ros_button

Your cart is currently empty.

Essential Oils Blog

Wellness Archives

Chakra Synergies for Self Care

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


 

Have you heard about Plant Therapy’s new Chakra Synergies Set?

Wondering what it is all about?

Wondering if it is for you?

Wondering how to get started?

I am super excited about this offering.

The intention of the Chakra Synergy line is to create simplicity and accessibility for those who wish to bring self-balancing practices into our self-care routines for a greater sense of wellbeing.

As with the mind and body, aromatherapy can provide powerful support for our spirit to support a greater sense of  balance from the inside out.

So, let’s get started on learning more about Chakras!

 

 

 

 

How Chakras Impact Our Wellbeing

Chakras are subtle energy centers that intersect with our mind, body, and spirit. The major chakras are located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. These chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being.

When our chakras are in balance our natural energy flows smoothly, creating a sense of overall well-being. Stress, negative thinking, and wounds or traumas to any part of our being can disrupt this vital balance.

If you are new to the concept of chakras, how they impact our well-being, and how aromatherapy can help, I recommend you start by reading “So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy” for an introduction to the basics.

This is just the beginning, of course. Like aromatherapy, energy work provides a vast path to develop and deepen your learning.  And, like other areas of aromatherapy, there are reputable thought leaders, teachers, and authors specific to subtle aromatherapy should you wish to study this synergy for the spirit.

 

 

How to Choose a Chakra Synergy for Your Needs

These synergies were created with the intention of gently supporting balance in each of the unique chakras.

 

 

GROUNDED FOUNDATION

Chakra: 1ST/ROOT

Location:  Base of Spine

Concerns:  Sense safety, security, and trust in the world, while feeling present and grounded and present in our body.

 

 

 

 

 

JOYFUL CREATION

Chakra: 2ND/SACRAL

Location: Lower Abdomen

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

 

 

 

 

 

SELF MANIFESTATION

 Chakra: 3rd /SOLAR PLEXUS

Location: Solar Plexus

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

 

 

 

 

 

LOVING COMPASSION

Chakra: 4th/HEART

Location:  Center of Breastbone

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

 

 

 

 

 

TRUE EXPRESSION

 Chakra: 5th/THROAT

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Ability to identify and speak your true needs while in integrity with yourself and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEAR INTUITION

Chakra: 6th/THIRD EYE

Location: Center of Forehead/ Between Brows

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER CONNECTION

 Chakra: 7th/CROWN

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

 

 

 

How to Use the Chakra Synergies

Because we are working with our subtle body — which houses our spirit, our core essence and our natural energy flow — we recommend you use these synergies at a much less intensity than used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

 

  • Dilution: Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

 

  • Inhalation: Inhalation from the bottle is too overwhelming to the senses and subtle body. Simply add 1 drop to a tissue or cotton ball, or aromatherapy jewelry. You can also add 5 drops per 100 ml to your diffuser and run for a short period, or add 15 drops to your personal inhaler and breathe in gently. You may also choose to use these at half-strength if the scent is more strong than subtle depending on your proximity. The key is to get a gentle hint of the scent and not to overwhelm the senses.

 

  • Topical Application: Dilute to 1% in Jojoba or other carrier oil of your choice. You may wish to anoint your chakras. Anointing is an ancient practice across spiritual traditions in which an oil is applied with intention. It is often used for protection, to connect with the sacred, to empower, and to support wellness. 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.

 

How to Combine Chakra Synergies with Mindfulness Techniques

When working with aromatherapy for the spirit, we can create an even more expansive experience when combined with mindfulness techniques such as these outlined below.  This synergy for the senses can help  bring  balance, harmony, and well-being within our whole being.

Please know there are no hard and fast rules, but rather an artful practice based on intention and intuition.  Allow yourself to unplug from your thinking mind, and tap into your inner wisdom.

To help you on your way, I have outlined some traditionally accepted and accessible suggestions as a starting point. The most important thing is to find what works for your unique needs at any given time.

 

Intention – Setting a clear purpose and using your synergy with that purpose in mind. This is likely the most important aspect when using aromatherapy to bring balance to the subtle body.

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation

 

Affirmation– Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. These are always stated in the present tense. And, you might want to consider aligning them with the concerns of the chakra with which you are working. For example, if you are working to bring balance to your 1st Chakra, you might like to affirm “I am safe.”

Suggested Usage: direct inhalation, anointing

 

Visualization: Using your mind’s eye to create a healing image on which to focus. You might choose to focus on a generally soothing and calming image, or you may wish to create a healing image specific to the chakra with which you are working.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

Meditation: Calming the conscious mind to allow for inward introspection and higher information. This is when you can hear your spirit speak while you are soothing the mind and the body.

Suggested Usage: diffusion, direct inhalation, anointing

 

As you can see subtle aromatherapy is another approach to enhancing our wellbeing by bringing gentle support to the spirit. The synergies are meant to help make the practice of subtle aromatherapy accessible whether it is new to you, or you are an experienced practitioner.

The synergies themselves are created with the intention of resonating with each chakra in combination with the power of your conscious intention. They are not meant to simply apply to “fix a symptom,” but rather to support you in bringing self-balancing techniques into your self-care routines to enhance your overall well-being.

I hope this helps you on your way. Should you wish to explore the chakras and subtle aromatherapy more, you will find some reputable resources listed below. I wish you well on your wellness journey!

 


Sources:

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

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

 

So What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy?

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


It probably has not escaped your notice that when we talk about the therapeutic value of aromatherapy, we often refer to the benefits for mind and body, as well as the spirit.

And, recently, we discussed how holistic aromatherapy helps bring balance to all three aspects in What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health. It is this harmony in our whole being that helps us sustain better wellbeing.

Sometimes, though, it is best to approach the specific needs of one aspect of our being, before the rest of our selves can come back into a better state of balance. Most of us are familiar with how aromatherapy can support the needs of mind and our body. But, what about when it comes to support of the spirit?

By nature, this realm may feel more ethereal, but it is no less important. Balance in our spirit in actuality is a vitally important source of our wellbeing.

In The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy, we outlined the many approaches to aromatherapy practice. When we want to start by specifically addressing the needs of the spirit, we turn to the practice of subtle aromatherapy. 

So, what exactly is subtle aromatherapy?

With subtle aromatherapy, we use essential oils and aromatic extracts to support sources of imbalance in our core being with the intention of encouraging wellness from the inside out. Rather than starting with the mind, or the body, we start with what we often refer to as the spirit, but more specifically encompassing our entire subtle body.

From this perspective, we see ourselves as whole beings comprised of the following interconnected aspects of our existence:

  • Emotional/Mental Body
  • Physical Body
  • Subtle Body

Our subtle body includes what we would call our spirit, life force, soul or core essence, our psyche, and our natural energy flow.

It is important to note when we are talking about caring for the spirit, or our subtle body, we are not talking about religion, nor the supernatural. Subtle aromatherapy transcends our own personal belief systems about our core essence and how we individually see and feel a sense of connection to higher consciousness while working with our natural energy flow.

Just as with our mental/emotional bodies, and our physical body, our subtle body seeks balance. Imbalances in our energy flow frequently form as blocks. We can work to release these blocks with various approaches to influence the energy flow in the subtle body. When we are out of balance to the point our whole being cannot compensate, we can seek support from qualified practitioners.

 

How Do We Balance Our Natural Energy Flow?

From an Eastern medicine perspective, there are two traditions of working with energy which you are likely familiar. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes to us from ancient China. Acupuncture is one of the most visible aspects of TCM to bring balance to our natural energy flow through the meridian pathways. From ancient India, we have Ayurveda. In this tradition of medicine, our natural energy flows through the chakra system. One familiar aspect of the Ayurvedic tradition is yoga, which helped introduce the concept of chakras to the West.  The flow of yoga helps to open and move our energy through the chakras.

From the Western perspective, we have combined modern studies of psychology and human development with ancient understandings of the chakra and general energy systems. We can create balance in an approach called energy medicine or energy healing by using our hands. There are many types of techniques with qualified and professional hands-on practitioners. Reiki and Therapeutic Touch are two common examples often performed in major medical centers.

My personal training and experience is with the western approach to energy medicine and the chakra system. Before I trained as an  aromatherapy practitioner, I trained as a hands-on energy medicine practitioner. During my clinical internship at a large, urban, bustling teaching hospital, the patients I served during that 6 months reported a nearly 60% reduction in pain overall measured pre- and post-energy therapy sessions.

Because I was grounded in both energy work and aromatherapy, I intuitively longed to bring both together into one practice.  I was delighted to discover others had already done so opening up the path for me for learn and practice both of my passions through the synergy of subtle aromatherapy.

In 1991, Patricia Davis published “Subtle Aromatherapy,” in which she discusses bringing together aromatherapy and chakra balancing into one practice. In essence, she defined subtle aromatherapy as working with aromatic essences to affect non-physical elements of our being.[1]

In 1997, Gabriel Mojay published “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.” In his work, Mojay discusses the use of essential oils for healing the psyche and the spirit by influencing energy flow from the perspective Traditional Chinese Medicine.[2]

Both pioneering works put to paper what many had intuitively felt creating pathways to learning that remain relevant and often referred today. Today, there are even more aromatherapy thought leaders, educators and practitioners coming from both systems of energy work to pursue your area of passion.

Depending on your own unique needs, the practice of subtle aromatherapy can be integrated to support other forms of healing while under the care of professionals and it can be approached independently as part of your self-care routine at home.

 

How Chakras Impact Our Health

As part of our subtle body, chakras are wheel-shaped energy centers that intersect with our emotional/mental bodies and our physical body. The chakras take in and transmit energy throughout our entire being working as a system of intermeshing gears.[3]

 When our chakras are in balance, our natural energy flows smoothly creating a sense of overall wellbeing.  Fear, stress, chronic negative thinking and belief systems, repressed emotions, wounds and traumas, or sudden shock can disrupt this vital balance creating either excesses or deficiencies in our energy flow.  Many times, this distress  manifests as  as blockages and stagnation.

Most often, we are working with the seven major chakras located along our spine in ascending order from base to crown. In addition to location, each chakra has an assigned color. And, each chakra is associated with states of our psyche, as well as the energy flow in a specific region of the physical body.

The following is a very brief overview of the seven major chakras:

 

1st Chakra – Root

Color: Red

Location: base of spine/perineum

Concerns: Self-Preservationsurvival, support, belonging

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

 

2nd Chakra – Sacral

Color: Orange

Location: 2” below naval

Concerns: Self-Gratificationcreation, emotions, relationships, growth

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

 

3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus

Color: Yellow

Location: 2” above navel

Concerns: Personal Manifestationpersonal power, identity, self-worth

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

 

4th Chakra – Heart

Color: Green or Rose

Location: Center of chest

Concerns: Loving Compassionlove and acceptance of self and others, unconditional love, empathy

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

 

5th Chakra – Throat

Color: Light Blue

Location: Center of Throat

Concerns: Self-Expression/Communication — speaking and hearing truth

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

 

6th Chakra – Third Eye/Brow

Color: Indigo

Location: Center of Forehead (between brows)

Concerns: Self-Reflection/Intuition — perspective, insight, clarity, imagination

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

 

7th Chakra — Crown

Color: Violet/White

Location: Top of Head

Concerns: Higher Connectionsense of oneness, higher consciousness

In Balance: Sense of connection to a higher consciousness, higher purpose, and higher self.

 

Working with Subtle Aromatherapy to Balance Your Chakras

As its own form of energy work the intention of subtle aromatherapy is to influence the balance in our natural energy flow by “drawing on the subtle, energetic or vibrational qualities of the oils, rather than their physical properties.[4]

 Many aspects  can go into choosing an oil, or synergy, to help support balance in the subtle body include:

  • Color of plant part used
  • Color of the essential oil or extract
  • Color or quality of the smell
  • Part of the plant used/function of that part
  • Therapeutic function of the oil or plant
  • Nature of the plant – shape, climate, conditions, geography, how it grows
  • Folklore of the plant – how used historically

Below are examples of some more commonly used essential oils to help bring balance to the chakras. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor will every oil work for every being. This is simply a possible point to start you on your exploration.

 

1st Chakra — Cedarwood, Patchouli, Vetiver

2nd Chakra — Cardamom, Orange, Jasmine Absolute

3rd Chakra – Black Pepper, Pine, Rosemary

4th Chakra — Bergamot, Mandarin, Rose Otto

5th Charka – Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Lavender

6th Chakra –Clary Sage, Elemi, Spruce

7th Chakra – Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood

 

When you are feeling an imbalance associated with a particular chakra, or energy center, you can choose essential oils or synergies to incorporate into your self-care routines.

Because we are working with our subtle body, we want to use essential oils and extracts at much less intensity than would be used for the mind and body in order to resonate, rather than overwhelm, the subtle nature of our energy.

Use at 1 drop per teaspoon, or 6 drops per ounce for a 1% dilution. Use a more subtle scent in direct inhalation, or room diffusion. A drop will do for passive diffusion.

Now that we have discussed what subtle aromatherapy is, we can go on to discuss the basics of how incorporate this approach at home. Look for our next blog where we will discuss how we can bring a synergy of subtle aromatherapy self-balancing techniques into our self-care routines.

 


Sources:

[1] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

[2] Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

[3] Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

[4] Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Davis, Patricia. Subtle Aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel, 1992. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1997. Print.

Judith, Anodea, and Selene Vega. The Sevenfold Journey: Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit through the Chakras. Freedom, CA: Crossing, 1993. Print.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2004. Print.

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

 

 

 

When Precious Oils Are Priceless

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In recent blogs, I have shared a few inspiration lists of some of my favorite oils that suit specific approaches and needs.  In My Top Five Workhorse Oils, we discussed what I consider the powerhouses that pretty much cover the bases of the basics. These essential oils are well rounded, readily available, with very few safety concerns.

As part of the series on holistic aromatherapy, I shared My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance. These, too, pack a punch by providing support to encourage balance for all three levels of our being — mind, body and spirit. These, again, are generally accessible and provide a lot of bang for the buck.

So, when and why would we want to use the pricier oils?  Though they may have multiple therapeutic uses, some of the precious oils can be powerful in a more singular way.  When we need them for their high therapeutic value in these certain situations, and there is no real substitute, Precious Oils Are Priceless.

Let’s discuss three precious oils that can be powerfully priceless:  Melissa, Neroli, and Rose Otto

Each of these essential oils are often sought for significant support to soothe heightened mental and emotional distress.  While some of their actions overlap, each helps in a different way.  And, each can be priceless in episodes that impact our existence when our mind is fogged, our feelings are intense, our body is flooded with the fight or flight reaction, and our spirits feel frozen.

Please know that aromatherapy is never a replacement for care from your professional health provider.  Aromatherapy, however,  can provide powerful support as part of your overall plan of care. Every person has unique needs and responses to all approaches to care, including aromatherapy. If you are under the care of health provider, please advise them if you wish to include aromatherapy as part of your care plan.  If you experience significant distress,  and aromatherapy does not provide relief in your self-care routine, please be prepared to seek professional support. 

A few things to note:

  • When supporting mental or emotional distress, inhalation is the best approach. Direct inhalation, such as through a personal inhaler, provides fastest and most effective route for settling the nerves and soothing emotions.
  • It is best to create a synergy so the senses do not associate a single scent with distress as a negative event or feeling. You can start with a mini-master blend as indicated in the sample synergies below.
  •  I find it is best to first test with a drop or two on a tissue to see how the synergy makes you feel.  If you feel a negative reaction, the tissue can easily and quickly be removed.
  • If the synergy creates a positive feeling, you can, then, create a personal inhaler for follow up use when needed wherever you are. Simply increase the synergies below to 15 drops.
  •  Each of the essential oils below have assertive scents. You won’t need much to mix into your synergy.
  • Plant Therapy offers each of these precious essential oils in 2.5 ml sizes to help make the price point even more accessible.

 

When Precious Oils are Priceless

 

Melissa Melissa officinalis:  

Melissa can be very calming and settling to the nerves after one experiences a shock to the system or traumatic event. It can help to restore us to our senses.

It also can be emotionally balancing, revitalizing, uplifting and strengthening making it invaluable for nervous tension, anxiousness, bereavement, and feeling down. And, it helps to ease emotional blocks.

Cautions: Not KidSafe® . To avoid the risk of various safety issues, we recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical applications.

Relax and Restore

2 drops Fragonia  Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Lime Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Melissa Melissa officinalis

 

 

Neroli Citrus x aurantium:  

Neroli can significantly soothe the emotions and calm the nerves for those who experience an alarming sense of anxiousness or panicky fear helping us to find our sense of tranquility.

Neroli is considered very uplifting for serious sadness and helps to ease grief and sorrow.  It is helpful for sudden shock and for agitation. Neroli can also open us to positive energy and help bring us back into balance.

Cautions: None Known.

 

Balance the Senses

2 drops Geranium Bourbon  Pelargonium x asperum

2 drops Neroli Citrus x aurantium

1 drop Orange Sweet Citrus sinensis

 

 

Rose Otto Rosa x damascena: 

Rose Otto is often cited as the primary essential oil to help  ease the spectrum of emotional shocks to the heart, including heartbreak, heartache, grief, sorrow and loss.

Emotionally, rose is considered calming, uplifting, balancing and strengthening.  Rose is also invaluable for supporting the spirit by promoting unconditional love and compassion for self and others.

Cautions:  Not KidSafe® We recommend a maximum dilution of 0.6% for topical applications.

Heart Soothe

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

2 drops Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon*

1 drop Rose Otto (diluted 10%)  Rosa x damascena**

 

*  Rhododendron was featured as an Oil of the Month by Plant Therapy.  Based upon its popularity, it may stocked for general sale in the future.

** I’ve chosen the pre-diluted version of Rose Otto offered by Plant Therapy both for budget and for managing its powerfully assertive scent. You may also choose to purchase it undiluted, which you can find in the 2.5 ml sizes as well.

 


Sources:

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

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

Keville, Kathi, and Mindy Green. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Berkeley, CA: Crossing, 2009. Print.

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

My Top Three Oils for Whole Being Balance

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Recently, we discussed the practice of holistic care in “What Does Holistic Have to Do with Our Health.” Essentially, we are caring for mind, body and spirit to bring balance to our whole being for a greater state of wellbeing.

You may recall from “Food for Thought, that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. Depending on our state of mind, our body and spirit are impacted in chemical messages from the brain created by stress. This distress of the mind, especially over the long-term, can lead to dis-ease due to our body’s inability to compensate and re-balance.

Aromatherapy, in particular, the practice of holistic aromatherapy, is the perfect partner for helping to support harmony on all three levels of our existence. When we can find balance within ourselves and our environment,  we can experience a greater sense of optimal wellbeing.

Each essential oil and extract has its own therapeutic profile and value, often with multiple core applications.

And, often, we blend synergies from a selection of essential oils to create the holistic profile we are seeking as we did to accompany self-balancing activities outlined in Balancing Our Whole Being.”

There are, however, some essential oils and extracts that are just excellent at equally supporting and entire being.

I find myself reaching over and again for three in particular when I want well-rounded and robust support to bring my being back into balance.

The three I love the most for holistic use are: Bergamot, Fragonia and Blue Yarrow. Oh my goodness, do I love the gifts of these oils.

On their own, they are wonderful to bring equilibrium to mind, body and spirit. Mixed in other synergies, they enhance the holistic value. In my opinion, blended together, they create something extraordinary.

Below, you will find why I consider these my top three essences as my very favorites for holistic support on all three levels — mind, body and spirit.

In addition, I have included one of my very favorite blends with the added benefit of a soothing bath. I find this one of the best ways to find balance from within for my whole being.

As always, I  encourage you to consider options that match your own unique needs.

 

Bergamot Citrus bergamia  (bergapten free)

Bergamot is a favorite for its array of uses and its sunny scent. Bergamot is an incredibly uplifting, calming and balancing essential oil.

It is especially helpful when you feel off balance due to nervous tension and when you need to invite in more positive thinking and energy.

Mind:  Balancing to emotions. Uplifting and calming.  Promotes positive thinking while helping to release negative emotions.

Body: Supports the body in returning to a state of relaxation. Soothes the nervous system and smooths nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit: Helps to harmonize the spirit, especially when affected by strong, negative emotions. Supports the ability to receive positive energy and helps our natural energy to flow smoothly.

 

 

Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

Fragonia is highly valued for its uniquely balanced composition. It, too, has a wide array of core therapeutic uses and has a soft, refreshing scent.

It is especially helpful for letting go of old emotional thought patterns and negative energy blocks that are impacting your balance and wellbeing.

Mind:  Helps to release old emotional patterns. Calming and uplifting, it helps to reduce worry and nervous tension.

Body:  Balancing to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving to nervous tension creating discomfort in the body.

Spirit:  Helps to release deep-seated blocks in the energy flow caused by old wounds. Strengthening to the spirit.

 

 

Blue Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Blue yarrow has been prized throughout time for its ability to support wounds on all levels. Though it provides powerful support, it is gentle in nature.

Its “blue” constituents are especially helpful to bring a cooling sense of balance to  heated conditions of mind, body and spirit.

Mind:  Supports emotional equilibrium. Helps to calm worry and nervous tension.

Body: Calming to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving for nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit:  Powerful support in releasing blocks created by repressed strong, negative emotions. Helps to support a smooth natural energy flow. Balanced between opposing energies, it helps to equalize these energies in our own being.

 

Balancing Bath Blend

2 drops Bergamot  Citrus bergamia

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Mix with 2 T natural, unscented body wash

Add 1/2 c of Epsom Salts and mix.

Add to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Bringing the best of the abilities from my top three oils for whole being balance. This is an especially wonderful immersion experience before bedtime. 

 


Sources:

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

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

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 2005. Print.

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

Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours, 2004. Print.

Reflections of a Summer Lover

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Oh happy days are here!

I am a child of summer.  And, my inner child remains happiest in the season of the sun. This I have learned about myself.

Summer is when my spirit feels most buoyant and unbound. Joy is easier to access as it readily bubbles to the surface.

If winter is the hibernal season, and spring is of renewal, for me summer is a  season of sustenance.

Our mind, body and spirits are nourished by the abundance of sunshine and daylight, the refreshing array fresh fruit and vegetables, the heady scent of summer blooms, and the frequency of the dazzling dragonflies. For many, these beautiful, blessed dragonflies — whose magical beauty shimmers under the summer sun —  represent and remind us of the ability to reflect light for the greater good.

I arrived in this world as a native to perpetually sunny Southern California. Though I was born in December, it was as summer-like, bright, 85-degree-day.

Reflecting back, I realize my spirit has always sought the sun  ever since  to find and create summer for my soul wherever I happen to be.

As a child in Southern California there was joyful abandon playing outdoors and walking barefoot in the grass, especially with the heady scent of the orange groves at the end of our street.

Later, I lived by the beach there and spent every summer day of my teen-age years barefoot in the sand and jumping through the waves.

To this day, I prefer my feet unbound to feel more grounded. If I am not barefoot, then flip flops are the footwear of choice. From my perspective, you cannot have too many pairs.

In my early adulthood, I moved to the Midwest for work. That’s when I quickly realized I needed sunlight and warmth to feel vital and nourished. What I had taken for granted, now needed to be recreated. If it was going to take awhile for summer to come to me where I was, then I needed to go in search of  summer.

Winters breaks became tropical getaways to the Caribbean where the season of the sun was only a flight away.  Immediately upon arrival, my whole being was transported by the soft air, shimmering waters, and the sun in the sky. Not only did my body thaw, but any tension I carried immediately melted away.  Breathing in the sea breeze allowed me to clear the clutter in my head, returning back to real life with a sense of renewed clarity.

Later, I moved to New England with shorter winters, but also shorter summers. This meant ensuring that I savored every drop of summer while it was in season. I joined the tradition of spending idyllic long weekends on Cape Cod. Crossing that bridge from the mainland marked the point where I was able to let go of the go-go-go and relax into loafing.

Now, I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Another west coast for sunsets on the sea and walks on the beach framed by turquoise water and white sugar sand.  And, though actual summer  is a swelter, but most of the rest of the year we live in season as if it  is part of our daily life.  My challenge here is taking the time from daily life to enjoy living in paradise.

No matter where you live, and what your experience, you can always create your own summer for the spirit. Aromatherapy offers a natural opportunity to help create that buoyant and relaxed state of mind.   Even when you can’t break away to chase the sun, a sniff of the synergies evoking the sense of summer can transport you instantly to to a mini-break in your own mind’s eye.

For me, the sensory experiences of the summer season call for a switch to scents that are fresher and cooling  such as citrus and mints.

To help you get started, or to inspire you to create your own experiences, I offer below some summer loving synergies curated from my own collection to evoke favorite seasonal memories.

These were created for inhalation purposes to most readily connect with the mind and spirit. I prefer to make these in a personal inhaler to have with me when needed. You may also choose to use your diffuser, with the exception of the Beach Rose synergy because the rose otto 10% is diluted in vegetable oil, which can damage the unit.

 

I wish you an abundance of sun in your spirit!

 

Inner Child

This uplifting and cheerful blend helps restore my joy of the simple life on a sunny day during my childhood in Southern California.

2 drops Grapefruit Pink, Citrus x paradisi

2 drops Mandarin, Citrus reticulata

1 drop Spearmint, Mentha spicata

 

Mental Mojito

This refreshing and revitalizing scent helps when I need that sense of clear -headed clarity created after a Caribbean Vacation. 

3 drops Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

2 drops Peppermint,  Mentha x piperita

 

Beach Rose  

This soothing scent is evocative of the slow days, sand dunes, and snow cones of Cape Cod where I crossed the bridge into a state of contentment and relaxation.

2 drops Rose Otto (Diluted at 10%)  Rosa damascena 

2 drops Sandalwood Australian, Santalum spicatum

1 drop BergamotCitrus bergamia

 

Sangria Siesta 

(for Inhalation)

This deeply relaxing and uplifting synergy is reflective of the lazy days of a Florida summer calling for loafing on the lanai for rest and reflection.

2 drops Davana, Artemisia pallens

1 drop Lemon, Citrus x limon

1 drop Lime, Citrus x aurantifolia

1 drop Orange SweetCitrus sinensis

Balancing Our Whole Being

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In our last blog, “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health” from the Essential Education series, we discussed the meaning and impact of of holistic health practices on our whole being. Essentially, we are caring for our whole person – bringing balance to mind, body, and spirit – for a restorative sense wellbeing.

We also discussed a specific self-care practice combining massage, hydrotherapy (through bath or shower) and aromatherapy to create a synergy for our senses. This allowed us to support our whole health at home in the tradition of Hippocrates, the Father of Western medicine, made modern by aromatherapy pioneer, Marguerite Maury.

Holistic health practitioners continue to incorporate another teaching of  Hippocrates:

 

Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

To sustain optimal well being our mind, body and spirit consistently strive for balance. In Eastern Medicine and Energy Medicine, we think of balance in our natural energy flow. In Western Medicine, we think of this as homeostasis. This is the natural healing force within each of us.

Chronic disruption to our equilibrium can challenge our whole being beyond its ability to compensate and rebalance. This impacts our capacity to heal and can lead to dis-ease.

 

In addition, to the “aromatic bath and scented massage” as discussed in “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health,” we have available to us many other self-balancing techniques from both ancient and modern traditions to incorporate into our self-care routines.

Because many of us experience nervous tension and worry that takes us out of balance, I’ve offered three options to help restore our mind, body and spirit in this situation.  I encourage you to  explore and experience what works best for you. Know you can begin with the mind, body or spirit after determining which area is of most concern, but each option can help to restore balance to our whole being.

All are designed as options for when we are on the go. We may not always have the time to be in a quiet space, but we can always create our own inner quiet space regardless of where we happen to be.

As always, aromatherapy can play a significant supporting role by creating a synergy with our other self-care practices. As we discussed previously, the intention of holistic aromatherapy is to help bring balance to mind, body and spirit to encourage our own natural healing process. With this in mind, we are going integrate aromatherapy with the practices below for a more expansive experience.

 

CALMING THE MIND

Experiencing meditation, along with aromatherapy, can help quiet our busy, repetitive, or anxious thoughts allowing us to balance the physical and subtle bodies. This also allows us to be in the present moment, go inward for introspection and hit the reset button.

Quiet Mind

This helps to quiet busy thoughts and expand our ability to go inward.

6 drops Basil Linolool (Ocimum basilicum)

6 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

3 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Add to a personal aroma inhaler

 

Aromatic Meditation in Seven Simple Steps:

(Adapted from Yoga Journal June 2014) [1]

  1. Choose an aromatherapy blend and inhale deeply in each nostril. (see above)
  2. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably
  3. Gently close your eyes.
  4. Notice your breath, without trying to control it.
  5. Breathe gently through your nose and bring your focus to each inhalation and exhalation.
  6. Count each breath
  7. When you find thoughts coming to the surface, simply notice them like clouds floating by (without judgment) and return your attention to counting your breath.

 

 

RELAXING THE BODY

Manual tension release provides support for the physical body to relax and rebalance. This aromatic head massage, adapted from the ayurvedic experience, can relieve tight discomfort in the head and neck to create a cascade effect throughout the body helping to ease your mind, body and spirit back into a state of relaxation.

Heads Up

This is also helpful if you experience excruciating head and neck tension that can side-line you feeling unwell.

4 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

3 drops Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana)

2 drops Basil Linalool (Ocimum basilicum)

2 drops Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum italicum)

2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

2 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis ct 1,8-Cineole)

Add to a 10 ml roller bottle and top with jojoba oil. Note, this is a 5% blend meant for spot treatment and short-term use.

 

Aromatic Ayurvedic Head Massage

(Adapted from Massage Bodywork Magazine Sept/Oct. 2008) [2]

  1. Apply your aromatherapy blend (see above) to your temples. Gently massage with your fingertips in circular pattern. Continue for at least one minute.
  2.  Next,  you may wish to apply a small amount of the aromatherapy blend to your fingertips.  Gently “shampoo” your entire scalp in small circles with your fingertips. Begin at the temples and move toward the back of the head. Continue for at least one-minute.
  3. Finish by gently “combing” the scalp with your fingertips. Begin with fingertips above the forehead, at the hairline, and comb over the top of the head and toward the neck and shoulders. Repeat up to 10 times

 

 

SOOTHING THE SPIRIT

Reflexology is the practice of bringing various aspects of the body back into balance by working through corresponding reflex points on the foot. These steps are intended bring our energy back downward from our head toward our feet soothing nervous tension felt in our physical and emotional bodies and regrounding us into a present calming state.

 

Balance Points

In practicing yoga, you become aware of centering your weight on the four corners of your feet so that your posture is in balance and you feel firmly balanced. This blend creates that sense of feeling squarely centered and grounded. 

2 drops Fragonia (Agonis fragrans)

2 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)

1 drop Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

1 drop Ginger CO2 (Zingiber officinalis)

Add to 1 oz unscented lotion.

 

Soothing Scented Reflexology Release

  • Apply only the smallest amount of lotion to cover the first foot, without being slippery.
  • Warm up the foot with gentle massage of the sole and top surface using gliding stroke with your fingertips and thumb.
  • Next, you are going to work with the Solar Plexus Point, known as the “panic button.”
  • The Solar Plexus Point is located just under the balls of your feet, in the very center of the two. Often you will feel tension when it is pressed.
  • Practice deep breathing by gently and slowly inhaling into the lungs and exhaling completely.
  • Gently press your thumb into this point and and circle in a clockwise direction until you feel a release of tension.
  • You may finish using both thumbs in a “diaphragm spread” by simultaneously pulling each thumb under the balls of the foot, from the center outward toward the edges.
  • Repeat other foot.

 


Sources:

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

[2] Weber, Kristine Kaoverii., and Neil Sutherland. Healing Self-massage: Over 100 Simple Techniques for Re-energizing Body and Mind. London: Collins & Brown, 2005. Print. cited by  Smith, Laurie Chance. “Soothe Stress With Self-Massage || Massage Therapy Articles.”Massage Therapy: Everybody Deserves a Massage. Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals, Sept. 2008. Web. 23 May 2017.

What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health?

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Those of us attracted to natural health and healing often hear, and use, the word holistic, as in “holistic health” and “holistic aromatherapy.” But, do we really understand the true essence of its meaning?

What exactly does holistic mean? And, what does it really have to do with our health?

Does it mean:

Natural health?

Alternative health?

Eastern medicine?

Something else?

So, let’s discuss. I believe it is important we understand its historical and present significance so that we may make informed choices about how to use and practice holistic health within its intended context.

The word holistic is derived from the Greek “holos,” which means “whole, entire, or complete.”[1] When we look at something holistically, we are viewing the “whole” entity made up of interconnected and interdependent parts, rather than focusing parts themselves as independent elements.[2]

Distilled down to its fundamental level, holistic health and healing very simply means we are looking at our “whole person,” or “whole being.”

So what does that mean?

In holistic, or “whole person” health, we see our whole being made up of mind, body and spirit. And, these interconnected elements of our existence must be in balance within ourselves, and with our environment, for us to experience optimal wellbeing.

Eastern traditions of healing have been approached care of the whole person for more than 3,000 years. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), originating in China, and Ayurveda from India, both stress the mind, body and spirit connection, as well as the need for balance in our natural energy flow for optimal health.

Ayurvedic medicine utilizes diet, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and massage as means to support balance.[3] In TCM, acupuncture, diet, herbal remedies, and gentle movement such as Tai Chi are used to restore a state of harmony.[4]

 

What is considered the advent of modern western medicine also began as a holistic approach more than 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates, acknowledged as the Father of Western (or Modern) Medicine, is credited with taking medicine out of the supernatural and into the natural world among western health practitioners. Rather than a punishment from the deities, he believed that disease was a result of imbalances within our mind, body and spirit, as well as environmental factors.

Hippocrates also believed the body contains its own natural self-healing mechanism that seeks and requires balance for good health. Thus, he saw the role of the health practitioner was to help bring the whole person back into balance, as well as looking at sources that may be the cause of imbalance.[5] In treating the individual rather than the disease, Hippocrates employed natural healing therapies such diet, hydrotherapy, movement and massage.[6]

By the 17th century, the belief that mind, body and spirit existed as one interconnected aspect of our being fell out of favor. Due to religious doctrines of the time, this concept created interference in the advancement of medicine. Rene Descartes, credited, as the Father of Modern Philosophy, argued the mind and body were separate entities.

This revised view of the body as a biological collection of mechanical parts allowed for the study of anatomy and physiology paving the way for many medical advances we benefit from today. Today, this biomedical approach is still the primary practice, more than 300 years later, where health is defined as the absence of disease with a focus on how to eliminate biological factors that cause disease. But, it is also argued this view has created limitations in in our understanding and advancement of healing the person as a whole.[7]

Any practice that did not fit within the parameters of the biomedical approach became mistrusted and marginalized. Once outside the mainstream, holistic medicine became synonymous with alternative medicine. Worse, alternative medicine became the recipient of an even greater negative connotation due to those who preyed upon the desperately ill from the shadows by promising false cures that stemmed from neither modern medicine nor ancient traditions.

In 1998, Congress founded the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to test the efficacy and safety of treatments available to patients who were pursuing them outside of mainstream medicine.[8]

As research showed many modalities, such as massage and acupuncture, to be safe, soothing and not interfering with conventional treatments, they began to find acceptance under the now coined “complementary” health status. This implied a treatment considered “in addition to” conventional medicine vs. the alternative “instead of.”

With continued study validating the efficacy of these natural approaches, the newly renamed Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in 2015 renewed efforts to encourage increased research into holistic modalities and new study methodologies to suit their nature.  [9]

While scientific exploration continues to verify, explain and reveal new information about efficacy and safety, it may take time to unlock the many mysteries of the natural healing arts. In the meantime, many argue the documented use and effectiveness handed down through the ages creates a valuable body of historical evidence based upon trial and error and replicated empirical demonstration.

When it comes to holistic health, we seem to have come full circle from Hippocrates to Harvard. Whole-person healing is enjoying a resurgence of research across our major academic medical centers under the headings such as mind/body medicine, systems biology and functional medicine. And, many top teaching hospitals offer natural healing modalities as part of their clinical practice for their patients. Holistic healing combined with conventional medicine is referred to as integrative health or medicine creating a sense of working together in synergy.

In the meantime, holistic health practices continue to thrive on their own, offering either Eastern and Western approaches. Whole-person approaches such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and aromatherapy have become mainstream for the masses as people experience the benefits of balancing their beings.

One modern, yet historically familiar, definition of a holistic health practitioner is as follows:

Holistic health practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts, and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.”

With this in mind, practitioners may call upon both conventional and natural methods of healing from both the Eastern and Western traditions, not only to treat symptoms, but most importantly to look at source issues that may be leading to health concerns.[10]

 

Where does aromatherapy fit in?

Aromatherapy is the perfect partner in caring for your whole person. Approached in a holistic way, these aromatic essences can impact the wellbeing of our whole being – mind, body and spirit – putting nature in our hands to use as support for coming back into a healing state of balance.

In “The Wonderful Wide World of Aromatherapy,” we discuss dynamic and diverse ways  in which aromatherapy is practiced. The modern approach to holistic aromatherapy was introduced in 1961 by Marguerite Maury. Drawing upon the practices of both Eastern and Western holistic health, Maury sought to integrate aromatherapy in a way that would impact the psyche, physiological and psychological needs of each unique individual.[11]

Today, the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy defines the practice as:

The art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”

Maury’s use of aromatherapy to enhance our whole being through aromatic massage echoes the often-quoted dictate of Hippocrates.

The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day.”

It is with this holistic health advice in mind, from historical to modern perspective, that we can recreate our own whole-person restorative experience. We will combine aromatherapy with hydrotherapy and massage in a self-care routine as outlined below.

No worries if you don’t enjoy the bath. Benefits can also be enjoyed under the sensory-soothing spray of the shower. Bonus if you have a massaging-type shower head.

 

 

1) Choose a Synergy (or, use these as inspiration to create your own)

 

Balancing Bath Soak

2 drops fragonia

2 drops bergamot

1 drop ho wood

Helps to soothe and balance the mind, body and spirit.

 

 Bathe the Day Away

2 drops ho wood

2 drops palo santo*

1 drop rose otto 10%

Helps to harmonize the mind, body and spirit with a sense of inner peace and overall wellbeing.

*Palo Santo was a recent offering through the Oil of the Month club.

 

Fresh Awakening

2 drops bergamot

2 drops rosemary

1 drop spearmint

Relaxing to the body, awakening to the mind, while inviting joyful energy to the spirit.

 

Revitalizing Rain

2 drops frankincense carteri

2 drops spearmint

1 drop eucalyptus globulus

Uplifting and invigorating to the mind, while soothing to the body. Calming and clarifying, while promoting inner-contemplation.

 

2) Create a Bath or Shower Blend

 

For a Bath Blend:

5 drops (total) essential oil blend

1-2 T unscented, natural body wash

Mix well. Then, add:

½ c Epsom salts

Add to running water and soak. 

 

For a Shower Blend:

5-10 drops (total) essential oil blend

1 oz unscented, natural body wash

PET plastic squeeze bottle

Shake vigorously

May multiply blend per ounce based on the ratio above

 

3) Experience a Self-Massage in Bath or Shower:

  • You will need a natural bristle bathing brush (I have one with a long handle for the shower and detachable brush for the bath).
  • In the bath, apply unscented soap or body wash, while soaking in your aromatherapy blend.
  • In the shower, apply your shower gel with essential oil blend.

 

Self-Massage Steps:

  • Use comfortable, circular strokes
  • Apply your strokes so the flow of circulation moves toward the heart.
  • Start at the top of an area first, working upward toward the heart then move to the areas below to work upward.
  • Start with the left side, then work the right side in the following order:
  1. Upper Arm. Lower Arm
  2. Upper Leg. Lower Leg
  3. Switch Sides.
  4. Then, move to:
  5. Chest. Abdomen
  6. Upper Back. Lower Back (Don’t forget the buttocks)

This will provide you with a full body massage. Bonus if you massage your head with your fingertips. A head massage could also be completed while washing your hair.

 


Sources:

[1] “holo-“. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 3 May. 2017. <Dictionary.com

[2] “Holistic.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

[3] “Ayurvedic Medicine.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[4] “Traditional Chinese Medicine: In Depth.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[5] “Hippocrates.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

[6] Osborne, David K. “HIPPOCRATES.” Greek Medic2007. GreekMedicine.net, 2007. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

[7] Mehta, Neeta. “Mind-body Dualism: A Critique from a Health Perspective.” Mens Sana Monographs. Medknow Publications, Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

[8] “NCCIH Facts-at-a-Glance and Mission.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 03 June 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

[9] “Objective 1: Advance Fundamental Science and Methods Development.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 03 June 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

[10] “What Is Holistic Medicine?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

[11] Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and a Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materails. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

 


Copyright © 2017 Plant Therapy Essential Oils. All Rights Reserved.