Essential Oils Can Enhance Your Meditation Practice
Let’s talk about meditation and essential oils! What a wonderful combination! Do you meditate? Do you use EOs? If you are looking for ways to de-stress from the worries and responsibilities of life and you prefer a natural solution, then may I suggest you try these two techniques? They are relatively easy and economical.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years. Originally, it was used to enhance and deepen our connection to the spiritual world. In our modern world it is being utilized by many people to help us relax and reduce stress in our lives. Meditation can be used by anyone. Our brains are a physical part of our body that we can exercise and change for the better. Just like exercising other muscles, we can exercise our brain to perform in a more advantageous way.
Just like meditation, essential oils and the use of plant based aromatic substances have been used for thousands of years. They have been and continue to be used for health, healing, ritualistic and spiritual purposes. Click here for historical information about essential oils.
In this article, we will define essential oils and meditation. We will also identify some of the best essential oils for meditation purposes.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils come from plant material. Plants have amazing abilities that help them survive and thrive in the world. For example, they can:
- create scents/chemical compounds that attract particular insects to them for reproduction purposes
- create scents/chemical compounds that repel other types of plants to grow nearby
- create scents/chemical compounds to protect and provide immunity from a wide range of organisms
When you really think about it, it becomes clear that we use these plants for many of the same reasons the plants did in the first place. We use scent to attract (perfumes) and even repel organisms (bug spray), we use them to protect and provide immunity. Plants are a huge part of our very existence, beyond the reasons listed above. We rely on plants for the very oxygen we breathe and the food we eat.
We can utilize the essences of plants by extracting their oils in a variety of ways including:
- Steam Distillation
- Solvent Extraction,
- CO2 Extraction
- Cold Press Extraction
- Water Distillation
Let’s Define the Word “Meditation”
The word “meditation” is a very broad term for the various ways to induce a relaxed state of mind. Originally, meditation was used in spiritual practices. Today, many people practice it as a mind-body complementary medicine. It has a great many benefits and can be helpful in reducing stress, depression, pain and anxiety. It’s also known to increase peace, self-concept and well-being.
As mentioned, meditation is a very broad term, below is a list of some different types of meditation:
- Loving kindness Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Tai Chai
- Guided Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Qi gong
- Transcendental Meditation®
- Relaxed Breathing Meditation
- Body Scan Meditation
- Visualization Meditation
As you can see, there are numerous techniques that fall under the category of “meditation”. One thing all “meditations” have in common is the goal of achieving inner peace.
For the remainder of this article I will be focusing on Mindfulness Meditation. This form of meditation has been growing in popularity. Many individuals, corporations and schools have been exploring this particular technique to cultivate healthier minds and bodies.
Although Mindfulness Meditation can include different meditations, in a nutshell, the idea is to sit quietly and focus your attention to your experience. Pay attention to your breath and how it feels when you inhale and exhale. When other thoughts, emotions and physical sensations arise in your consciousness, acknowledge them and return your attention to your breath. Repeat. Sounds easy, but it takes some practice. However, the benefits are worth it!
Focusing your attention helps to free your mind from the distractions that cause worry and stress. As you progress in your practice, you will notice the benefits in your day to day life. You might be stuck in traffic someday and instead of giving into the temptation to get angry, you might find yourself taking a deep breath and noticing how it feels as it enters and exits your body. Your body will calm and you will be able to handle the situation in a healthier way. Perhaps you might find yourself dealing with a difficult person and instead of just reacting, without thought, you may find yourself taking a few breaths and slowing down before reacting. This can only be a good thing! 🙂
If you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness Meditation, I highly recommend the free course entitled “Palouse Mindfulness” modeled on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn. With permission from the creator of the course, I am happy to provide the link and video below.
I have taken this course and can attest to the benefits it has made in my life. I have learned to slow down and focus on what is happening right here, right now, instead of perseverating on stress and worrisome, negative thoughts. I’ve learned to enjoy this very moment in time, after all, this moment is all there really is! I benefit in plenty of ways, from a daily (well, almost daily) Mindful Meditation Practice.
(click on the screenshot above to go to the website or click on the video below to watch the introduction )
If you would like to read about Mindfulness, the book below is a great place to start.
“I have an advertising relationship with the stores/ businesses that I link in this post. I will earn a commission when you shop through my link with no added cost to you.”
Physical and Emotional Benefits of Mindful Meditation – Research
What does science have to say about Mindfulness Meditation? What are the possible benefits of having a meditation practice? These are reasonable questions and I hope to help you find some answers.
There is a growing body of scientific research that supports the benefits of meditation. However, since it is relatively new to our modern, western world, more research is needed in order for our society to fully embrace the practice. Keeping this in mind, research suggests the following physical and emotional benefits:
- Reduced Anxiety
- Reduced Chronic Pain
- Reduced Depression
- Lowers potential of Developing Heart Disease
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
- Enhances Quality of Sleep and Relaxation
- Reduces Tension Headaches
- Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Increases Self-Awareness
- Reduction of Negative Emotions
- Increased Tolerance and Patience
- Increased Imagination and Creativity
The above list is not comprehensive, there are numerous other benefits as well. Follow the links below if you are interested in further information with regard to some of the research in this area.
How do Essential Oils Enhance Your Meditation Practice?
Distractions, distractions, distractions…..when practicing mindfulness meditation you will notice how often we are bombarded with distractions. Although this is normal, we can use essential oils to help us decrease the incessant wanderings of our mind and even the distractions of our physical sensations. Some distractions you may notice include unwanted thoughts and emotions, physical pain/discomfort and sleepiness.
Thoughts and Emotions
The most common distraction is, of course, our thoughts and emotions. A great essential oil to help clear the mind and promote a better meditation time is Frankincense Oil (otherwise known as the King of Oils), it has numerous benefits and is a great oil to have around.
Other oils you can try are Lavender and Jasmine. These oils are great if you experience depression, anxiety, sadness, stress or anger while meditating (or any other time as well). They are known to decrease negative thoughts and improve overall mood. Adding a few drops to your diffuser is a great way to use these oils.
Dealing with physical pain while you are meditating can be quite distracting. Try using Peppermint Oil if you suffer from:
- back pain
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- neck pain
You can diffuse it or add a few drops to a carrier oil and use it topically to reduce pain.
Minor Physical Distractions
Simple physical annoyances can distract you from having a great meditation session. If you have a cold with a stuffy nose, you may want to use Eucalyptus essential oil in a diffuser to clear your nose and sinuses.
Is your body temperature too hot or too cold? Try using Peppermint oil on your skin to provide a cool, refreshing feeling. Use Rosemary oil to warm yourself up. Dilute it in a carrier oil to use topically or diffuse prior to meditating.
Are You Feeling Tired or Falling Asleep During Meditation?
If so, try using Peppermint EO or Rosemary EO for a boost of natural energy. Put a few drops in a diffuser before starting your meditation session.
Almost anyone can practice Mindful Meditation and use Essential Oils. If you have concerns about side effects of essential oils or meditation in relation to a current mental or physical condition, please speak to your doctor before beginning a new practice. Many professionals are aware of complementary and alternative medicines and are happy to help answer your questions.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. I enjoyed spending the time researching and writing about this topic as I am very passionate about both meditation and essential oils.
Thanks for your time, please leave a comment below if you have any comments regarding the above information. I would love to hear from you. 🙂
Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)