-Evon McDonald, FCCI, Young Living Diamond, with Lorna Miller
Did you know that the aromas of essential oils have psychological benefits and can provide emotional support?
When you smell an essential oil, the olfactory nerve relays that information to the olfactory bulb, adjacent to the limbic system. The limbic system is the emotional control center of the brain, and is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. The limbic lobe also includes the hippocampus and the amygdala, and can also directly activate the hypothalamus, which is one of the most important parts of the brain.
Aroma molecules oils fit into specific receptor sites in the cells like a key fits into a lock, and when they do, they may bring forward some old memories and the emotions attached to them. Many times those are happy memories and situations, and other times they are not. Maybe nutmeg oil brings back childhood memories of your grandma baking your favorite dessert. Perhaps spearmint reminds you of a favorite teacher who always chewed spearmint gum. Stress Away might take you back to that lime & vanilla lotion that you and your best friend wore all the time in high school. Or it could be that Joy essential oil blend reminds you of your midwife’s hugs or that Amoressence helps you feel connected to a treasured friend.
Other times, those memories may not be so pleasant. For some people, clove oil reminds them of the dentist, or makes their taste buds twist at remembrance of the bad taste of a medicine they had to take as a kid. Maybe Valerian smells like your boyfriend’s gym locker that needed a good cleaning out. Or maybe a particular oil reminds you of the cologne or signature fragrance of someone who mistreated you in the past.
Oils can assist us to clear out negative memories and emotional blocks and help you to move forward. Aromas release memories even on a cellular level. They can be used to combat stress and emotional trauma, along with so many other emotional issues. When we smell an oil and love it, there usually a physical reason why your body enjoys or craves it. If we find that we are repulsed by a particular, there is often an underlying emotion or memory that is “triggered” by the volatile compounds in the oil. But as we work through releasing those things, and allowing the oils to clear emotions from our cellular memory, the aromas become more appealing. Sometimes emotional releases are sudden, other times you may feel particularly emotional two or three days after being exposed to a large amount of oils (such as while attending an oily event or after receiving a Raindrop Technique).
Fear not – emotional releases do not occur with essential oils until YOU are ready for it. You likely will not open your starter kit and smell your new oils and suddenly feel weepy and out of control. Often times, we need to be taught how to use them in such manner. But you WILL find in the aromatherapy world, especially in Young Living, that many oilers deliberately seek out those emotional releases and use the oils to help them deal with and release emotions in a positive way as part of personal development. Several persons in Young Living have attended trainings to assist others in releasing traumatic memories and emotions in a way that feels safe and supportive.
So when I say I am going to use an oil to make me happy, or put it in my diffuser to support myself emotionally on a hard day, it is because I know that subconsciously my limbic system is going to be dealing with starting to clear some of those blockages. The oils won’t do the emotional work for me, and many of those things I need to be consciously working on myself, but even having them running in the background sometimes helps to set the stage and creates a willingness or a readiness to release memories and stored emotions that no longer serve me in a positive way.
To learn more about emotional release with essential oils, refer to your Essential Oils Desk Reference or consider attending a C.A.R.E. Intensive weekend!