You’re suffering from a painful ache in the shoulder. It’s radiating through your upper torso and is stiffening the neck as well. That, in turn, has now created a painful headache that’s just not going away. So, you turn to your old friend – Tylenol. Acetaminophen – the underlying chemical in Tylenol – reduces pain (in simplistic terms) by helping to disrupt the pain signalling mechanism. It’s temporarily telling the brain, “Hey, there’s nothing to see or feel here. Carry on!” Is it really targeting the inflammation and poor circulation in your shoulder? Oh, there may be another drug for that, to be sure! But, two drugs now for one relatively simple pain point? And then, your stomach doesn’t agree with one of them and here comes diarrhea. And so the story continues with our medicated lives.
Guess what? If you applied peppermint essential oil on that aching shoulder, it would relieve the pain, improve blood circulation to the affected area, and what’s more, reduce the inflammation that was causing the pain the first place. Hello, mobility! Some lavender essential oil to follow and you’ve helped to reduce the stress and anxiety that may have caused you to overextend yourself without being aware and knotted up your shoulder in the first place.
These wonderful oils, when applied topically (through balms, creams, oils, lotions, scrubs, etc.) enter your system and begin to target the affected area/system without harming any secondary system or initiating a new symptom as a side-effect. The essential oils simply work and provide the intended effect because they’re highly compatible with our physiology and aim to restore homeostasis (balance) in our disrupted systems or cells. They bring about or restore a sense of internal awareness in our own consciousness to the affected areas. They emit healing signals.
What are healing signals? It’s the idea that the action of plants on your body is bringing your mind – your consciousness – a sense of awareness to your body and giving yourself license to be more connected to it. Thinking of plants and their derived essential oils as solely a means of targeted relief can work perfectly fine – you’re already familiar with pharmaceuticals and how that paradigm works. So, plants do that too, in plenty. There’s chemicals involved, to be sure – transmitters, hormones, peptides and the like. But here’s where, you have the opportunity to think outside that box and see your whole mind and body as an interconnected whole; not disparate entities. “This is my mind here and my thoughts, my Self, my personality, my beliefs, and so on. There’s my body over there, creating sensations, emotional reactions, movement, and so on.” But they’re part of the same system!
We’re only now becoming more and more familiar with the power of the mind and our Consciousness. With research delving into practices such as mindfulness meditation and the phenomenon of body consciousness, we’re beginning to see how awareness (or lack thereof) in our minds combined with our beliefs and attitudes towards our bodies has a very real effect on our physical health (or lack thereof). This is where the principle of healing signals comes in. If you were to pay a gentle sort of attention to that sore shoulder after applying some essence of peppermint to it, you’d notice a sense of relief that’s different from just numbing the pain. You notice a greater sense of awareness of that area while, at the same time, gaining the ability to breathe and move more profoundly than before. You’ve become more connected to your body in a minor way, having gained more compassion and awareness of it. You’re more in control than before.
Where pure pain relief is like a shot of cortisone to an aching muscle, healing signals are like a warm touch that invites your attention rather than numbs it. It’s a buzz that you can sense if you chose to do so. It’s an opportunity more than anything. One made possible through the powers of essential oils derived from our humble friends in the plant kingdom. These guys, these plants, will still do their magic even if you chose to not adopt this approach and regarded them purely as you would a pharmaceutical in different garb. Sure, you could do that. But, you can do more! This is an invitation to do more. To invite these healing signals into your life and your body.
Take matter into your own hands.
Stay tuned to our next post to find out how…