Essential Oils and Brain Fitness (Part 4): Breathe, Smell, Enjoy the Present Moment

This is the third post in my series on essential oils and brain fitness. To see other posts in the series, click here.

As I continue this series of articles on essential oils and brain fitness, it may be helpful to ask, why is brain fitness even important? Why devote time out of your busy life to developing a healthy brain?

One very good reason to start developing a healthy brain is that scientists have found that if your brain is unhealthy, there is a greater chance that the rest of our body will also deteriorate.

Listen to these words from neuroscientist and brain-researcher, Dr. Caroline Leaf, who wrote in her book Switch On Your Brain about the wide-ranging consequences of how we use our brains:

“You think all day long, and at night as you sleep, you sort out your thinking. As you think, you choose, and as you choose, you cause genetic expression to happen in your brain. This means you make proteins, and these proteins form your thoughts. Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Eric R. Kandel, a Nobel Prize-winning neuropsychiatrist for his work on memory, shows how our thoughts, even our imaginations, get ‘under the skin’ of our DNA and can turn certain genes on and certain genes off, changing the structure of the neurons in the brain…. Our brain is changing moment by moment as we are thinking. By our thinking and choosing, we are redesigning the landscape of our brain.”

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Essential Oils and Brain Fitness (Part 3): Developing a Youthful Brain

This is the third post in my series on essential oils and brain fitness. To see other posts in the series, click here.

China's Ningxia province

China’s Ningxia province

It’s early morning in the Ningxia province of China. Dr. Shengyuan Lei has just finished his morning three-mile trek. He will spend the next hour in meditation before beginning a busy day diagnosing and treating patients.

At first there may not seem anything particularly odd in Dr. Lei’s daily routine. Except for the fact that he is 103 years old!

Amazingly, in the Ningxia province where Dr. Lei lives, his experience is not considered unusual. In this sparsely populated region 500 miles south of Inner Mongolia, it is normal for people to live well into their hundreds while remaining active in body and mind.

The Hongzhangs, a husband and wife in the Ningxia province, are both 110. Not only do they live an active life, but they have all their teeth and excellent eye sight. In the same area lives Ma Wangshi. At 121, Wangshi is an active gardener and walks up and down stairs unassisted. (These accounts were recorded in J.A. Tosti, “The Secret to Living a Healthful, Productive Life Beyond 100 Years Old,” Bio/Tech News, 2007, 2.)

These stories could be multiplied almost endlessly. Data available from the Regional Health Bureau in Ningxia reveals that the region has over 16 times as many people over a hundred than the rest of China. What’s more, these centenarians are not living a vegetative existence in nursing homes waiting to die, but living active lives in their community.

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Essential Oils and Brain Fitness (Part 2): How to Develop a Peaceful Brain

This is the second post in my series on essential oils and brain fitness. To see other posts in the series, click here.

We all want our brains to work at peak capacity. We want to be able to remember what we learn in school. We want to stay mentally sharp as we age. We want to be able to understand ourselves, other people and the world around us. We want our brains to be able to function under stress.

Although these are the things we want for our brain, we usually neglect the very thing that makes all of this possible.

The foundation to all brain fitness is having a peaceful brain.

In this post I will explain why mental peace is foundational for a healthy brain and how you can use essential oils in your journey towards mental peace. I will also be offering specific step-by-step activities you can do to increase the peace of your brain. (Since the techniques in this post involve interactive activities, I recommend you first print this post.)

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Essential Oils and Brain Fitness (Part 1): My Aromatic Journey to Brain Fitness

This is the first post in my series on essential oils and brain fitness. To see other posts in the series, click here.

In 2010, when I began working on my Ph.M. from King’s College London, I became fascinated by new discoveries showing that the wiring of the brain is not static or fixed. Rather, our brains are flexible and continually changing based on how we use them and what we encounter in our environment. The practical ramifications of these discoveries are huge. It means that many of the mental and emotional problems we’ve come to accept as inherent to ourselves – forgetfulness, anxiety, lack of focus, stress, rigidity, etc. – can actually be overcome through knowing how to rewire the brain.

After spending a few years studying these discoveries, I began wondering what role essential oils might play in helping to rewire the brain towards higher levels of mental and emotional fitness. It turns out that there is a large and growing body of research showing the important role essential oils can play in helping our brains and heart achieve their full potential.

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How to Buy High Quality Essential Oils at Wholesale Prices

If you want to skip this page, CLICK HERE to order your starter kit now! Or, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Becoming a Young Living wholesale member is quick and easy and gives you an instant 24% wholesale discount on hundreds of products!

Some of you are wholesale members at Sam’s or Costco, so you understand the benefits associated with wholesale buying. However, unlike with Costco or Sam’s Club, with Young Living you don’t have to pay a registration fee to join! Your first purchase of essential oils is your registration fee.

And forget about a yearly renewal! As long as you spend at least 50 pv (approx. $50.00) during the year, you’ll maintain your wholesale status! It’s that easy! No selling. No monthly requirements. No headaches!

In other words, all you have to do to get wholesale prices is order a starter kit. It’s that simple!

What You’ll Get with Your Starter Kit…

  • Your choice of Diffuser (see choices, kit costs, and savings above)
  • Lavender 5-ml
  • Peppermint 5-ml
  • Lemon 5-ml
  • Copaiba 5-ml
  • Frankincense 5-ml
  • Thieves® 5-ml
  • Purification® 5-ml
  • R.C.™ 5-ml
  • DiGize™ 5-ml
  • PanAway® 5-ml
  • Stress Away™ 5-ml
  • AromaGlide™ Roller Fitment
  • 10 Sample Packets
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
  • 2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
  • Product Guide and Product Price List
  • Essential Oil Magazine
  • Essential Edge Member Resources
  • The value of the Premium Starter Kit is well over $300, while the initial investment starts at only $160! THIS IS AMAZING!

In addition, when you choose the Premium Starter Kit, I will personally send you a WELCOME PACKAGE filled with all sorts of helpful and valuable goodies. I do this because I want you to be well-equipped! Your oils won’t do you much good unless you know how to use them! I will also personally invite you to join my Facebook group ‘Mental and Emotional Fitness With Essential Oils.

Young Living’s Premium Starter Kits represents over $300 worth of oils and products that will be a great blessing to your family. But, depending upon which premium starter kit you order, the cost of the kit is as low as…$160! (You get to choose your kit based on your favorite diffuser or products.)

That’s right, by simply securing a $160 starter kit, you will be able to purchase your future oils at wholesale prices! How cool is that?

Get started now! Simply follow the directions below or feel free to contact me for personalized helped. (To get my contact details, click here.)

Click HERE and follow the directions below. Note: The Young Living sign up page will open as a new page.

  1. Select the “Member” membership type (this choice allows you to get discounted pricing and it qualifies you for the potential of referral commissions, or what we call The Accidental Paycheck.) Choosing this type of membership does not obligate you to ever sell products or refer anyone to Young Living.
  2. Enter my member number: 1297759 into both the enroller and sponsor fields (this should pop in automatically)
  3. Select your country and language.
  4. Click “Continue”.
  5. Fill out your shipping information. Click “I agree” to the terms and conditions, and click “Agree and Continue.”
  6. Choose the Premium Starter Kit of your choice, which will qualify you for a fun welcome packet from me!
  7. Once you’ve completed this process, you will be given your own member number, which will allow you to start shopping with wholesale prices immediately. At this point, I recommend you sign up for the Essential Rewards program so that you can earn FREE oils and enjoy discounted shipping every month! You can read more about this program on my friend Stacy McDonald’s blog here.)
  8. Feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions with the sign up process – I am here for you!

Further Reading

Aroma and the Enlightenment

In my article on the psychology of aroma I pointed out that the sense of smell is one of the most important—though overlooked—components to human well-being.Throughout human history doctors have recognized the therapeutic properties of aroma. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates reflected widespread understandings when he noted that “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” By contrast, the modern practice of aromatherapy is often looked upon with skepticism by the medical establishment. As a culture in general, we are probably the least smell-conscious society ever to have existed on the planet. Why is that?

According to “The Smell Report“, published by Social Issues Research Centre, the problem is partly traceable to the period of history known as “the Enlightenment.” During this period, they suggest “the emotional potency of smell was felt to threaten the impersonal, rational detachment of modern scientific thinking.” Under the philosophy of empiricism, the organs of sight and hearing achieved unprecedented primacy, leading to a widespread marginalization of the important role that smell could play in human well-being.

Scenting SalvationAs a Christian, I’m interested in the religious implications to the ongoing influence of the Enlightenment, especially since the 18th century approach to smell was so antithetic to our own spiritual tradition. In 2006 Susan Harvey wrote a monograph on smell in the early church while Vigen Guroian explored the spirituality of scent in his little devotional book The Fragrance of God. The attitude of early Christians (as summarized by Susan Harvey in her work on the olfactory imagination of the early church) was that “Smells mattered because they were invisible, because they were transitory, because they were mobile, because they lingered, because of their potency to change substance or experience or meaning.”

Further Reading

Aroma and Human Flourishing

At my old blog I did a series of articles on the spirituality of scent. (To get a complete set of links to this series, click HERE. More recently I’ve become interested, not in the spirituality of aroma, but in the psychology of aroma. I had the opportunity last week to publish some of my research on the psychology of scent for the Taylor Study Method in an article titled ‘The Power of Positive Smelling‘. Here is a selection from the article:

man smelling flowerResearchers at the University of Virginia found that the aroma from flowers are no longer being carried on the wind like they used to but are instead neutralized by pollutants. Their research, which was published in a 2008 edition of the journal Atmospheric Environment, showed that scent molecules produced by flowers in a pre-industrial environment could travel as far as half a mile from the flower. By contrast, in today’s polluted environment downwind of major cities, the scents of flowers may travel less than about 600 feet. This has led smell expert Avery Gilbert to lament that in our sanitized world, pungent smellscapes of the past are disappearing. The vacuum created by the loss of natural smells has been filled with many artificial substitutes. Some of these substitutes are intentional, like perfumes and air-fresheners, while others come as unintentional byproducts of our industrialized lifestyle, such as the smell of gasses emitted through vehicle exhaust. Many of these artificial smells have become so ubiquitous that we often don’t even recognize them. By contrast, odors that would have been considered perfectly natural throughout most of human history, such as the smell of people and animals, are painstakingly banished from modern life. This has had tragic consequences because the sense of smell is the sense that is most closely tied with the area of the brain associated with emotion, memory and a sense of well-being. Because we don’t understand the important role that smell plays in human well-being, the institutions that ought be the most concerned about offering a welcoming and soothing aroma to troubled individuals, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, therapy clinics and psyche wards, often smell more sterile and “dead” of anywhere….

One of the reasons why aroma plays such a crucial role in human flourishing is that our sense of smell is the sense that is most closely tied with the area of the brain associated with emotion and memory. Both emotion and smell share the same network of neural structures in the limbic system, the most ancient and primal part of the human brain.  As David Myers explains in his book Psychology, “A hotline runs between the brain area that gets information from the nose and the brain’s ancient limbic centers associated with memory and emotions.” (For a scientific discussion of what happens in the brain when we smell different aromas, see the section ‘Olfactory processing streams in the brain’ in the article ‘Effects of odor on emotion, with implications.’)

Many people don’t realize it, but even what we perceive as flavor in food originates with the sense of smell. (For more information about this, see Anne Underwood’s Newsweek article ‘A New Book Explains the Science of Smell.’)

Further Reading

The Spirituality of Scent

woman-smelling-roseAs someone who is both a Christian and an aromatherapist specializing in brain fitness, I have long been interested in the spiritual implications of scent. It was not always so, however. Before I was a Christian aromatherapist I was a Christian Gnostic who believed that the physical world was unimportant to the Lord and that our focus should be on “spiritual” matters rather than the things we can see, touch, taste and smell.

I’ve since come to realize (thanks to mentors like Saint Paul, Tom Wright, and Saint Irenaeus) that there is not a hard and fast division between the material and the spiritual, but that the spiritual sacramentally transfuses the stuff of material creation.

As part of my recovery from implicit Gnosticism, I wrote this series of articles for the Chuck Colson Center exposing and refuting the implicit Gnosticism that has made inroads into so much Christian thinking. As a corollary to realizing that the material world is actually good, I began to appreciate that there are spiritual implications to food (see links throughout this article) and also that the physical body is good and should be affirmed. Similarly, I also wrote a series of articles on the spirituality of aroma. Below are links to the articles I wrote about the spirituality of aroma: