Most people are drawn to essential oils for the amazing ways they help our houses smell better. Did you know that many people are drawn to essential oils for emotional support as well?
I’ve been teaching essential oil classes since 2016. And one of my favourite classes that I’ve taught is called Essential Emotions. In 2017, I partnered up with Camp Yoga as their exclusive dōTERRA rep. I taught 2 workshops during the weekend. An essential oils 101 class and a class focused on supporting our emotions.
I miss teaching these in-person classes, so I thought I could share all the ways essential oils can support our mental health here on the blog.
How do emotions affect our physical health?
Let’s first understand why we would want to use essential oils to support our emotions.
But first a story… I met Deborra Cameron a few years ago now. I was looking for a Naturopath and I visited a clinic in downtown Ottawa that had a health concierge. I met with her and mentioned a few things I was dealing with. She then made recommendations for different practitioners I might want to meet. I did 15 mins meet and greets with a few health practitioners and Deborra fascinated me.
She was a reflexologist and qi gong practitioner AND so much more. She calls herself an intuitive reflexologist and I was soon to learn what that would mean for me. She introduced me to the concept of an emotional blueprint and how certain emotions can affect different areas of the body. One of my favourite quotes from her about page is “Once we heal imbalances, we provide the body with energy and room to heal itself and recuperate.” During our first session, after massaging my feet for a few minutes and without asking me any questions based on the reflexology she could tell that I had a lot of warrior (masculine) energy, but that I was lacking feminine energy. At the time I had just launched the Alpha Female podcast. She also labeled my emotional blueprint as “Love is Insecure”. After calling off a wedding in 2012 and leaving a toxic relationship it was definitely true.
If you read Deborra’s Cycle of Creation blog post, you’ll learn that according to Taoism, emotions are stored in our organs. Fast forward a few years and her cycle of creation chart really started to resonate with me. Over the past 2 years, I’ve been processing a lot of anger from birth trauma to being fired while on mat leave, to how I’ve been treated in the world during a pandemic. And it’s no wonder that I’ve been dealing with liver issues over the past 2 years.
However, let’s back it up a few years to 2015. I was diagnosed with MS in December of 2014, and the following year, I read the book “When The Body Says No” by Gabor Mate (for which I did a book review). In the Chapter on MS patients, I was shocked to learn that many of Dr. Mate’s MS patients shared similar personality traits, potentially leading to similar ways of handling stress. And many MS patients had been in toxic relationships before their diagnosis. That’s when I truly started taking stress management more seriously and healing from many traumas. My eyes had become open to how stress management and our reactions to stress can really impact our physical health.
Around the same time, I found essential oils and dōTERRA. I was more curious about how to get better sleep and use the oils for green cleaning to reduce my toxic load. Little did I know that I was just beginning to open my eyes to the emotional support properties of essential oils.
How does aromatherapy affect our emotions?
Many research studies exist on the National Library of Medicine. For example this study on “Therapeutic Effect and Mechanisms of Essential Oils in Mood Disorders: Interaction between the Nervous and Respiratory Systems”
The favourable outcomes may be due to multiple mechanisms, including the regulation of monoamine level, the induction of neurotrophic factor expression, the regulation of the endocrine system and the promotion of neurogenesis.
The simple way I’ve come to understand the science is when we use essential oils aromatically (ex. in a diffuser). We inhale the volatile aromatic compounds of the essential oil through our nose, into our olfactory system which is located close to the hypothalamus and the hippocampus. Which in turn interacts with our brain and our limbic system, and creates hormone productions like serotonin or dopamine.
Different sets of responses would be triggered, such as increased neurogenesis, regulation of hormonal levels, activation of different brain regions, and alteration in blood biochemistry, which would ultimately affect both mood and emotion.
Our body is so complex that this explanation doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Or allow you to understand the mechanisms by which essential oils support our emotional health. But when I started doing this research it was enough for me to see that essential oils could support my mental health. And it was up to me to become my own guinea pig.
The Emotional Root To Physical Ailments
When I first started researching essential oils and emotions, I came across this chart created by another dōTERRA wellness advocate. What I found fascinating about it was being able to match physical responses in the body, to the emotional root of the issues and then what essential oils could be used to support a new emotional desired result.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger, and feelings of being stressed and anxiety. Depending on what physical symptoms are manifested, I will look to move from a potentially negative emotion to a most positive one. So if I’m working through anger and I set the intention I’d like to feel more comforted, I’ll look to grab Breathe (Easy Air – as it’s called in Canada). I’ll pop it into the diffuser and use guided meditation to feel more grounded.
In Deborra’s Liver and Anger blog, she writes: “By bringing awareness to the anger, we can allow it, judge ourselves less, and begin to see the anger begin to evolve to acceptance of others and ourselves.”
Just by simply acknowledging that I’m angry, journaling about my feelings, and meditating on the subject, I can bring awareness and acceptance to the emotions I’m feeling and not let them fester in my body and affect my health.
Essential Oils & Intention Setting
I’m a big fan of using essential oils as a tool in my healthcare tool belt. So when it comes to mental health I use essential oils in tandem with other tools. But even before popping an essential oil in the diffuser and doing a guided meditation I focus on the intention behind use an oil.
I believe intention setting is a powerful thing so I always pair intention setting with a mental health tool and essential oils.
Essential Oils & Stress Management Tools
Here are all the ways that I use essential oils to support my stress management habits.
- Essential Oils in a Diffuser + Guided Meditation
- Essential Oils in an Epsom Salt Bath
- Essential Oils on the skin after dry brushing before an Infrared Sauna session
- Essential Oils in a Diffuser before bed
- Essential Oils in a Diffuser + Breathwork
- Essential Oils used in a massage
My Favourite Essential Oils for Emotional Support
I have an amazing resource that I use to teach myself more about the emotional properties of oils. The Essential Emotions book is an amazing resource so here are excerpts from the book on 10 oils and blends and how they can support different emotional states.
Adaptiv: The oil of adaptability. This essential oil blend contains wild orange, lavender, copaiba, spearmint, magnolia, rosemary, neroli, and sweetgum. This oil was created as the “Calming Blend” to support anyone feeling anxious. This oil blend helps us adapt to stressors and fears in more clear, constructive, and confident ways.
Balance: The grounding oil. This essential oil blend contains spruce, ho wood, frankincense, blue tansy, blue chamomile, and osmanthus in a base of fractionated coconut oil. Balance helps us by staying present with a specific plan or idea until it is embodied.
Breathe (US) / Easy Air (CA): The oil of breath. This essential oil blend contains laurel leaf, eucalyptus, peppermint, melaleuca, lemon, cardamom, ravintsara, and ravensara. This oil can help address the inability to let go of grief and pain and become open to genuine love and healing.
Cheer: The oil of cheerfulness. This essential oil blend contains wild orange, clove, star anise, lemon myrtle, nutmeg, vanilla bean extract, ginger, cinnamon bark, and zdravetz. This oil is helpful for those who feel heavyhearted or feel weighed down.
Citrus Bloom: The oil of new beginnings. This essential oil blend contains wild orange, grapefruit, lavender, roman chamomile, and magnolia. This oil is also named the Springtime blend. It’s wonderful for clearing stagnant energy when a chapter comes to a close.
OnGuard: The oil of protection. This essential oil blend contains wild orange, clove, cinnamon leaf & bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This oil blend’s protective properties extend beyond physical by warding off negative energies, domineering personalities, and other harmful influences.
Northern Escape: The woodland blend. This essential oil blend contains black spruce, siberian fir, balsam fir, lavender, cedarwood, cypress, hinoki, frankincense, nootka, cananga, and clove. This essential oil blend provides a grounding and inspiring aroma.
Peppermint: The oil of a buoyant heart. This essential oil brings joy to the heart and soul. It invigorates the body, mind, and spirit. It can remind us that life can be happy. Peppermint can be felt most in times of discouragement or despair.
Serenity: The oil of tranquility. This essential oil blend contains lavender, cedarwood, coriander, ylang ylang, marjoram, roman chamomile, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka bean, and vanilla absolute.
Wild Orange: The oil of abundance. This essential oil inspires abundance, creativity and supports a positive mood. It can help us reconnect with our inner child and bring about spontaneity, fun, joy, and playfulness into one’s life.
Would you like to bring these essential oils into your stress management tool kit?
The Aroma Essentials Kit
The easiest way to get started with dōTERRA is with a starter kit. It’s the most cost-effective way to purchase, you’ll receive a free wholesale membership (with the ability to purchase oils at 25% off whenever you want) and free shipping.
With the Aroma Essentials Kit, you’ll receive the 8 oil blends and 2 single oils that are described in this blog post with the Laluz Diffuser.
Last but not least, you’ll become a part of my essential oil community. I send out daily text messages around essential oil education from diffuser blends to try to DIY recipes and more. I’d love to help guide you as you bring these tools into your life.