When I visited my Nana Pearl as a little girl, I would open her purse and take a deep breath. Buried deep down inside it, I knew, was a pack of gum—clove gum. I loved it, the smell and the taste of it. Today the only place I can find clove gum is a Cracker Barrel store, and still when I unwrap it and breathe its aroma, I am right back there with my nana. The sense of smell is that powerful!
An aroma can bring a long ago memory back to life again. What I didn’t realize as little girl, rooting around in my nana’s purse, is that smell can actually help with healing. I knew Vick’s ® Vapo-Rub on the chest seemed to magically clear my stuffy nose, even though it was greasy and icky and my undershirt stuck to it.
But it wasn’t magic, at all. It was aromatherapy. Today in my massage practice, I use essential oils (EOs) to enhance client healing. For thousands of years, these concentrated, liquid plant extracts have supported the healing of body, mind, and spirit. Distilled or pressed from a variety of plant sources, they evaporate quickly. They can be inhaled, rubbed on the body, or misted in the air (and sometimes taken internally) to improve mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. EOs can even help with house cleaning!
My interest in essential oils started because I love the way they smell. Curiosity led me to study aromatherapy further. Soon I wanted to improve my skills beyond a few drops of Candy Cane on the feet of clients to perk them up after a massage session. As I learned more, through serious study with doTerra (doTerra.com), I began to test my skills by experimenting on clients—with their permission, of course—and recording the feedback. A very interesting experiment over three sessions involved frankincense. Frankincense is a distilled resin and, as with most EOs, has a wide range of healing properties. It is recommended for healing trauma, improving the immune system, enhancing meditation or prayer focus, and balancing emotions, to name a few.
Using frankincense over the course of three weekly massages proved to be aid her healing from trauma. The client reported that after the first application, she cried a lot. After the second, she noted a “pleasant sense of awakening” and described having positive thoughts and ideas that she hadn’t had for a long time. Following the third session, she reported feeling very calm. What we discovered was that the three applications mapped a transformative healing journey. First there was the emotional release through crying, as unpleasant as it was, then a restoration of positive thoughts, and finally a sense of peace.
The trauma had been held as muscle memory. Frankincense initiated release from the body through the tears (https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2561/do-emotionally-driven-tears-release-toxins-from-the-body). It’s as if the shedding of tears made room for positively charged energy to re-emerge as recollected thoughts, and finally, the positive mental energy morphed into a sense of spiritual well-being or renewal that the client recognized as “peace.” Release. Restore. Renew.
It’s the aroma, the release of the plant’s essence, that has the power to heal body, mind, and spirit. Thanks, Nana Pearl!