemy is our own mind. We can whip up a host of worries, or we create peace by managing our mindfulness. Repetitive negative thinking creates distress in the mind and stress in the body.  Below are the practices that helped me steer back on course when I drifted toward doubt and worry. Ruminating on what may or may not be down the road is a waste of much needed energy.

  • Draw On Your Inner Reserves –powering down my connection to outside world cleared the way to cultivate calm in my inner world. Being oddly out of touch also created longer time lags I didn’t always take in my day-to-day world. Here was an opportunity for more spacious periods of meditation especially important at this time get in touch with my own innate wisdom.


  • Stay in the Present – when I was connected to the TV and phone, what was coming through was a barrage of gloom and doom. This created a sustained sense of anxiety and a stressful sense of needing to know about things I could not control nor deal with at present: Is the power out at home? How is traffic getting back? Did the water crest the bridge cutting off the route home? Is my roof leaking like the neighbors’ homes? These were all important questions, but without answers days in advance.  With the power out I just needed to focus on what was important in that moment.


  • Gratitude Helps Get You Through – when my mind did wander to the worst case scenario, I would start to feel overwhelmed. So, I refocused my mind on large and small mercies. I was safe. I had a place to stay. A comfortable bed in my own room. Hot water. Temperatures in the area were cool. My best friend was with me. Folks were looking in on us and helping how they could. My things were insured. I had what was most important with me. I had work I enjoyed and family and friends I love. I could start again.


  • Use Your Imagination For Visualization when I found myself imagining the worst, it only created worry. Instead, I would visualize what I wanted to see as a good outcome. I also used my mind’s eye to see peaceful pictures that would soothe the spirit. Regardless of what I would find later, I had to the power to choose to change the channel on the pictures I was seeing in the present time.


Small Mercies Can Help You Feel Whole – at one rest stop along the way, I got a good look at myself in the mirror. After three days of panicky prepping, a poor night’s sleep, a quick and early departure and many demanding hours on the road, I indeed looked and felt like an evacuee. My clothes had been grabbed for comfort not style and now felt grubby. My hair was dirty and in disarray. I had been sweaty from the heat and stress.  And, I was exhausted and undernourished from snacks at short gas station stops.

By the time we finally reached Atlanta,  I couldn’t have felt further away from my own sense of humanity. I nearly cried with relief when I discovered there was a tub in the guest bath, complete with Epsom salts and bath gel so I could take an aromatic bath to ease my bones and spirit before sleep. When you are under duress some things, no matter how small they may seem, can contribute to your sense of self when you need it most.

On that note:

  • Little Luxuries Are Important –bringing only things that I could carry meant keeping it simple for my toiletries.  Yet, as I was grabbing to go , I also instinctively popped in two little luxuries that would fit – the sumptuous face serum and cream set I had just purchased. It wasn’t about the money. It was the intuitive need to have something nice to help support my sense of self when things seemed down.


  • Pack More Underwear Than You Think You Will Need. Seriously. I’m not sure there is a life lesson here except that your mother was right. I underestimated how long I would be away and what my circumstances would be in Atlanta. When the power finally came back on there in the middle of the night — bringing back to life the washer and dryer — it was literally just in time for me to refresh my supply to shore up my sensibilities.


The Aftermath of The Storm

Make Way for Your Own Disaster Relief – After a week away, when I finally arrived home, I found myself feeling like washed up debris from the storm surge. My natural energy flow was spent and my spirit felt scattered to the four winds. My thought patterns were short-circuited making it hard to concentrate and recall things.

With my brain not fully functioning, I had to keep asking what day it was and couldn’t complete thoughts and sentences. Emotionally, I was torn between wanting to put everything away and be back to “normal,”  or to keep everything packed “just in case.” In talking with several others, this shared experience seemed a common occurrence that was taking some time and support to shake off.

I recalled, on our way north to Atlanta, the only vehicles heading south were the convoys of military and power repairmen setting up to be in position for the aftermath of the storm’s wrath. On the return trip home we were again accompanied on the road by more convoys of military and power repair trucks, as well as disaster relief organizations.  Over the next few weeks, they were everywhere getting the population back on the grid and  it was a timely reminder that I needed to do the same to get myself up and running personally. It is vital in the aftermath to take the time to attend to whatever restoration and rejuvenation you need to shore up your sense of wellbeing in your whole being.

Over the next several days, the sky was blue and clear. I slept, took hot showers, ate hot meals, gathered groceries and the gardeners came on schedule. Though I was starting to feel a sense of grounding, I needed a greater sense of support.

As always, aromatherapy can be of great comfort during times of crisis  to support restoration, self care and repair.

Below are the synergies I rotated through my diffuser, during the post-crisis mode, that helped me the most to decompress. For a look at what I brought with my on the road as an aromatherapy crisis care kit, please look for the follow up blog coming shortly.

After the Storm Synergy

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans
2 drops Eucalyptus Dives* Eucalyptus dives
1 drop Lemon Myrtle* Backhousia citriodora

*These were released as part of Plant Therapy’s Oil of the Month Program. Check back to see if they will stocked for general sale. 

This synergy helped me rebalance in my energy flow, uplift my spirit, focus my thoughts, gently jump-start my sense of vitality, clear the air and my respiratory system, and ward of some threatening scratchiness and sniffle that were threatening.

Additionally, Plant Therapy had just released their new Chakra Synergy line to help create balance in our wellbeing. I chose the following:

Grounded Foundation – this helped me to pull my scattered energy back into my body and rebalance and reground while help to soothe the spirit. I used it with the affirmation “I am safe. All is well.”

Self Manifestation — though sometimes we have no control over which way the winds will blow us, we are empowered in how we deal with the storm. I used this synergy with meditation to replenish this sacred center of empowerment to reaffirm and remember that I can do more than I ever thought possible.


My wish for you is that your journey always be smooth. Should you run into stormy weather, my hope is that you will find some inspiration in these “Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms.” Knowing our own situations and needs are unique,  I would love hear back from you on what you have learned in working your way through your own life’s storms. You never know who you might help!

Sensational Synergy and Dynamic Duos

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

One of the aspects I find amazing about aromatherapy is its core concept of synergy. Derived from the Greek “synergos,” synergy essentially distills down to “working together.” In practice, it is “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.” [1] Or, as we still commonly quote Aristotle today “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To me, this is the true beauty of aromatherapy — “working together” for an even greater outcome. It is amazing to me that aromatherapy works in synergy on so many levels. What an awe-inspiring concept forming the foundation of this holistic healing art, not just between essential oil and concern, but also nature and our whole being.

Aromatherapy works in synergy with our minds, bodies, and spirits. The aromatic essences themselves don’t cure or fix anything. They support our beings coming back into balance so that all the aspects of our existence can restore and renew in our natural healing state.

Nature also creates synergy within the essential oils themselves. We can reduce each essential oil to its few primary constituents. But, as a whole, each aromatic essence may also have hundreds of minor constituents that in their entirety create its own synergy working together in a unique signature.


In our Essential Education blog, “Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3, we also discussed the concept of synergy. This is the proper name of undiluted essential oils blended together to create a therapeutic outcome greater than that of a single essential oil alone.

Within all these simultaneous levels of synergy in aromatherapy, you will also find what I refer to as “Dynamic Duos.” This is when certain paired essential oils can work exceptionally well together with an especially dynamic effect. Your salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly of the aromatherapy world if you will.

I have outlined below three notable examples of Dynamic Duos I have learned about along the way and especially like to use. There are many more, of course, and you may find your own. These are just a few to illustrate this effect and get you started.


Lavender and Peppermint 

Lavandula angustifolia and Mentha x piperita

This pairing is an old standby for good reason. This synergy of Lavender and Peppermint makes a marvelous massage blend for issues in the tissues. It is especially soothing for nervous tension of the mind, accompanied by discomfort in the body from head to toe.  The combined effects are relieving and releasing to knots, tightness, and stiffness and for sore, tired, overworked muscles and joints.



Suggested Usage: Mix in a 2% dilution with Marvelous Massage ™ Carrier Oil Blend, Jojoba Carrier Oil, or Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil. Use for all over body massage, foot massage, or tightness from tension around the head and neck.

 Enhancements: Choose any other complementary essential oils  to help enhance the effect on concerns such as: Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana or Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile for calming nervous tension and reducing stiffness and knots.

 Cautions:  Peppermint is not KidSafe.  Do not apply on or near the face of infants and children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 5% for topical applications.



Black Pepper and Helichrysum Italicum

Piper nigrum and Helichrysum italicum

Black Pepper is well known for its relieving action on discomfort in the body, especially for numbing the type that may be hot and throbbing. I use Black Pepper quite often in synergies especially for issues with my back and love the relief it brings. Along the way, I came across the suggestion to pair Helichrysum Italicum with Black Pepper for an even greater dynamic effect with this type of discomfort (I can’t recall the teacher, so if it was you please let me know)

Oh my goodness, what a difference! While the Black Pepper was soothing on its own, just a tad of the Helichrysum gave it a turbo boost in terms of the perception and duration of relief. Now, I always pair the two for these types of concerns. While Helichrysum can be pricey, you only need a small ratio in your synergy and if you suffer from these issues, the relief is priceless.




Suggested Usage: Combine to a total 3% dilution with Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil in a 10 ml roller bottle for spot treatment and short-term use on the go.

Enhancements: Because this type of discomfort in the tissues may also create tightness and knots, you might add another warming, relieving, and releasing essence such as Ginger Root CO2 Zingiber officinale.

Cautions:   If adding Ginger CO2:  It is not KidSafe.  We recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical applications.



Rosemary 1,8-Cineole and Peppermint

Rosmarinus officinalis and Mentha x piperita

Oh, Rosemary 1, 8 Cineole and Peppermint, let me count the ways…here are three!

Rosemary 1, 8 Cineole and Peppermint create a perfect pairing for supporting the mind. Each provides its own unique and some similar benefits, but together these benefits become boosted. This duo can help with feeling alert and focused while helping to clear your mind; it can support concentration and memory; and, it can be invigorating and stimulating when dealing with mental fatigue.

Additionally, these two make a wonderfully stimulating massage blend to relieve and relax discomfort in the tissues and to support circulation.

They also make a dynamic duo in supporting the respiratory system from seasonal threats whether they are on board or if you have been exposed.




Suggested Usage: For the supporting the mind or respiratory system, the best approach is inhalation with diffuser or  aromatherapy inhaler. For the body, or to tackle all three issues with an invigorating massage, create a 2% blend with Marvelous Massage ™ Carrier Oil BlendJojoba Carrier Oil, or Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil .

Enhancements: Lemon Citrus x limon makes a nice addition for its clarifying, clearing, refreshing, uplifting,  and energizing effects.

Cautions: Rosemary 1, 8 Cineole is not KidSafe. Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 4% for topical applications.

Peppermint is not KidSafe.  Do not apply on or near the face of infants and children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 5% for topical applications.

If including Lemon in a massage or other topical blend, we recommend a maximum dilution of 2% to avoid photosensitivity.  You can also use  Lemon Steam Distilled  to be safe in the sun.



[1] “Synergy.”,,

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Aromatic Medicine Making. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. London: HarperThorsons, 2014. Print.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant … Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home an. Place of Publication Not Identified: New World Library, 2016. Print.

















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