How Aromatherapy Can Heal the Spirit
“Even the leaves serve as medicines to the soul: the warnings and reproofs of the word, though less pleasant than Divine consolations, tend to heal the diseases of the soul” – Ezekiel 47:12
Aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years. The word aroma comes from the Greek word for spice and is often used to mean fragrance. “Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential oils to maintain and promote physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being” (Mojay, 1999 p.10). When I was experiencing an emotional and financial upset, I went into a deep depression. I unknowingly began to diffuse Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) because I noticed after washing dishes with my lemon scented dish soap, I felt happier and hopeful- and I do not like washing dishes. I read Lemongrass on the ingredients label on the dish soap bottle. I was unaware of why this Lemongrass scent was giving me a good sense of being- uplifting my spirit. This was a catalyst for me to research this newly discovered essential oil. I learned Lemongrass is a great oil to ease moods, uplift the spirit, offers emotional protection, alleviates emotional uproars, and has a direct effect on one’s spirit, mood, and sense of well-being. I diffused this oil almost every day for two years gaining invaluable benefits; biggest benefit was healing my spirit. “Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that draws upon the healing power of plants, with a strong focus on essential oils. In aromatherapy, these oils are used for improving physical and mental health as well as for positively influencing mood and cognitive function” (Press, 2015 p.23).
“Because of their ability to positively influence emotions, aromatherapy can help mitigate the downward cycle of depression moreover, malaise that often accompanies illness, exhaustion, and periods of prolonged physical or mental stress. Science has proven time and again that emotional state has the power to change the body’s chemistry and that such changes in chemistry directly affect the immune system. By using aromatherapy to keep negative states of being such as stress, tension, and sleeplessness at bay, you can give your overall health a boost” (Press, 2015 p.27).
“Although they are the tools of a gentle therapy, essential oils have the power to reach deep into the psyche, and to both relax the mind and uplift the Spirit” (Mojay, 1999 p.13). Methods of application include (not limited to): steam/mist inhalation, massage, lotions, creams, baths, and compresses. In my case, I relied heavily on steam/mist inhalation from my diffuser.
“When making blends to help heal the spirit, it is imperative to focus on essential oils “top,” “middle,” and “base” notes. “An oil’s top notes are those that are light and fresh in aroma, and the first that nose will discern. They predominate in oils that evaporate more quickly, such as grapefruit and peppermint. The middle notes provide the heart, and often the bulk, of the fragrance, and are for this reason to be found in almost all essential oils. The base notes are heavy and rich in character and are the last to emerge from the scent” (Mojay, 1999 p.13). Essential oils impact our emotions/spirit through our sense of smell (through the olfactory nerves) activating our limbic system which is responsible for emotion, behavior, motivation, memory, and learning; Essential oils are an excellent healing modality to uplift one’s spirit. Many essential oils can help heal the spirit which will have an all-embracing effect on the Body, Mind, and Spirit connection. Below, I have listed some essential oils and their effects on Spirit:
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)- “Frankincense oil has profound psychological and spiritual benefits, long recognized by religious and spiritual traditions the world over. Regarding the Five Elements, the effect of frankincense oil may be linked on a fundamental level to the that of the Earth, where its ability to calm and center the mind reflects its gently tranquilizing, yet profoundly clarifying, the effect on the Intellect (Yi). Like sandalwood oil, it is an ideal aid to meditation, contemplation, and prayer, ceasing mental chatter and stilling the mind. Facilitating a state of single-pointed concentration, it allows the Spirit to soar” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 75).
Myrrh (Commiphora molmol)- “ Myrrh oil’s effect on the Spirit-like Frankincense- is one of inner stillness and peace, of an awareness freed from the restless and mundane. As a Funeral Herb, the peace that the oil conveys gives it the ability to ease sorrow and grief- linking it, also, to the Metal Element. Vulnerary in nature-appearing when the plant is wounded-myrrh subtly helps to close the wounds of both loss and rejection. A distillation of the desert’s eternal landscape, the oil embodies the soothing power of solitude” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 99). Precautions include: “Myrrh essential oil can be toxic in high concentrations, and should not be used during pregnancy” (Totilo, 2016, pg. 397). This oil is non-toxic and non-irritating.
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)- “Laurel oil assists by stimulating both the rational and “higher mind,” and by helping to renew one’s belief in one’s boundless potential. This it does principally through reigniting the Fire Element, where its fresh and spicy scent elevates the Spirit and sparks our inner vision” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 89). Precautions include: “Do not use on children under two yrs. Avoid using on Hypersensitive, diseased, or damaged skin. Do not use at more than 2% Dilution” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 88)
Sandalwood (Santalum album)- “Sandalwood oil’s influence on the mind and Spirit relate at a basic level to its cooling, calming, and toning effect on the nervous system” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 117). Sandalwood was/is traditionally used for meditation, prayer, and spiritual practices; “diminishing the tyranny of the intellect, of the incessant need to overthink, it instills in its place an experience of inner unity-a state where body, mind, and Spirit can re-align as one” (Mojay, pg. 117).
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)- “ The action of spikenard oil reaches far into the psyche and works to soften the Ethereal Soul (Hun) When we are hardened with immovable hostility. Although the healing process involved may be a slow one, spikenard is appropriate for a deep bitterness of Spirit -where resentment has blocked both spiritual growth and happiness” (Mojay, pg. 119). In addition to diffusing, you can mix different essential oils in carrier oils, to create synergistic blends to massage in the skin for therapeutic effects for the Spirit. Examples below:
Blends Recommended to pacify and reinvigorate the spirit include:
Blend 1- In 20 mL of carrier oil: 4 drops cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), two drops ginger (Zingiber officinalis) (Mojay, 1999, pg. 160)
Blend 2 – In 20 mL of carrier oil: 2 drops rose (Rosa damascena), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), 1 drop of everlasting (Helichrysum italicum) (Mojay, 1999, pg. 70).
“The harmonious movement of Qi is crucial for maintaining our overall emotional well-being, as feelings must ebb and flow. When, due to mounting pressures, tension takes hold, the Qi can stagnate and frustrate the Spirit, leading to a sense of oppression” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 162). The essential oil Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is known for having profound effects on the Spirit. “Bergamot oil has a wide reputation for a capacity to gently uplift- a direct result of its action of smoothing the flow of Liver-Qi. Combining an ability to both relax the nerves and refresh the Spirit, it is suitable for depressive states that stem from stress and pent-up feelings” (Mojay, 1999, pg. 162).
In closing, there are several publications that reference essential oils having a profound/healing effect on the Spirit/Body. However, it is scriptures in the Bible, which connect and reveal to us, these fragrant jewels have been man’s medicine long before conventional medicine. “Even the leaves serve as medicines to the soul: the warnings and reproofs of the word, though less pleasant than Divine consolations, tend to heal the diseases of the soul.”
“Along the bank of the river, on this side and that will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine in Ezekiel 47:1-23 (KJV):”
Ezekiel 47-12. (2004). In Bible Hub. Retrieved June 15, 2018, from http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/47-12.htm.
McFall, S. (2018). My Messy Life. Retrieved June 15, 2018, from https://mymerrymessylife.com/2015/12/12-essential-oils-of-ancient-scripture-webinar-notes-and-video.html.
Mojay, G. ( 1999) Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential oils. Healing Arts Press, Rochester Vermont.
Press, A. (2015). Essential Oils Natural Remedies. Althea Press, Berkeley California
Totilo, P.R. (2016). Aromatherapy Certification Program
Level 2. Rebecca at the Well Foundation, Saint Petersburg, Florida
Worwood, A.V. (1990). The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. Macmillan London Limited, United Kingdom.