By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist
In our last blog, “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health” from the Essential Education series, we discussed the meaning and impact of holistic health practices on our whole being. Essentially, we are caring for our whole person – bringing balance to mind, body, and spirit – for restorative wellbeing.
We also discussed a specific self-care practice combining massage, hydrotherapy (through bath or shower) and aromatherapy to create a synergy for our senses. This allowed us to support our whole health at home in the tradition of Hippocrates, the Father of Western medicine, made modern by aromatherapy pioneer, Marguerite Maury.
Holistic health practitioners continue to incorporate another teaching of Hippocrates:
“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
To sustain optimal well being our mind, body, and spirit consistently strive for balance. In Eastern Medicine and Energy Medicine, we think of balance in our natural energy flow. In Western Medicine, we think of this as homeostasis. This is the natural healing force within each of us.
Chronic disruption to our equilibrium can challenge our whole being beyond its ability to compensate and rebalance. This impacts our capacity to heal and can lead to dis-ease.
In addition, to the “aromatic bath and scented massage” as discussed in “What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health,” we have available to us many other self-balancing techniques from both ancient and modern traditions to incorporate into our self-care routines.
Because many of us experience nervous tension and worry that takes us out of balance, I’ve offered three options to help restore our mind, body, and spirit in this situation. I encourage you to explore and experience what works best for you. Know you can begin with the mind, body or spirit after determining which area is of most concern, but each option can help to restore balance to our whole being.
All are designed as options for when we are on the go. We may not always have the time to be in a quiet space, but we can always create our own inner quiet space regardless of where we happen to be.
As always, aromatherapy can play a significant supporting role by creating a synergy with our other self-care practices. As we discussed previously, the intention of holistic aromatherapy is to help bring balance to mind, body, and spirit to encourage our own natural healing process. With this in mind, we are going to integrate aromatherapy with the practices below for a more expansive experience.
CALMING THE MIND
Experiencing meditation, along with aromatherapy, can help quiet our busy, repetitive, or anxious thoughts allowing us to balance the physical and subtle bodies. This also allows us to be in the present moment, go inward for introspection and hit the reset button.
- This helps to quiet busy thoughts and expand our ability to go inward.
- 6 drops Basil Linolool (Ocimum basilicum)
- 6 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- 3 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- Add to a personal aroma inhaler
Aromatic Meditation in Seven Simple Steps:
(Adapted from Yoga Journal June 2014) 
- Choose an aromatherapy blend and inhale deeply in each nostril. (see above)
- Find a quiet place to sit comfortably
- Gently close your eyes.
- Notice your breath, without trying to control it.
- Breathe gently through your nose and bring your focus to each inhalation and exhalation.
- Count each breath
- When you find thoughts coming to the surface, simply notice them like clouds floating by (without judgment) and return your attention to counting your breath.
RELAXING THE BODY
Manual tension release provides support for the physical body to relax and rebalance. This aromatic head massage, adapted from the ayurvedic experience, can relieve tight discomfort in the head and neck to create a cascade effect throughout the body helping to ease your mind, body, and spirit back into a state of relaxation.
This is also helpful if you experience excruciating head and neck tension that can side-line you feeling unwell.
- 4 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
- 2 drops Basil Linalool (Ocimum basilicum)
- 2 drops Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum italicum)
- 3 drops Marjoram Sweet (Origanum majorana)
- 2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 2 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis ct 1,8-Cineole)
Add to a 10 mL roller bottle and top with jojoba oil. Note, this is a 5% blend meant for spot treatment and short-term use.
Aromatic Ayurvedic Head Massage
(Adapted from Massage Bodywork Magazine Sept/Oct. 2008) 
- Apply your aromatherapy blend (see above) to your temples. Gently massage with your fingertips in a circular pattern. Continue for at least one minute.
- Next, you may wish to apply a small amount of the aromatherapy blend to your fingertips. Gently “shampoo” your entire scalp in small circles with your fingertips. Begin at the temples and move toward the back of the head. Continue for at least one minute.
- Finish by gently “combing” the scalp with your fingertips. Begin with fingertips above the forehead, at the hairline, and comb over the top of the head and toward the neck and shoulders. Repeat up to 10 times
SOOTHING THE SPIRIT
Reflexology is the practice of bringing various aspects of the body back into balance by working through corresponding reflex points on the foot. These steps are intended to bring our energy back down from our head toward our feet soothing nervous tension felt in our physical and emotional bodies and regrounding us into a present calming state.
In practicing yoga, you become aware of centering your weight on the four corners of your feet so that your posture is in balance and you feel firmly balanced. This blend creates that sense of feeling squarely centered and grounded.
- 2 drops Fragonia (Agonis fragrans)
- 2 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- 1 drop Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- 1 drop Ginger CO2 (Zingiber officinalis)
Add to 1 oz unscented lotion.
Soothing Scented Reflexology Release
- Apply only the smallest amount of lotion to cover the first foot, without being slippery.
- Warm up the foot with a gentle massage of the sole and top surface using gliding stroke with your fingertips and thumb.
- Next, you are going to work with the Solar Plexus Point, known as the “panic button.”
- The Solar Plexus Point is located just under the balls of your feet, in the very center of the two. Often you will feel tension when it is pressed.
- Practice deep breathing by gently and slowly inhaling into the lungs and exhaling completely.
- Gently press your thumb into this point and circle in a clockwise direction until you feel a release of tension.
- You may finish using both thumbs in a “diaphragm spread” by simultaneously pulling each thumb under the balls of the foot, from the center outward toward the edges.
- Repeat other foot.
 Quinn, Corina. “Reset Your Health.” Yoga Journal June 2014: 22. Print.
 Weber, Kristine Kaoverii., and Neil Sutherland. Healing Self-massage: Over 100 Simple Techniques for Re-energizing Body and Mind. London: Collins & Brown, 2005. Print. cited by Smith, Laurie Chance. “Soothe Stress With Self-Massage || Massage Therapy Articles.”Massage Therapy: Everybody Deserves a Massage. Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals, Sept. 2008. Web. 23 May 2017.