Essential oils as a pathway to emotional, mental and physical balance, the fascinating workings of aromatherapy, and the magic effects of oils on our emotional wellbeing.
From their ancient medicinal roots to their modern-day effects on our physical, mental and emotional states, essential oils cast a compelling magic on our wellbeing. Here's a very brief introduction to essential oils.
The medicine of the ancient Egyptians
Essential oils are powerful natural medicines and their therapeutic use is as old as human civilisation itself.
Traces of fennel seeds and cumin have been found at the sites of ancient burial grounds and the ancient Egyptians's use of essential oils can be traced back to the 3rd century BC, where tears of frankincense and myrrh were found in the tomb excavations in the Valley of Kings.
Essential oils as a pathway to holistic balance
Essential oils offer us the opportunity to work on achieving spiritual, mental and emotional balance.
Used either singularly or in a blend, they assist us in remaining focused on our intentions, cultivating self-awareness, achieving a state of balance and wellbeing and creating positive changes in our lives.
A quick, simple insight into how aromatherapy works
Through a series of nerve impulses, aroma triggers part of the brain in the limbic system called the amygdala, where emotional memories are stored and processed.
The limbic system operates by influencing the endocrine system (hormonal system) and the autonomic nervous system.
Our mood, emotions and memories are accessed the quickest and most profoundly through our sense of smell. In fact, once a scent is registered it travels faster to the brain than either sight or sound!
Scent is the only sensation that travels such a direct path to the emotion and memory centres of the brain. That's why scent is so evocative and can transport you back to a childhood memory in a flash.
Its connection to our autonomic nervous system is also the reason why oils can have a physiological effect on our bodies and wellbeing as well a psychological impact.
Take, for example, the evidence that use of essential can lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Essential oils on our emotional wellbeing
The area of essential oils that has always held me most captive is the subtle but hugely powerful effect they can have on our emotional wellbeing.
...Uplifting, balancing, sedating, calming, energising, cleansing, relaxing. There is an oil for everything!
And because scent can be so evocative and powerful, it is important to use an oil you feel drawn to. Oils are often categorised into their effects such, as ‘energising’ ‘cleansing' ‘relaxing’ so you should be able to find an oil which you enjoy the aroma of for any given benefit.
Using your intuition to curate your essential oils
Part of the joy of using oils, is taking the time to discover which oils resonate with you and then going away and reading about them. You'll often find the oils you feel most drawn to are the particular qualities you are seeking or in need of balancing.
For a long while after my first two girls where born, I couldn't get enough of geranium. Geranium has long been revered as the oil for assisting in hormonal balance, particularly the female hormonal cycle.
Cooling, balancing and gently reviving, it is a natural anti-depressant and assists in helping relieve restlessness and anxiety, both of which I experienced in abundance for many years.
As I rediscovered some semblance of balance, my use of geranium in my essential oils toolkit also slowly subsided. This wasn’t a conscious choice, it just naturally gave way to other scents.
Different oils began to hold more interest for me. It was a reminder to me about how using your intuition to detect the appropriate oils is a core part of caring for your wellbeing through aromatherapy.
The essential oils you are drawn to are often a reflection of the qualities that may be depleted or excessive in our system at a particular time. They are calling for us to attend to them with care.
Although I haven't taken any formal essential oils training, I have self-studied at length delving into their uses and the science behind their healing properties on physical, physiological and psychological levels.
What I have learned is that one should never underestimate the power behind these natural remedies. Like any medicine, they need to be treated with the utmost respect and care.
The Top 5 Essential Oils in my Wellness Toolkit
My Intentional Blends Range!