Musings in the Art & Science of Aromatics
I reached into the hearth with my forged iron fork, scooped up a hot coal and placed it on the crushed garnet nest. A selection of resins neatly placed to my right, waiting. I quietly asked “What will it be today? What is needed today? “ With clarity and grace, the vulva shaped Frankincence offered and I smiled following the lead. The shape really matters for this work… Of course, the shape really matters..
As the air began to fill with the rich invitation of a shift, I sat back and took a breath. My breath reminds me that she’s here to do the work and she knows just what to do. MY work is to stay close, which is no easy task. But Frankincence helps me and lays out a beautiful blanket that is easy to quiet into. And this is how the dance began, the dance of offering into the sensual body: nourishing myself, calming the nervous system and regulating hormones.
I use aromatics as an important modulator. Ayurveda has taught me the wisdom of the senses to help nourish, replenish and regulate the senses as well as all the bodies (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual). They are all related, not one out of reach of the other. And so when one is touched, so are the others. Using the sense of smell is powerful. In very short order, a change can be felt. The aroma passes through the nose and moves through the blood-brain barrier, a powerful, semi-permeable border which allows the passage of very specific elements into the central nervous system. Certain organs of the brain can be directly impacted by the inhalation of smokes or aromas including the pineal body which impacts our circadian rhythms and the neurohypophysis which releases oxytocin into the bloodstream. These are important, wise actions of the body, regulating body clock and natural rhythms as well as bonding and connection.
The ritualistic practice of inhaling into the plumes of sacred smoke has been honored before recorded time. For many reasons, these practices have remained in tact as important pathways into clearing, cleansing, regulating and aligning with Spirit. But aromatics have many benefits and uses that serve as important allies of health and balance in other ways as well.
Plant chemicals which are known as phytoncides are nature’s aromatherapy and terpenes which are the main components of phytoncides, are abundant in most of the aromas we smell from nature. They come from plants, trees, herbs, spices and flowers and are the plant’s and tree’s natural oils and part of the defense system as well as the communication pathway of trees. This is one of the reasons why walking in the forest and spending time in nature is so therapeutic. It is the ultimate aromatherapy!
In clinical trials results of aromatherapy and/or forest bathing have shown many important findings including:
*Decreased levels of stress hormones
*Decreased levels of tension, anxiety, anger/hostility and fatigue
*Decreased and lowering levels of blood pressure and heart rate
*Increased hours of sleep
*Increased parasympathetic activity and decreased sympathetic activity
*Stimulating a pleasant mood
In addition to using aromatics to change our chemistry and physiology, we’re doing this through a very powerful lens, breathing. When we breath, especially when the breath is drawn into the belly, we inherently change our neurology. The mind-body shifts gears and calibrates into it’s natural wise rhythm~the deep rhythm, the ancient rhythm, the rhythm that knows all. And this is the place of nourishment, abundance, balance and deep healing.
Consider these benevolent, ancient wisdom teachers. Nature in many forms creates healing and harmony. Whether it’s a walk through the forest or burning of your favorite aromatic, these practices are useful and helpful in so many ways. When done with a sense of reverence, sincerity and gratitude, the bodies hum with a vibration that changes everything.
In heart and health,
***Please take great care to only use and buy products that are harvested sustainably and fair traded. Know your source. And, when gathering from the forest floor, please ask Nature first and then, if it’s a yes, please proceed responsibly! It is our duty. Thank you***
Danielle Hanna is not a licensed physician nor is Ayurveda licensed by the state.
In Ayurveda the emphasis is not only paced on disease but also maintaining the balance of the individual’s constitutional nature, so Ayurvedic treatments are never one size fits all, but custom tailored for each individual.
All content is for educational purposes only and should be considered or replaced with medical advise.