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Season 4, Episode 7: Essential Oils for the Fascia with Kim Trager

By Jodi Cohen

A promotional graphic for the "Essential Alchemy" podcast. It features two women, Jodi Cohen and Kim Trager, smiling. Text reads: "Essential Alchemy: The Ancient Art of Healing Naturally. Essential Oils for the Fascia with Kim Trager". The background is purple.

In this episode of Essential Alchemy, host Jodi Cohen welcomes Dr. Kim Trager, a structural and energetic practitioner known for helping patients achieve transformational healing. Dr. Trager shares her expertise on the fascinating world of fascia and how incorporating essential oils can support the health and function of this vital connective tissue system.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fascia is the three-dimensional connective tissue that surrounds every cell, nerve, vein, and organ in the body, giving us our form and allowing us to move.
  • The fascia not only plays a structural role but also stores emotions and trauma, which can be released through targeted work.
  • The superficial front and back fascial lines are correlated with specific acupuncture meridians, like the stomach meridian, and can be targeted with essential oils.
  • Specific acupressure points, like Stomach 36 on the outer shin, can be stimulated with essential oils to support digestive function, emotional balance, and overall well-being.
  • Techniques like skin rolling, cupping, and pivoting over a ball can help self-release and mobilize the fascia, especially when combined with targeted essential oil application.
  • The neck and feet are key areas to focus on when working with the fascia, as they connect to many of the body’s fascial lines.

Tune in to learn Dr. Trager’s practical tips for incorporating essential oils into fascial release practices to support whole-body healing and transformation.


If you liked this episode, please consider sharing a positive review or subscribing. You can also find more information and resources on Jodi Cohen’s website, http://vibrantblueoils.com.

Learn more about Kim here! https://drkimtrager.com/ | Facebook: ⁠⁠https://www.facebook.com/drkimtrager⁠ | Instagram: ⁠@drkimtrager⁠


About Kim Trager

Dr. Kim Trager is a brilliant healer who has a depth of knowledge about all aspects of healing body, mind and spirit. 

She embraces your unique health presentation and creates a personalized healing framework that supports your journey towards optimal health.  Her consultations are designed to find the presenting complaints and create an attainable healing protocol.

Known globally for her patients’ transformational healing, she uses her vast background and years of experience to simultaneously heal mind, body and spirit. Kim loves supporting women in becoming strong resilient leaders at home and at work.  She gets to the root of your health issues and finds the nutrients, foods, movement, meditations and lifestyle modifications so that you can be the energetic and enthusiastic woman you desire to be.

She practices yoga, meditation and daily breath work along with gardening, quilting and hiking which keep her grounded and at peace.

If you’re enjoying the Essential Alchemy podcast, please leave Jodi a review on iTunes.

 

Jodi: Hello and welcome to Essential Alchemy. Alchemy is defined as the power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way. My hope is that the information in this podcast can help you transform your mood, your energy, physical health, or even some dots to help you shift your mental or emotional state. I’m your host, Jodi Cohen, a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner, lifelong learner, and founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, a company that sells proprietary blends of high-quality, organic, or wildcrafted essential oil remedies designed to help you return to your ideal mental, physical, and emotional state. You can find out more about me and my company at vibrantblueoils.com. And with that, let’s get started with today’s episode.

Hello, I am Jodi Cohen, your host, and I’m so excited to be joined today by not only one of my dear friends but one of the practitioners that I see because she is the best.

Dr. Kim Trager is known for patients’ transformational healing. She uses her vast, very vast educational background and years of experience to simultaneously heal mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Kim is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Logan University St. Louis. She holds advanced certifications in applied kinesiology activator method and oral fascial myotherapy. She is a licensed yoga instructor and personal trainer. As a structural and energetic practitioner, she uncovers the causes of acute and chronic pain, body and brain lethargy, as well as finding optimum ways to balance the parasympathetic nervous system. Dr. Kim is a noted speaker, author, and educator Welcome.

Dr. Kim Trager: Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your podcast, Jodi, and it’s so good to see you again.

Jodi: It’s so good to see you, and I’m so excited to delve into the whole world of fascia lymph, the vagus nerve. So for anyone who’s listening but is not yet fully versed in fascia, can you give kind of an overview of what it is and what it does?

Dr. Kim Trager: Absolutely. Fascia is essentially the three-dimensional connective tissue that surrounds not only every nerve, vein, and artery organ, but it also surrounds every cell in our being. So it is essentially the spider web that makes us up. I heard Tom Meyers once say that if there was a way to get rid of the fascia, we would simply fall to the floor and be bones and mush. However, because the fascia gives us our form, and our shape and allows us to move, if we had an ability to remove everything except for the fascia, we would still recognize that person and see them in the same position, which I think it just helps make it more real.

Jodi: No, I agree with you. And it’s so interesting. It plays such a significant structural role, but it also plays the issues or tissues. It stores the emotions. Can you speak to that a little bit and kind of what you’ve seen in practice?

Dr. Kim Trager: Right. So because of the fascia, well of course many people will recognize some of the parts of fascia. People take collagen because that’s the main protein that makes up the fascia. And then there’s elastin that allows us to jump and have stretch in our system. However, there’s something that’s getting more attention lately now that fascia is not just connective tissue, but it’s now a new system, and that’s the extracellular matrix and that’s where they feel a lot of the magic happens. So this is a fluid gel substance that is around the molecules in the fascia and where we can make changes in our posture. That’s where they feel we, it’s believed. We hold traumas, and stuck emotions, and so by working with the fascia, we can work with these emotions and the trauma and move through it and move beyond it. And I feel that because the diaphragm is one part of really key fascia, I talk about breath a lot and I think a lot of our trauma is held when we gasp or we hold our breath.

Jodi: Yes, yes. And I’ve wondered about that. We can talk about where we unpack the trauma, but as I’ve been trying to release the fascia in the back of my heart, I almost feel like it gives my diaphragm more room.

Dr. Kim Trager: Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, there are different myofascial lines, and I mean now that we look at it as a system and the muscles, there we go. There’s the superficial frontline. We can even zone in on that. So the superficial frontline is one of many movement lines made up of tendons and muscle, and this is the frontline and it actually begins at the top of the toes, goes up the front of the body, includes the abdominal muscles, some of the breathing muscles here, the coastal, sternal muscles, and what we call an accessory breathing muscle, which is the sternal cli mastoid muscle. So the superficial front line is what we sometimes call the protection or the myofascial line that wants to help us guard and stay safe because we use it to contract. We also use it for sitting a lot. However, anyone, if you’re feeling fearful or just not safe, you’re going to protect your heart, and knowing that the spine is going to be stronger, you’re not going to feel as vulnerable.

However, it’s interesting because when we look at the electromagnetic signature of every organ, and in Ayurvedic or yoga, they call that the aura that extends in all directions around us. So that’s interesting that you mentioned the back body. So we also have a superficial back line that starts at the bottoms of the feet and goes up the back line, it’s those sacral spinatus muscles, the paraspinal muscles rhomboids the back neck extensors, and it doesn’t stop at the skull. It continues right to the brow line, right to where the eyebrows are.

Dr. Kim Trager: So that’s all part of the superficial backline. And recently there has been a lot of focus on looking at and connecting this new system of fascia, this Western viewpoint of scientifically looking at that and reviewing ancient Eastern medicine, particularly Chinese meridian. So if you can show the next slide that I brought up, you can see where the superficial frontline really goes right along with the stomach meridian.

Superficial frontline is on both legs and right up and the stomach meridian, there’s a right and a left. So I have pointed out here stomach 36, which is a very powerful point for both the fascia in the leg line and the stomach meridian. It’s considered a very grounding stabilizing point and it’s

right between the upper fibula and tibia. You can see here on the slide the things that it’s supposed to help with not only knee pain but asthma. Remember I talked about the sternal cidal mastoid muscle and how it’s an accessory breathing muscle, but also with energy and immunity. So this is a great point. You and I both love essential oils. This is a great point to apply essential oils and you’re layering by me so that people can see so that yes, help us find it. So if you find the upper part of your shin and you move to the outside, you’ll find a little dip between those two bones, those two vertical bones, the shin, and the fibula, and it’s right in there

Jodi: Below the knee.

Dr. Kim Trager: Yes, right there. You’re right on. Okay. So when you use an oil in that area, you are doing Chinese medicine, especially on the stomach meridian. So we suggest doing it right and left. You’re addressing the fascia in that point the same way a needle would. Acupressure is just as effective and you’re getting the essential oils in the system. So it’s like we’re layering therapies and I just find that that’s so beneficial when I’m working with patients, I’m sharing it with them as well as showing them how it’s done.

Jodi: The yellow line that goes all the way up is that kind of all of the meridians that it affects, so the organs that line goes through.

Dr. Kim Trager: So that is actually yes, the stomach meridian. So stomach meridian, if we think of what the stomach is, it’s digesting our food. Stomach meridian actually begins on the cheekbone right under the pupil of the eye, and you can see on that one picture of the face, it comes down along the jawline, and then it kind of shoots up right up here to the hairline. We’re still in front of the ear. And then it comes down to right at that SCM where we have lymph nodes right in the middle there. And then right above the clavicle, we’re talking about the terminus of the lymph. You’ve Kelly Kennedy. That’s a great podcast that you did with her. She’s a mutual friend of ours and she’s the limp queen, right?

Jodi: She’s the limp queen and I guess I’m the vagus nerve queen and you’re the Pasha queen, but all, it’s almost like good fairies. We all work together because

Dr. Kim Trager: Absolutely.

Jodi: And the vagus nerve are all correlated and especially

Dr. Kim Trager: Around the neck. And you can see how this stomach meridian kind of parts of it overlap with the vagus nerve because then we come down here where we want to wake this up. So it can go to the armpit and the axle, the axillary nodes, but it comes down where along the heart and the lungs to the stomach, remember it’s on both sides. Then the points are not as important going further down until we get to stomach 36 right there on the outside of the upper shin and then down to the foot. So when we look at the meridian as a whole we think about what the stomach meridian does, what our actual physical stomach does, because Chinese medicine is a little bit about the organ and a lot about the emotions. We know that working with this point, working with some oils that would be promoting digestion such as fennel or ginger or peppermint, are going to help, especially right there at stomach 36. However, it’s also going to help us digest new information, and new emotions break because that’s what the stomach does. It breaks down big complex proteins and allows them to be digested and moved on so we can take what we need and get rid of what we don’t need. So I love the stomach meridian and everything it implies.

Jodi: Well, and especially for people who are anxious or overwhelmed. This is a great point. I would probably put parasympathetic there. Stimulatory, do you have other suggestions?

Dr. Kim Trager: Absolutely. I love the parasympathetic blend because I always have them putting it like you suggest, behind the ears, down along the SCM. I even have them take it right below the collarbone as well. And of course, with you, I know the benefits of breathing and inhaling the aromatic molecules of essential oil, but I agree, get it on the skin in a safe diluted way so that it can get into the fascia, get into the bloodstream, it’s going to make changes.

Jodi: Yes, no, absolutely. This is great. I love these acupuncture points.

Dr. Kim Trager: So then on the next one, the next slide, you have them side by side. And remember the slide is only showing the stomach meridian on one side, but it’s on both sides, just like the myofascial line is on both sides. And then the last slide, and then we can go back to being side next to each other. So the next one, I like to use bergamot for the emotional part of the stomach meridian simply because bergamot helps to reduce the cortisol, so it’s helping parasympathetic and all of the citrus oils bring about a happiness factor because when the stomach meridian is out of balance because it is part of earth element, we can have a feeling of not being supported, nurtured, heard, not feeling safe, and we tend to then worry …

Jodi: Or…

Dr. Kim Trager: Feel stuck, not feel grounded. And so I find that citrus oils can really help with that. Although sometimes if you’re not feeling grounded, something like Vetiver is great for that grounding element.

Jodi: Right. No, no, no. It’s funny, I often say that what you apply is less important than where you apply, and so I love showing people the actual reflex points. I agree. I think that it has kind of a systemic impact.

Dr. Kim Trager: And going back to what you were saying about the area, the feelings in the back of the heart. I’ve just been thinking about that and I love that because the oils that I find with my patients at least that help balance and strengthen muscles along the back line. The superficial back lines are those that are more woodsy, cedarwood, Cyprus. Think of the spine as a tree. We were talking about that before we started the podcast. We want that strength and flexibility. We want to feel grounded, nurtured, and growing.

Jodi: Well, that’s maybe a blend is you can take a vever, which is very grounding, talking about, a friend of mine was saying the willow tree, they’re flexible, they’re not rigid, whereas the fur is more solid. And so you can kind of combine that solidity with the cypress, the rigidity, the fluidity.

Dr. Kim Trager: Connection, get that beautiful partnership of those oils. Absolutely. Our nervous system, our fossil system, lymph is so complex it’s going to figure it all out and take advantage of all of them. And I totally agree with you. I love being specific about where I put the oils. So now that you know that your back line, that the back of your heart is part of, you could put those oils on the bottom of your feet if it was a combination that you didn’t want to walk out in the world with, although I’m wearing oils all the time, or you could put it on the back of your neck because the back of your heart might not be an area that would be as easy to reach, but just knowing that it’s part of that fascia line.

Jodi: We now have the roller models that you can much more

Dr. Kim Trager: Easier. Oh, I know

Jodi: Kelly is obsessed with putting the heart blend on the front and the fascia blend on the back. It’s this interesting. Well, you can speak more about the fascia because fascia massage is so delicate and so gentle. It’s unfortunate, it’s so important for health, but it’s really hard to do it. You can’t do it to yourself and it’s hard to find someone as amazing as you.

Dr. Kim Trager: Thank you. Now are you talking about the massage for lymphatics?

Jodi: Both. It’s hard to get a lymphatic massage. It’s hard to get a fascia massage. It’s hard to relax the vagus nerve. This is where obviously nothing is a replacement for you, but it’s an adjunct and just being able for people who might not live in an area where you are accessible, or for people who maybe they’re able to get an appointment once a week and then the rest of the week they want to make sure that they’re supporting their body.

Dr. Kim Trager: Exactly. Some of the new research, and I think that we might’ve talked about it, two, three things that actually they’ve shown will make a change with fascia as well as of course, movement is the best. That’s why stretching and safe movement is always good compression. So that’s like the massage and you can do it at a superficial level for the superficial fascia a little deeper for the deeper fascia and decompression. So usually decompression is going to be the cupping.

Chinese cupping where they apply the cups and it lifts the skin. However, I will sometimes just teach my patients how they can lift and roll the skin and I usually will have them put the oil on first, and because fascia is a network that moves in all directions, we don’t have to worry necessarily about the fascial line. We can just go So they don’t have to be in front of an anatomy text or anything. Don’t worry about it, just pick it up and do a rolling technique, which is actually, that’s part of Chinese medicine. They have these different two, different rolling techniques. And then another one is pivoting. So pivot, if I have somebody wanting to release fascia on the back, I’ll teach them how to safely lean against the wall or have your feet out so you’re not going to fall and bend the knees slightly and have, I like to use the yoga tup balls, but they’re the melt balls.

Dr. Kim Trager: They’re a little stickier and have a little more give than a tennis ball back there. And whereas we used to teach primarily bend your knees so you’re rolling your back on this ball. The new information that we have about the fascial research is that we pretend one arm is heavier and then the other. So we’re actually pivoting the tissue over the ball over that point. So if I’m working on a patient, a lot of new fossil research, as we put the hand down and we’re moving the tissue, I love reading and staying up to date with what’s going on. So now you and everyone who listens to this will be like, okay, I’m going to do some rolling. I’m going to get an appointment for some cupping. I’m going to put my oils on first and really get the benefit.

Jodi: One of the things that, one question that I get a lot is kind of getting back to the specific points like we tell people to put the parasympathetic on the vagus nerve. It teaches that you want to use the oils on the clavicles first and then along the neck. In terms of fascia and kind of sequencing and key points, are there any key points that you think are really important to use the oils on, and is there any critical order, especially if you’re using it in combination with parasympathetic for vagus nerve stimulation and limb for lymphatic drainage.

Dr. Kim Trager: We can never go wrong with the bottom of the feet. All of the fascial lines except for the ones in the arms start at the feet.

And so to put ’em on the feet, the arches, the bottoms, the tops, we’re going to get all of those fascial lines. In fact, that’s what I’m often doing in the evening. I’m just massaging my feet thoroughly with oils that are pertinent. Usually, the ones that are going to help me sleep. So I’m a big fan of lavender and vetiver, so you can’t go wrong with the feet and because we have so much going on in the neck and if any oils we put on the neck, we’re naturally going to breathe in and get that. Those aromatic molecules are going to go to the amygdala. It’s going to send messages to the hypothalamus making changes in our perception of our world, our emotions, and how we’re thinking actually. So I feel like putting them on the neck, which is sometimes safer than the delicate tissues of the face, there are only a few I’ll use on the face itself. I think that’s great because we’ve got so many lymph nodes here and we’ve got a lot of fascia lines and there’s so much that is going on here with the jaw. It just really helps with that. It’s kind of the kind of the connection, the bridge between our brain and our heart.

Jodi: Yes.

Dr. Kim Trager: I see. I give my neck a lot of love.

Jodi: I try to give my neck a lot of love. You think, is there any sequence, should they do the back of the neck first or does it matter in terms of unpacking?

Dr. Kim Trager: When it comes to the neck, I will usually do it in a lymphatic flow, so I’m starting right above the collarbone.

Jodi: Yeah, just walk us through that.

Dr. Kim Trager: So I think that you and Kelly and I are all on the same page that we want to wake up, even though the points right above the collarbone is called the terminus. If you think of a circle, the terminus meaning the end is also the beginning. It’s kind of like a circle. So we’re waking that up. That’s kind of a message to the body. Okay, we’re going to start this flow, and I like to make sure that I don’t have any congestion in the major traffic areas, and that’s going to be the lymph nodes here. So I’m going to move that out below the collarbone, towards the armpits. I’m going to get in and wake up the armpits, and it doesn’t take a lot of deep pressure. This is all pretty superficial because 70% of our lymph is right under the skin. Then I have that all prepared.

Then I come back up and I like to do one at a time so I can really focus on it. I take my fingertips right behind my ear lobe and I just bring them down to right above my sternum, right to that sternal nut, diagonally light. I’ll do like, I don’t know, 10, 15 times on each side, get that ready. I do the Spock fingers, I learned this from Kelly, do the Spock fingers and put two of the fingers in front of my ear and two behind and do these circles. I’m going up and down, just very efficient that way.

Jodi: I love it.

Dr. Kim Trager: Kids, because we have so many lymph nodes in front of the ear, under the ear, behind the ear. So I’m waking that up and then I go back. I’m not going to leave any of our…

Jodi: Fingers. Doesn’t matter if you go forward or back.

Dr. Kim Trager: Nope. Doesn’t really matter. I do a little bit of both. I bring it back down. I’ll send it over. Then I’ll bring the back of the neck forward because especially with thyroid issues, we tend to, sometimes we’ll have a little hump right back there at, there’s going to be a natural skeletal hump at C 70 T one. That’s normal, but we don’t want any extra lymph there. So it’s not simply the neck, but I’m taking my fingertips down a little bit, bringing them around, which is the flow of the lymph. I want to make sure that goes to the armpits. Then I can always get my guha stone out. I can do my face where I start in the center and I’m taking everything to the ears and then down.

Jodi: Okay.

Dr. Kim Trager: Yeah.

Jodi: Amazing.

Dr. Kim Trager: For me, I love using rose.

Jodi: Yes.

Dr. Kim Trager: Or diluted rose or lavender, geranium. Those all.

Jodi: Great. Yes, and I agree with you. Be careful what you put on your face. Rose is fine. Frankincense is fine. Some things are a little spicy.

Dr. Kim Trager: Never put oregano on your face.

Jodi: Yeah, I’m…

Dr. Kim Trager: Hot oil.

Jodi: If you’re working with a practitioner, oregano can be fabulous, but it’s not a do self oil.

Dr. Kim Trager: Never for the face. Yeah. So agree. I totally agree with you, Jodi, that the neck is really just a key area.

Jodi: And yeah, for everything, for heart coherence, heart brain, coherence, for the gut, the body. Is there anything on this topic that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to share?

Dr. Kim Trager: I mentioned at the beginning about our electromagnetic signatures that we now have machinery that’s able to measure that, and as it turns out, every organ has a signature that has an electric component and a magnetic component. So our heart has the largest signature. It extends out up to six feet in all directions. The brain is second. Makes sense, but I kind of like the fact that the heart has the biggest signature. So there’s a beautiful technique that I love having my patients.

Dr. Kim Trager: At the end of a session where we’ve worked with acupressure points and oils and emotions and some movement with them, I’ll bring in some modified yoga poses and I have them simply lying down or sitting up with one hand over the heart and one hand over the forehead, and that’s where our emotional points are and acupressure or our thoughts, and I have them actually not think of the past or the trauma that they’re undergoing, but to think back to a time when they felt strong and confident, when they knew they were enough and they were love and connected with the universe, and to breathe that in a slow diaphragmatic breath, making that connection between the gratitude and the happiness of the heart and that positive memory of the thought is incredibly powerful.

It’s some of the heart math stuff and information, but I just kind of personalized it and added oils and closed a lot of my times with that with patients. I’m always feeling very touched too and very really honored that I got to be part of that whole healing process there.

Jodi: Well, and thank you for sharing your brilliance with us today. Can you share how people can find you, please?

Dr. Kim Trager: Of course. First of all, thank you, Jodi for inviting me. It’s so good to see you, and if anyone wants to work with me online or come and see me in the Chicago area, you can find out more about what I do and what I offer at drkimTrager.com. You can contact me at dr***@dr*********.com, and I’m also on Instagram, so there you go, Dr. Kim Trager.

Jodi: Well, thank you. We’re so grateful to you for constantly using my oils and giving me great feedback and everyone who’s listening has great ideas on how they can do self-lymph massage and a lot of healing.

Dr. Kim Trager: Thank you, Jodi, and thank you for all the brilliant work that you do.

Jodi: Thank you. Thank you so much for listening. I hope this podcast empowered you with some useful information and takeaways. If you liked this episode, please consider sharing a positive review or subscribing. I would also love to offer you my free parasympathetic toolkit as a gift just for listening. It will teach you how to activate the most important nerve in your body to turn on your ability to heal. This free toolkit includes a checklist, a video, and a detailed guide. If this podcast prompted any questions, you can always find answers at my blog at vibrantblueoils.com or my book Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body. Until next time, wishing you vibrant health.

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.