Aromatherapy and Women in Recovery

May 10, 2011 By: Allison Stillman Category: Mind Body Spirit

Once a month I volunteer in a home for women in recovery, part of my aromatherapy seva and one of the more rewarding things that I do with essential oils. It was pretty obvious when I showed up last Thursday that almost all of the women in my class were suffering from major anxiety. Very few of them could sit still, nor could they resist the urge to talk out and talk over each other and me. So I quickly passed out some lavender oil, giving them each a few drops in the palm of their hands and instructing them to massage the oils into the back of their necks.

I then asked them to cup their hands over their noses and inhale deeply three times.
There was only one woman who did not like the smell, turning up her nose and letting us all know in no uncertain terms, that the fragrance was most unbecoming to her. Everyone else seemed to really like the fragrance, and immediately begin to soften their edges.Lavender is one of the most calming of all the oils and I like to start my sessions with lavender, as it begins to relax the central nervous system, which is why I like to massage it directly onto the neck, so as to penetrate immediately into the central nervous system which extends along the side of the spine. It takes a few minutes for that action to occur, but it is not too long after that I can perceive a subtle shift in the energy, with it dropping down a few degrees.

The inhalation serves to calm the portion of the brain associated with stress, not only the mental processes that spin wildly with thoughts, but also the emotional centers which process our thoughts and hold onto feelings, happy, sad, depressed, etc.. In addition to the emotional centers, the portion of the brain that is responsible for addiction, is directly affected by the olfactory system.

We then got into smelling some frankincense in order to help activate a more pronounced awareness of the Divine. Everyone knew of frankincense, mostly from religious memory, but they all seemed quite fascinated to hear the stories of frankincense and the power of frankincense to heal the body, mind, and spirit. Frankincense is most widely known as one of the oils that was a gift to baby Jesus, as there was knowledge in that time of frankincense and its ability to connect one to a God state and to keep that connection to the Divine ever present.

The energy level of the room began to soften and become quieter, with more smiles beginning to surface on the women’s faces. The next oil in the arsenal was that of sweet orange, which never fails to draw a smile, and is known as one the best oils to induce joy and happiness to the heart. I spoke a little about orange oil and how it is produced from the peels of oranges, and then let the women have a direct experience from the oil. They all got smiles and grins on their faces, and I told them that orange oil is one of the best oils for depression as well. It is a happy, light and sweet fragrance and over the many years of using orange oil, I have watched it predictably produce the results of joy and happiness whenever people inhale the sweet fragrance.

We finished the class smelling cedarwood, an oil that brings strength and courage to the emotional part of our being, and grounding to the body. It seemed a fitting close to the afternoon, as these women face an arduous road to recovery, and they need all the courage they can get.

Cedarwood was the favorite for the day, not only for the fragrance, but because they all felt better after smelling it. By the time the class was over, no one was interrupting, and most everyone was smiling, headaches were gone, and for a brief moment in time, so was the stress, anxiety and worry. If only for a few moments, it is so worth the small amount of time it takes to inhale a few oils. Just imagine a time when essential oils could become standard protocol for all people who were in a state of recovery and healing. . .
Bio for Allison Stillman

Allison Stillman is a renowned aromatic alchemist, author and an expert on the historical use of essential oils in religious and spiritual ceremonies. Her book, The Sacred Art of Anointing is a result of her 30 years of research and practical experience with essential oils and anointing. She has a private anointing practice and teaches workshops around the world. To find out more: or visit her on Facebook,

  • OIOpublisher Ad Manager

Leave a Reply

Touchstones of the Sacred © 2007 - 2017 All Rights Reserved  |  Web Design & Development by Jeff Brock Studio