Aromatherapy and the 5 Stages of Grief

Grief is a wise, mysterious and frightening healer. It has an elemental role in emotion and relationship, but it will not be controlled or befriended. Grief’s nature is watery. Powerful, slippery and unpredictable, it seems to fill every space. One moment it will allow a float in a moment of respite, then gently bring a sweet memory, to suddenly crash down with relentless and choking waves. Grief is organic and chaotic. It is a feeling that will visit everyone, and most of us dread it.

In her seminal book ‘On Death and Dying’ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first introduced her now-famous idea that there are 5 stages in dealing with death. Kubler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, but later included any form of catastrophic personal loss.

Aromatherapy can be very nuturing and healing at a time of grief. When using essential oils, take some time to create your intention by meditating on specific aspects of the aromas, or by visualizing the healing of an issue. Essential oils can be inhaled directly, used in a diffuser, or applied to the body in a carrier oil, but I think a few drops in bathwater would be the most effective if possible.

Essential Oils for The 5 Stages of Grief

Denial and Isolation – Bergamot & Rose
Bergamot for the peace of acceptance, to ease feelings of abandonment and to comfort.
Rose for compassion towards oneself, healing of grief and to strengthen loving relationships.

Anger – Chamomile & Grapefruit
Chamomile to soothe and comfort, bring feelings of peace and forgiveness and for rest.
Grapefruit to dispel negativity, release emotions and to uplift.

Bargaining – Rosemary & Vetiver
Rosemary for faith, engagement and rejuvenation, and for insight and self awareness.
Vetiver to ground and centre. To promote feelings of safety and harmony, and for illumination.

Depression – Mandarin & Ylang Ylang
Mandarin to uplift and boost feelings of optimism. For spiritual refreshment and energy.
Ylang Ylang to release anger, help build emotional fortitude and for generating positivity.

Acceptance – Frankincense & Lavender
Frankincense for spiritual guidance and to dispell fear. Promotes forgiveness and courage.
Lavender for healing on all levels and support in integrating insights. For peace.

“The body is mortal, but the person dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable.”
– Bhagavad Gita

– by Shannon Hobson

Shannon is a Coach and Psychotherapist at Breakthrough Center.
Breakthrough Center delivers Psychotherapy and Coaching services to Individuals, Families and Groups. We support clients in creating strong personal foundations to experience a lifetime of positive change and growth.

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