I’ve been toying with the idea of incorporating essential oils into my acupuncture practice for years. However, I found the idea daunting and a little scary to be honest. Why scary? Because I've actually had patients come into my office with second degree burns on their skin from improperly applying the oils! One patient even ended up in the hospital for two weeks because of her injuries from oil called Heliochrysm. Needless to say I was not about to dive into this without some serious education. I recently found out that a seminar opened up in NYC several weekends ago which was led by an expert in the application of essential oils on acupuncture points and meridians. His purpose was to teach acupuncture practitioners like me how to incorporate essential oils into our diagnosis and treatment and how to get better results with our patients. Finally a class like this was being offered!! So I signed up, took it and learned more than I ever thought I could about the ins and outs of essential oil use. So today I'm going to share with you some of the most effective and delightedly smelling oils and how they can benefit my patients.
What are essential oils? They are the volatile, aromatic molecules and compounds extracted from various parts of a plant and mixed with stable oil. When exposed to air these molecules get activated and release their potent aroma. Their aroma stimulates our olfactory nerves and triggers a neurologic and biological response that results in specific healing actions. Many natural healing traditions have used aroma therapy for centuries and combining essential oils and acupuncture seems like a perfect fit for me and my patients.
Bergamot is one of the most widely used oils for calming a stressed out or hyperactive person. Bergamot is a mixture of bitter melon and Italian mandarin and has one of the most delicious smells. It's ideal for someone who is foggy headed and in need of clearing negative energy. In Chinese medicine a single drop of the oil would be placed on an acupuncture point called Shen Men on the wrist for around 40 seconds at the very beginning of an acupuncture treatment. This allows the patient to transition from a worked up, fight or flight mode to a euphoric and peaceful state.
Geranium is what I like to consider one of the most deeply emotionally calming and physically supporting oils we can use. We can apply a single drop to a tiny piece of cotton and placing it in the navel (Ren 8) for the entirety of the acupuncture session. What does this do exactly? In Chinese medical terms we say that it regulates and harmonizes the qi and reduces anxiety. In lay terms it helps the patient regain their ability to trust and let go of whatever that is not serving them in a positive way anymore. This allows for more positive energy to infuse into them and the anxiety and worry to dissipate. My teacher likens the feeling this oil produces to a warm hug from someone you love.
The last group of oils I want to cover is what I like to call "an alternative to a cup of coffee." They are specifically for fatigue and lethargy, and can be used at the start of the day to really give the patient a pick me up. They are Geranium, Rosemary and Cajeput. When placed on three specific acupuncture points (Geranium on Liver 8 on the knee, Rosemary on Spleen 3 by the big toeand Cajeput on Du 20 on the top of the head) the patient will feel an immediate energy boost. The yang qi is pulled upwards and the qi and blood are nourished. This protocol helps those who have difficulty rising in the morning, have intermittent fatigue throughout the day, and those who are weak willed and lack purpose.
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These are just a few of the MANY oils I learned about in my course, and I can truly say that the effect you will feel once these oils are applied to you will be immediate and intense. Now that I have learned so many different oil techniques to help my patients in restoring their health, I will begin to incorporate their use into my acupuncture practice. If you have any interest in essential oils please feel free to mention it during your next acupuncture session with me! There are so many ways to begin the healing process, and I'm beyond excited to have had the opportunity to learn about the amazing healing benefits of essential oils.
Post by Rachel DeMattio Specht, L. Ac.
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