September brings a time of change for many people. Vacations are over, the summer is beginning to cool, days are getting shorter and children are going back to school. For many children, returning to school can be a scary thing, especially if they are starting new schools or going away to college for the first time. Even in adulthood, changes can bring on fear. The first day at a new job—fear of failure; a first date– fear of intimacy/sexuality/rejection; presenting your ideas at a meeting of peers—fear of judgment/inadequacy; etc. We surround ourselves with constant challenges where fear is a common reaction. And face it, since 9/11 last year, who hasn’t run a little fear of safety about the future? We are even fed fear every day on TV with shows such as “Fear Factor”. These programs brainwash us into thinking that being in fear is a preferred way of living—living to the extreme. But at what expense to our bodies?!?
The fight or flight response to a situation is our natural defense against trouble. When faced with fear, the adrenal glands produce adrenalin, which stimulates the sympathetic system to close down peripheral functioning and concentrate energy into the core being. Digestion shuts down, heart rate increases, blood is pumped to the muscles for quick response and the nervous system is on hyper-alert. This reaction to fear is what keeps us alive. It is only when our body forgets to shut off the reaction that fear becomes toxic to our body.
Normal threats produce normal fear and when the threat is over, the body calms and begins to detoxify the built up adrenalin that is no longer required. But when the perceived threat doesn’t go away, then the body continues to produce hormones, the sympathetic response never has a chance to rest and the body becomes over-stimulated and toxic. Long-term disease conditions, such as ulcers, hypertension, and chronic fatigue can occur with a prolonged response to fear. Essential oils can help with the fear factor to reduce the toxicity levels in the body and ease the mental anguish around the fear.
General oils that are useful in alleviating fear are chamomile, lavender, geranium, marjoram, bergamot, frankincense, neroli, and sandalwood. These oils can be used in combination or alone in an aroma lamp, bath, or in a massage oil. They can be helpful for children as well as adults, although with children one would use only one drop of up to three essential oils in a formula.
Oils supportive in detoxing the body after a sudden trauma or threat are lemon, juniper, sandalwood, clary sage and geranium. These are best massaged onto the body, especially around the kidney area (where the Chinese believe fear is stored). Bathing in a combination of these oils is very useful in clearing the system of adrenalin build-up, as well as tonifying the kidneys.
When fear is a constant in one’s life, because of job insecurity, stock market troubles, or general over-whelm, then oils such as fennel, ylang-ylang, frankincense, elemi, lavender and cypress can certainly calm the nervous system and relax the weary mind to bring back equilibrium and balance.
Love can bring up fears in even the strongest of characters. Some oils that assist in conquering fear of intimacy are rose maroc, neroli, jasmine, and ylang-ylang. Add patchouli, carnation or rose otto to the recipe if there is a fear of sexuality. And add galbanum and frankincense if a balance between the masculine and feminine is desired.
As stated, fear in itself is necessary when there is a threat to one’s life, it is only when the perceived threat is so prolonged that it becomes a challenge to the health. We can do many things to alleviate the physical reaction to fear; things like massage, biofeedback, hands-on healing and counseling. And when essential oils are added to the equation these modalities become far more effective. Essential oils have a place in our daily lives combating the response to fear. So, don’t be afraid to try these little helpers– they could save your life!