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Essential Oils for Shock

By Jodi Cohen

A woman holding her head.

As I have been winding my way through the process of grieving the death of my son Max, it has become apparent that I need to clear my psychological shock with Essential Oils for Shock before I can even begin to deal with the grief.

Psychological shock is often triggered by excessively stressful events, like the death of a loved one, an accident or near miss accident, exposure to a traumatic event  (like a natural disaster) , a frightening medical diagnosis (like cancer) as well as unexpected financial or romantic loss.

These stressful events trigger a stress response in your body, throwing you into the fight-or-flight state of the nervous system.  Your body responds to any threat to survival, including unexpected or alarming news, by dropping into the “emergency” sympathetic state of the nervous system to cope with the change in circumstances and physiologically prepare you to fight or flee.  Your heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate increase and your blood flow is routed away from your organs of digestion toward muscles in the arms and legs in preparation for flight.

Some symptoms of psychological shock include:

  • Feeling a surge of adrenaline.
  • Feeling jittery or physical sick, like you’re going to vomit or have diarrhea.
  • Mental fog
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Feeling out of body or disconnected, like you’re watching a movie of events unfolding rather than actually being there.
  • Wanting to run or flee

These symptoms often depend on how close you are to the event.  When I learned of Max’s passing, I felt overwhelming symptoms of nausea, mental fog and disconnection.


Essential Oils for Shock

Essential oils are uniquely suited to help balance the brain and calm shock.  This is due in part to the ability of essential oils to be assimilated through the olfactory and transdermal channels.

The olfactory channel is the most direct pathway into the brain.  Research shows that inhaling essential oils, like lavender, can help calm nerves and ease the anxiety associated with shock.  Inhaling essential oils may also stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters (like serotonin and dopamine) to help regulate mood and manage the anxiety and shock.

Anxiety related to shock can be associated with the over-activity and dominance of the right hemisphere of the brain.  The right brain processes the emotional aspects of the human experience, giving us empathy and compassion, but in overdrive in the right brain can contribute to anxiety.

Essential oils can be used to help stimulate the left hemisphere of the brain, which helps to balance the over-activity of the right frontal lobe and may help alleviate shock and anxiety.  Just place a bottle of essential oils below the left nostril and deeply inhale.  You can press your fingers against the right nostril to block smell from entering.  Lavender™, in particular, has been shown to help create balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which then leads to feelings of calm.

Similarly, topically applied essential oils penetrate the skin and can enter the blood stream within 5 minutes and affect your body’s biochemistry.  Research suggests that topical applications may actually be one of the most effective methods for people with anxiety and shock.  Essential oils can be used to support the effects of a shock received many years ago, even very early in childhood.


Essential Oils for Shock

1.  Parasympathetic®

Parasympathetic® – helps your body return to balance and shift out of the fight-or-flight sympathetic state of the nervous system.  The more you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, the more your body can process through the shock.   A drop of the Parasympathetic® oil placed on the vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone) can help you drop into a more grounded, parasympathetic place.  The clove oil in the blend also supports your ability to change your circumstances and let go of victim mentality and patterns of self-betrayal by restoring a sense of self and instilling boundaries and the strength to stand up for your needs.  For intensely stressful situations, we recommend applying it at the base of the skull and over the heart.

2.  Adrenal®

Adrenal®: Shock releases a surge of stress hormones into your bloodstream.  It is the adrenal glands that help regulate the level of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that are secreted into the body. Prolonged periods of stress can deplete our reserves of these hormones and exhaust the adrenal glands.  Applying Vibrant Blue Oils Adrenal® blend over the adrenal glands (on the lower mid-back, one fist above the 12th rib on each side), may help to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and maintain healthy adrenal function.  Dilute to start or if any redness occurs.  Similarly, smelling Adrenal® though the left nostril may help to relieve anxiety related to shock.


3. Hypothalamus™

Hypothalamus™: The hypothalamus is pearl size region of the brain that is constantly reading blood the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and adjusting signals sent to the adrenal glands for optimal internal balance (homeostasis) of the body.  Shock and chronic and prolonged stress can damage the hypothalamus’s ability to receive clear messages from the body which then impacts all outgoing endocrine and neural signals. Applying Vibrant Blue Oils Hypothalamus™ blend over the third eye may help reset the natural ability of the hypothalamus to send and receive clear messages to and from the body and help mitigate the impact of shock.


 4.  Uplift™

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.  This gentle blend contains calming oils known to quell shock, like Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Ylang Ylang. Uplift™, when smelled or applied over the heart, may help alleviate shock, anxiety, racing heartbeat or feelings of overwhelm and promote calm and relaxation.


5. Kidney Support™

Kidney Support™ for Fear – The sympathetic nervous system is the fight-or-flight system.  It is the body’s response to fear.  Anything that creates fear, whether it be shock or any other frightening situation can contribute to sympathetic dominance symptoms.   In Chinese medicine, feelings of fear and paranoia can be held in the kidneys impairing function.   Applying Vibrant Blue Oils Kidney Support™ over the kidneys (one inch up and out from belly button), back of neck, or around the outside of earlobes can help us flow through fear and release feelings of shock and trauma.


6.  Lavender™

Lavender™ – Known for it’s the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects, Lavender is a great oil for general overall calm.  Known as a crisis smoother, Lavender soothes trauma and releases “stuck” mental energy.  It can help balance the nervous system, alleviate panic attacks, general nervous stress and tension.  Many research studies confirm lavender’s effectiveness for reducing stress, clearing shock and promoting calmness. In fact, researchers have concluded Lavender™ can help decrease anxiety and stress, including reducing anxiety prior to medical treatments like surgery. In addition, Lavender™ may improve mood and reduce anxiety as well as reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.


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 Cohen

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.