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Essential Oils for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Jodi Cohen

As many of you know, I am constantly experimenting on myself and my family to figure out first hand what essential oil protocols really work.  Most of these efforts are pro-active, positive experiences. But yesterday, after surviving a tire blowout at 70 miles an hour that resulted in the wheel catching fire, I am sharing my experience from the trenches of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the usefulness of Essential Oils for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


My Near-Miss Car Accident


In the final miles of a long drive home from a weekend conference, my car started to malfunction.  It suddenly felt like I was driving over potholes and the steering seemed challenging.  None of the warning lights were flashing, so I decided to just muscle through to my rapidly approaching exit.  With about a mile to go, I started to hear a concerning sound and some of the warning lights started to flicker, but my exit ramp within sight, so I willed myself and my vehicle to make it off the freeway and ideally up a steep Seattle slope to my house.

But the traffic lights weren’t working in my favor and I could tell something was seriously wrong.  Stopped at a light, the man next to me rolled down his window and informed me that my tire was on fire and suggested I pull over.

I must have been in a state of shock, because I honestly could not process where I would stop the car on the busy road, so I set my sites on small strip mile that was only a few blocks away – at the bottom of the steep hill leading up to my house.  I could feel the car failing me, but persisted through sheer force of will to the parking lot, even questioning for a minute if the car might make it up the remaining steep hill to my home.  Fortunately, I decided not to push it.

I pulled into the parking lot and sheepishly examined the tire.  I had clearly had a blow out and was driving  on the metal wheel with no padding.  The kind man who informed me of my flaming wheel, helped me extinguish the fire with our combined drinking water.  He offered to drive me up the hill where I was able to call AAA from the safety of my own home.

Happy ending, right?  I didn’t physically hurt myself or anyone else.  Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it could have ended much differently.


My PTSD Aftermath

Sleep was not forthcoming, so I started googling  and learned that tire blowouts cause more than 400 deaths and more than 78,000 crashes each year.  When I talked to the repair shop, I learned that my tire was one of the worst they had ever seen and that continuing to drive with a flaming tire was actually a terrible idea as rubber is highly flammable and the wheel in question happened to be located directly below the fuel tank in a car full of highly flammable volatile essential oils.

The more I learned how close I came to an early demise, the more anxious I started to feel.  I know that after a traumatic experience, it’s common for the mind and body to be in a state of shock.   Processing the experience and resulting emotions can help clear the shock and ideally negate additional mental, physical and emotional symptoms often associated with PTSD including:

  • Increased anxiety or fear
  • Sympathetic Dominance (including physical reactions like pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension)
  • Insomnia or Nightmares
  • Feelings of depression, sadness or helplessness
  • Feeling emotionally numb, alienated and alone, detached or emotionally disconnected from others
  • Anger or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical aches and pains


Essential Oils for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I fully recognize that my near miss car accident pales in comparison to other triggers of PTSD, but there is nothing like being “in it” to figure out how to move through it.  So, I reached for the oils I knew would help:

Parasympathetic™ helps to calm the body’s stress response and trigger the rest and digest parasympathetic state. For intensely stressful situations,we recommend applying it at the base of the skull and over the heart

Uplift™: This calming and re-centering blend is an excellent combination with Parasympathetic™ to help diffuse shock and trauma.  Just dab a bit on the inside of the wrists and behind the ears

Bladder Control™ helps overcome and heal emotional traumas and clear the residual emotional debris often stored in the bladder. In Chinese medicine, bladder is considered a storehouse for emotions, managing emotional reserves and overflow.  When we feel internally empty of reserves, everything seems to be too much to handle, uncertain, and frightening.   Similarly, when emotions are overflowing, we can feel awash in an internal torrent, drowning, out of control and driven to desperation. Often these overwhelming emotions feel like too much to handle in the moment, so we store them in the bladder until we are able to process and move through them.

Adrenal™:  As you may know, the adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine which can make you feel super edgy.  To help the body return to balance and calm the release of stress hormones, apply Adrenal™ over the adrenal glands (back of the body, one fist up from the bottom rib).

Circadian Rhythm™:  Did I mention I wasn’t sleeping?  Out Pineal Gland is responsible for producing and secreting the sleep hormone Melatonin.  As you may know, Melatonin has an antagonistic relationship to the stress hormone cortisol.   You see, cortisol levels should be highest in the morning and then wane as the day wears on.  My elevated cortisol levels at night from my body’s exaggerated stress response were leaving me wired, tired and unable to fall asleep.  In short, turning off Melatonin production.  To turn it back on and help the body naturally release Melatonin, apply Circadian Rhythm™ to the top of the head, back of the skull and above the ears on the skin.

Kidney Support™ to help release fear and promote feelings of safety, strength and courage.   The kidneys regulate the balance of fluids in the body, by selectively filtering out or retaining various elements in the blood and removing water-soluble waste products.  In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered the seat of courage and willpower.  They control the volume, composition and pressure of fluids in all the cells and water is symbolic of the unconscious, our emotion and of that which we do not understand and that which we fear.  Feelings of fear and paranoia can be held in the kidneys impairing function.  Applying Kidney Support™ over the kidneys can help dispel fear and assist us in feeling safe.

Homeopathic Remedies like Arnica and flower essences help to clear emotional  shock and trauma.  Arnica is available at most health food stores and best taken as soon as possible in the highest potency available (ideally 200).  Flower Essences, like Bach Star of Bethlehem or Energetix Field of Flowers help to calm the system.



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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Subscribe to Vibrant Blue Oils and receive weekly information on oils and how to use them. As a bonus, we’ll send out Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils to your inbox immediately!