When I made the decision to offer up my experiences on how I've managed to keep off pharmaceutical drugs for Crohn's disease for the past two years, I had to have a good think back to what I tried first. When I dissected my past healing efforts, I realised that I have been trying to heal naturally since the beginning.
I remember asking my specialist at the time of diagnoses if there was a way that I could manage Crohn's naturally. He said he wished he knew of a way, but he didn't. He went on to say that he knew of a patient who had decided to manage their disease naturally, but the patient had died. That blunt statement scared me so badly that for the next couple of decades, I continued to believe that I had no choice in the matter of taking the medications that were prescribed to me if I wanted to live a long life. Yet, throughout all of that, I have tried many different natural therapies in conjunction with my regular regime because I guess I just innately knew that there was great value in trying. The first alternative therapy I tried was aromatherapy.
Historically, essential oils have been used to treat ailments and uplift the soul. They help make our homes smell clean and inviting, and a spot or two of the precious oils anointed on ourselves can have us smelling like a goddess in a flash. There have been many stories throughout our history of the use of essential oils boosting immune systems, as well as being used to kill germs, reduce infection, and to keep moulds at bay.
Certain scents can also evoke memories of being in a place and time in our past, nudging us to easily revisit a memory over and over. Much like how a song or much loved album that we played non-stop in high school can take us straight back to that unrequited love debacle.
Take lavender, for instance. What does the smell of lavender remind you of? Your grandmother’s cupboard full of Yardley English Lavender talcum powder?
Maybe the smell of freshly cut lavender is a reminder of your wedding day, standing in a lavender field having photographs taken, while freezing your bare shoulders off as the sun started to set but feeling so warmed with love. Maybe the smell reminds you of the first time you had dried lavender flowers in tea or in a biscuit that your hippy aunty gently coaxed you into trying, opening you up to a whole new world of culinary experiences.
All kinds of smells can evoke memories, can’t they? Especially if that time was attached to a strong emotion or a reward. I’m always reminded to try a steaming cup of peppermint tea whenever my stomach starts gurgling because of a long ago memory of a kind nurse offering me a cup whilst I was in hospital for a flare. I couldn't believe that it actually helped take the edge off the nausea.
A favourite perfume or scent is something that’s secretly just for us and can spark nostalgia of so many memories in that private viewing room in our minds.
I’m instantly taken back to hospital for every Crohn’s flare trip whenever I smell a lemon scented cleanser. You know the kind that’s half bleach and half lemon? Bad memories of severe pain are associated with that overpowering cleaning fragrance for me, but still, it somehow evokes a feeling of safety and gradual healing, nonetheless.
We know, for example, that peppermint essential oil can help to relieve nausea and headaches. We know that plants would have been the first thing our elders turned to for such ailments, long before anti-nausea tablets and painkillers in tablet form existed. We know, instinctively, that it can help us. We understand, through research, that the menthol in the peppermint plant can help muscles to relax and ease the pain of a headache. And yet, so often, it’s the last thing we think to use. I'm obviously not talking about using any essential oils that aren't recommended in pregnancy, on children, or at times when it's unsafe to do so, of course.
Many years ago, my sister introduced me to the world of aromatherapy when she started working for a MLM company and sold them via party plan. I was instantly hooked on the whole range. Every single time I used an essential oil blend for its intended use, and it helped to ease whatever I had going on, I would honestly stare at my little roller bottle in disbelief. Though I continued to have success with the blends over and over, I still somehow always thought it wouldn't be as beneficial as pharmaceuticals - can anyone say 'programmed belief system based on fear'?
It's true there were times when the oils didn't take away certain complaints for me. But they were in situations in which my body needed more time to heal as I was in pretty bad shape. However, they did always seem me to relax me a bit, which was always welcomed.
I've had versions of these blends, on and off, in my handbag ever since my introduction, and now that I'm in a position within Yve & Crow to make more of them for myself, I’ve created some Intention Blend Roll-Ons for anyone else who would like to try some. They are made with therapeutic essential oils in a carrier oil of hemp seed - which is a carrier oil with enormous benefits, not only to our skin and to our health, but to our environment too.
These roll-ons have become a part of my everyday healing routine. Part of the reason I use them every day is for the oils and their specific benefits that I find helpful for different ailments, but mostly it's a way to set an intention into my everyday life. These roll-ons are a tangible way to anchor me in the Now and to take a few moments to remember that my body is always trying to tell me something, allowing myself some time to pause and listen.
A few years ago, when I started researching ways to take control of my health, I became aware of the ins and outs of quantum mechanics and the theory behind changing our reality by thought or observation alone. So, while we’re talking about the link between a smell and our emotions to memories, let’s see if we can take it a step further and add quantum physics into the mix to create some new neural pathways that might help to set us up to feel better through intention and action.
By setting an intention every time we use a blend of essential oils, such as these Intention Blends, it can help to empower us to take more control of how we feel, instead of just hoping to feel better.
When using the Intention Blend of Baba Yaga, for instance, which has helped to ease nausea and headaches in myself and my family for years now, we might say something like ‘These oils help me to feel better now,’ before we roll them onto our pulse points and take a few really slow deep breaths of the oils on the wrists.
The therapeutic benefits of the essential oils marry up to a positive expectation in the brain, and before long, we start to establish a connection between that smell and feeling better. Maybe your headache went away within a few minutes. Maybe it was the peppermint oil, or maybe it was the act of smelling the blend that had you slowing down for a moment and listening to your body. Perhaps you realised, after checking in, that you hadn’t had enough water for the day, so those few glasses of water you drank afterward helped.
Whatever the outcome, your brain will remember the experience and you can keep practicing those intentions of feeling better to make the new thought pattern stick.
Having anxiety? I use Green Tara for its blend of oils that help me to take a few deep breaths, set an intention, and wait. Whether it’s the ritual of slow breathing, the oils themselves, or the power of my mind - it’s simply a tool that helps me to start the intention of trying to keep the panic away. Setting an intention such as ‘I am in control now,’ helps me. I know it's sometimes easier said than done but all I can do is continue the practice of getting a handle on these alchemical reactions.
I offer these Intention Blend Roll-Ons after years of concocting them for my family, myself and others, and I hope that if this is something that resonates with you, your Intention Blend might become a part of your daily practice and a valued 'time out' moment in your busy life, too.
Do you have a favourite essential oil that evokes a feeling of healing?