Can our emotions have an impact on our physical health and wellbeing? For many of you reading this, it will seem like a silly question, as the answer is obviously YES. And yet it is only recently that we have been begun to see mainstream medicine address this question in the affirmative and begin to examine its implications. Neuroscientist Candace Pert stated, “Repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion can be stored in a body part, thereafter affecting our ability to feel that part or even move it.”
It is now recognised that many of our illnesses can stem back to emotional stresses and problems in our infancy and even the womb. A number of scientists now argue that emotional problems can effect changes at the genetic level. For example, developmental biologist Dr Bruce Lipton is a leading proponent of the science of epigenetics, which basically argues that our genetic expression is determined by our environment and our beliefs. Our beliefs are created from our experiences, ideas passed on to us by our families and unfortunately also our emotional traumas.
The way it works is something like this. At the moment we have a terrible experience, the emotional centre of the brain (limbic centre) chooses a place to store that memory for future reference until it can be dealt with. For example it could be your pancreas. According to Dr Carolyn Mein, as each organ of the body has a vibrational frequency, our respective emotions will move in an area of the body with a corresponding frequency. 
That memory can be lodged there without your knowledge for years. At some point you may develop hypoglycemia or a pain in your left side. This is the body’s way of telling you that it’s time to deal with this issue. If we misunderstand the message or postpone dealing with it, our body will “up the ante” so to speak, and we may find ourselves developing diabetes or worse. This continues until we deal with the stored emotional issue or eventually we die from the condition.
Can essential oils effect changes on our emotional state?
Back in May (Ancient Medicine: Sandalwood, cassia, cedarwood and cyprus), I mentioned a reference made to a carved relief from an ancient Egyptian temple, which describes a ritual that was known as “cleansing the flesh and blood of evil deities”. This wasn’t some kind of esoteric religious ceremony but rather a three-day ritual to cleanse the body of mental and emotional illnesses which they regarded as evil deities. The process used by the Egyptians involved the use of essential oils. These were applied to the person, with two other people being present to support the individual. The ancient Egyptians believed that if they didn’t clear the body and mind of these negative influences they could not progress into the next life. 
Can this ancient wisdom apply today? It seems incredible to think that something like an essential oil can have an impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing. And yet as I pointed out in Reducing weight with essential oils, essential oils are able to penetrate through the olfactory sense (sense of smell) to the limbic part of the brain – the emotional centre of the human brain. They also penetrate to the hippocampus, which is associated with the storage of working memory and short-term memory, and the pineal gland, which is often associated with spiritual development (see Essential oils for the spirit).
How do essential oils work with our emotions?
- Certain essential oils work by calming the central nervous system and helping us to relax instead of allowing the build-up of anxiety in the body. What most people don’t know is that anxiety creates an acidic condition in the body. This activates an enzyme which results in that anxiety being stored in our DNA. Essential oils support the body in minimizing this reaction.
- Essential oils can also help in the release of old emotional traumas. In 1989, Dr Joseph Ledoux from NY Medical University discovered that the amygdala (in the limbic centre of the brain) plays a role in the storage and release of emotional traumas. He also suggested that aromas could trigger an emotional release.  In addition, essential oils carry molecules known as sesquiterpenes, which are capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier. These molecules have a significant oxygenating effect on the brain. The combination of oxygenation on the brain and the stimulation from aromatic molecules appears to assist the amygdala in facilitating the release of emotional blockages.
- As pointed out earlier in the research of Carolyn Mein, essential oils can help to effect emotions trapped within various organs and tissues of the body.
- Essential oils also have an effect on the human energy field, helping to balance and raise our frequencies (see What’s your frequency? ).
Oils for emotional application
The following is a guide on which oils might be helpful with some of the more common emotional challenges. How to apply these oils? We know the sense of smell is the best way to reach the emotional centre of the brain, so inhalation is the best way to apply these. You can diffuse these oils in a room, wear them as a cologne (see my article Making essential oil perfumes) or simply inhale them from the bottle regularly throughout the day. You may even wish to make up a blend so as to combine several oils that will “pack a punch” so to speak. You can combine these oils with a massage if you are tense or finding it hard to relax. There is also the possibility of using these oils with some type of acupressure or reflex technique, in which case you will apply the oils topically to a certain part of the body. See Carolyn Mein’s book for more information on that.
Till next time!
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
 Mein, Carolyn L, D.C., Releasing emotional patterns with essential oils, Vision Ware Press, 1998. According to Mein, by applying essential oils to acupuncture or reflex points, the emotion can be cleared or released.
 Young, D Gary, N.D., Aromatherapy: the Essential Beginning, Essential Press Publishing, 1996, p95
 LeDoux, JE, Rationalizing Thoughtless Emotions, Insight, Sept. 1989
Genetics, Epigenetics, and Destiny – Interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton, Danielle Graham, SuperConsciousness Magazine, September 2008
Mein, Carolyn L, D.C.. Releasing emotional patterns with essential oils. Santa Fe: Vision Ware Press, 1998