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Limbic System Impairment

By Jodi Cohen

A digital illustration comparing two views of the human brain and nervous system, with a frontal view on the left and a side view on the right, showcasing the complexity and intricacy of neural connections in a visually striking blue and orange color scheme.

As you may know, stress not only triggers disease, but can be a key impediment in the road to healing.  This is because our body’s stress response turns off all functions not related to our immediate survival, including our immune system and our parasympathetic state that allows us to rest, digest and heal. Learn more about this and the Limbic System in this blog post.

Limbic System


This survival state can be driven not only by physical stressors, but by emotional and thought driven stress.  One of the key filters in the brain for analyzing and filtering incoming stimuli to determine if it is a threat to our survival and health is our limbic system.  You might think of the limbic system as a really highly sensitized security system.  It categorizes all sensory input as either a threat or a non- threat based on past experience.

When the limbic system is damaged, this filtering process can become impaired and alter the way that the brain and body interpret, encode and react to sensory or emotional stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body.  The following factors can impair Limbic System function, making it hypersensitive:

  • Chemical Exposure
  • Mold Toxicity
  • Virus or Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Psychological and/or Emotional Trauma
  • Accumulated stress
  • Physical Trauma or Injury

When not functioning properly, a hypersensitive limbic system categorizes non- threatening stimuli as threatening, triggering involuntary trauma patterns and contributing to distorted unconscious reactions, sensory perceptions and protective responses.

Over time, this state of hyper arousal can weaken the immune, endocrine and autonomic nervous systems and negatively impact our ability to rest, digest, detoxify,  and heal, stabilize our mood, and maintain motor and cognitive function.

In other words, Limbic System Impairment can sensitize the brain to a negative stress response and keep us stuck in a Sympathetic Dominant viscous cycle.  While the Parasympathetic® blend can help trigger the Parasympathetic response, Limbic System Impairment must be addressed to help recognize and interrupt brain patterns, like thought patterns and emotions that trigger a stress response.

Limbic System Impairment Symptoms

  • Brain fog, or an inability to concentrate or focus
  • Low energy
  • Chronic joint and/or muscle pain
  • Heightened sensory perceptions, including smell, taste, light, sound or electromagnetic sensitivities
  • Sensitive to perfumes, household cleaners, personal hygiene products, or other chemicals
  • Anxiety, worry, mood swings or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Sleep-related issues
  • Food sensitivities
  • Headaches
  • Dwell on past negative events or expect negative outcomes
  • Short-term memory problems

Heal the Limbic System with Essential Oils

To help heal Limbic System Impairment, we want to reset the volume on threat perception, and help calm the over-firing of protective mechanism that either fire too rapidly or too often.  When we rewire neural circuits in the limbic system, it can impact our stress response, emotion, pain, memory and physiology.

The sense of smell links directly to the amygdala in the Limbic Lobe of the brain, which stores and releases emotional trauma. Smell has a direct route to the limbic system, as it is physically located near the olfactory bulb, and often can mobilize long forgotten memories and emotions.  (Learn More Here)



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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.