a time where technology and science are second nature (pun very much intended), we often forget our connection to the natural world.  In our efforts for fortune or fame, we can ignore our bodies’ cries for rest or exercise, proper nutrition, creative expression, relationships, or spiritual growth and pay the price with chronic illnesses, imbalances and general dissatisfaction.  We can also utilize the wisdom found in nature where balance and proper timing produce success, abundant health, quality of life and experience, longevity and satisfaction.

Nature provides everything we need right when we need it.  It reminds us when to rest and when to be active, when to eat and when to cleanse, when to build and when to tear down. The greatest challenge comes with the choice to go with the proverbial flow or resist it at every turn because we think somehow we know better than nature does.   Its energy is constant, but constantly evolving inside/out, expanding/contracting, living/dying and so on.

Energy can only be changed, but never destroyed.  Jacob Atabet states, “Unused evolutionary energy is the matrix of pain.”  Put another way, what we nourish and nurture yields growth.  What we neglect and ignore yields growth also, but often in undesirable form (e.g. cancer, etc.).   Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and more specifically the application of its Five Phase Theory is a wonderful embodiment of this principle as it reveals through observation of nature and seasons information about what to do and when to do it.  We will look more closely in upcoming articles at seasons as they come, what energy they hold, herbs, foods and activities necessary to achieve balance and health.

For now, as we say goodbye to Winter and pry Spring from its cold dead fingers, we must give thanks for the time of necessary rest and stillness our bodies and earth have needed in preparation for the seeds of change and newness to come.


Essential Oil Therapy

August 22, 2010

Essential oil therapy is the use of highly concentrated plant extracts to facilitate balance and healing.  Essential oils are highly aromatic and are most commonly obtained through a process of steam distillation.  Essential oils are applied in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

Skin Application – Because essential oils are highly concentrated and can burn if applied undiluted to the skin, they are blended with a carrier oil like almond, grape seed, jojoba, etc., and massaged directly into the skin.  Oils can be applied directly over an area (sore muscles) or can be applied to the feet, hands, or pulse points, where they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect appropriate areas (e.g. chamomile to calm the nerves).   Reflexologists commonly utilize essential oils by applying them to the feet or hands to enhance healing of specific body systems.
Inhalation – Inhaling aromatic oils directly or in a diffuser affects brain chemistry through the olfactory nerve and can positively affect mood and emotional health.
Bathing – Essential oils can be added in very small quantities to bath water, bath salts, or foot baths where one can enjoy the fragrance of the oils while the body takes advantage of their healing properties.

Essential oils can be used to benefit every body system as well as mental, emotional and even spiritual wellbeing.  Below is a brief list of a just a few common uses:

•    Headaches
•    Sinuses and allergies
•    Mental fatigue
•    Dental discomfort
•    Chest congestion/bronchitis
•    Depression/grief
•    Muscle aches/soreness
•    Adrenal exhaustion
•    Digestive upsets, gas, bloating, etc.
•    Menstrual pain and discomfort
•    Aphrodisiac
•    Mental clarity and concentration
•    General relaxation

•    Meditation/prayer

Essential oil therapy is also known as aromatherapy.  This term is misleading, however, as it has been frequently overused in the advertisement and marketing of many common household products, and the actual use of concentrated plant extracts is replaced by synthetic and sometimes toxic ingredients.  Furthermore, it is not required to smell the oils to receive their healing benefits in most cases.
Individuals trained in the use of essential oils are commonly called aromatherapists and must go through extensive training on oils and their uses as many oils are highly potent and can cause adverse reactions when used without caution and experience.