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Essential Oils and Mental Well-Being

pexels-photo-932587Health and wellness gurus have been discussing the value of essential oils for years. Many incorporate these oils into physical workout regimens and their meditation.

What effects, if any, do essential oils have on your body? How can they aid in creating positive mental health?

Our friend Zayra Khalfan recently spoke about the benefits of essential oils as one part of a well-balanced healthy life. She shared some valuable information, helping clarify what essential oils are and how they can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.


What are essential oils?

When you think of essential oils, you probably first think about aromatherapy and the many beneficial uses of scents and aroma. A commonly used aromatherapy scent is lavender, which is often utilized for calming and relaxing.

In this most common understanding, familiar scents have well-understood effects. Perhaps you have experienced these, and even tried to replicate them with candles and incense in your home.

In addition to lavender, perhaps you have experienced a mood boost from citrus smells. You might positively associate citrus and cinnamon or other strong smells with fond memories, like a holiday, or your mother’s favorite cooking spices.

With their ability to summon past experiences, essential oils can be used by therapists to help evoke and address childhood memories. Unlocking these experiences can be beneficial to uncovering trauma that underlies current struggles.


How are essential oils used?

There are many different ways to use essential oils.

As mentioned above, some therapists may use oils simply for their scent, diffusing them in the air. This can be done by wicking through bamboo reeds, burning a candle, or simply wafting from an open container.

Other therapists see benefits from applying the oils directly to the skin. This can be left to evaporate, or it can be massaged into the skin. This second, deep tissue, approach is often taken as part of physical therapy that can include yoga, stretching, and massage.

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Which oils should I use?

As always, this answer is highly personal. What do you hope to achieve through using them? A list of common oils and their general uses is below to help get you started in making this decision.

  • Lavendar – calming
  • Sage – cleansing
  • Citrus – mood boost
  • Frankincense – calming
  • Vetiver – calming, especially helpful with relieving behavioral symptoms and helps with focus
  • Patchouli – calming, slowing breathing / pulse
  • Tree oils / terpenes – serenity (think of sitting in a forest)

As always, checking with your therapist, counselor, physical therapist, or other trusted advisor can help you form a more complete picture and make the best choice for you and your own situation.


Do you recommend a particular brand?

I use Young Living oils for a variety of reasons.

Young Living oils are carefully prepared. Working from a special seed bank, their ingredients are farm-grown, pesticide-free, and hand-weeded.

While oils are also produced over multiple pressings (think about your “extra-virgin olive oil”), Young Living takes the oil only from the first pressing.

Further, the purity of Young Living is maintained throughout the process. It is not diluted with mineral oil or other thinners. If your essential oil says it is flammable, contains some fragrance, or has an expiration date, it is most likely not 100% pure.

My favorite feature in Young Living oils is their unique blends. Some of my favorites include:

  • Valor – a blend designed to evoke courage and strength
  • Peace & Calming – destressing and calming after over-stimulation
  • Stress Away– destressing and calming after over-stimulation
  • Joy – specifically formulated to deal with grief and loss, this brings joy
  • Release – designed to release negative emotions from your body and mind
  • Sara – designed for use addressing abuse and trauma
  • White Angelica – repels negative energy, helps reduce nightmares



Are you curious about how you can regain control of your thoughts and emotions? Wondering about the best practices to return to a centered sense of wholeness and well-being? Start working on it today by reaching out to your therapist.

Or you can get in contact with a trained online therapist like Sakina Issa by pressing the red button at the top of this page.

Find a time that works for you to discuss options for a single session or an ongoing series.

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