We use Essential oils in many of our treatments here at Kanter Clinic. They are used primarily as an accompanying therapy in acupuncture and facials. Also we often give them as ‘homework’ for our patients to do at home in order to continue the therapeutic value of the treatments they receive in the clinic.
At Kanter Clinic, there are three primary applications of Essential Oils – emotional / spiritual/ medicinal / therapeutic, and for cosmetic applications. Dr. Kanter has received training from, and uses the work of David Crow and Aroma Acupoint Therapy.
SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL TREATMENT WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils deeply affect our minds and our emotions. All essential oil aromas have a potential emotional impact that can reach deep into the psyche, both relaxing the mind and uplifting the Spirit.
Our sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than our other senses and sensitive to some 10,000 chemical compounds. Once registered, scent travels faster to the brain than either sight or sound.
When we inhale the fragrance of an essential oil, the odor molecules travel up the nose where they’re registered by the nerves of the olfactory membranes in the nose lining. The odor molecules stimulate this lining of nerve cells and trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to the amygdala – where emotional memories are stored – and to other parts of the limbic system of the brain. Thought and images can take seconds or minutes to evoke a memory while an aroma can evoke a memory in milliseconds.
Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. Olfactory responses to odors induce the brain to stimulate the release of hormones and neurochemicals that in turn alter the body’s physiology and behavior.
The limbic lobe is a group of brain structures situated directly below the cerebral cortex of the brain and includes the hippocampus and the amygdala. It’s capable of directly activating the hypothalamus – often referred to as the “master gland.” This gland is one of the most important parts of the brain and acts as the hormonal control center. The hypothalamus releases hormones that can affect everything from sex drive to energy levels. The production of growth hormones, sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, are all governed by the hypothalamus.
The area of the brain known as the amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with fragrance or through the sense of smell. In other words – the emotional brain responds only to smell and not to words that are read, spoken, heard, or felt by Braille. Our sense of smell links directly to emotional states and behaviors often stored since childhood.
Smell is the only one of the five physical senses that is directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain – our emotional control center. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and joy all physically originate from this region. A certain fragrance can evoke memories and emotions before we are even consciously aware of it. When smells are concerned, we react first and think later. All other physical senses are routed through the thalamus, which acts as the switchboard for the brain, passing stimuli onto the cerebral cortex (the conscious thought center) and other parts of the brain.
Essential oils enable us to access stored or forgotten memories and suppressed emotions so that we can acknowledge and integrate or release them. Forgotten memories and suppressed emotions can wreak havoc in our lives; often being the unsourced causes of depression, anxiety and fears. Essential oils can help us surface and release these emotions wherever they are stored in the body or energy field. They’re especially effective when used synergistically with complementary healing methods including acupuncture and related therapies.
USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS AS AN ACCOMPANIMENT TO ACUPUNCTURE – MEDICINAL / THERAPEUTIC USE
Treatment involves placing particular oils on specific acupoints or reflex zones on the body in order to trigger energetic changes in the individual that will bring her back to a state of balance. This mechanism works on the basis of mutual resonance through the systematic and intentional combination of essential oils and acupoints, resulting in a more significant clinical effect than using either of these treatment methods alone. Essential oils are able to provide a content of information to acupuncture points that suggest a particular type of therapeutic action. The basic aim is always to select an oil that possesses the same function as an acupoint; an oil that will activate a particular point function. So for example, Geranium oil (Pelargonim asperum), is a female hormonal regulator in women with reproductive weakness that is a perfect match for points such as SP-6 and CV-4, as these points have the same function. However, Geranium is also a mucostatic agent that has the effect of drying up vaginal discharges, and as such is appropriate for application onto points such as CV-6 and SP-10 in women with a damp or congestive condition in the pelvis.
COSMETIC USES OF ESSENTIAL OILS
In addition to the previously mentioned therapeutic and emotional uses of essential oils, essential oils have many direct cosmetic benefits, including:
- Evening the complexion
- Wrinkle control