Forest bathing, The Smell-Brain Connection, and The Best Essential Oils For Sex, Stress, and Anxiety with Dr. Eric Zielinski

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Content By: Ari Whitten

In this episode, I’m speaking with Dr. Eric Zielinski, bestselling author of The Healing Power of Essential Oils. We’re talking about the health benefits of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) and the best essential oils for sex, stress, and anxiety.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Z and I discuss: 

  • The best essential oils to lower stress and anxiety
  • The powerful impact of forest bathing on your health 
  • The essential oils that have been shown to help people with ADD
  • How nature can help lower stress 
  • The link between the brain and your sense of smell
  • The best essential oils for sex

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Transcript

​​Ari Whitten: Hey there. This is Ari and welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. With me now for the second or third time, Dr. Eric Zielinski. He’s a leading expert on the science around the health benefits of essential oils, and he’s the author of the national bestseller, The Healing Power of Essential Oils and The Essential Oils Apothecary.

His website is naturallivingfamily.com, and it has rapidly become the number one online resource for non-branded essential oils education. That is essential oils, educational content that is not affiliated with any particular brand of essential oils. It is now visited by more than three million natural health seekers every year. Welcome back, my friend. Such a pleasure to connect with you again.

Dr. Eric Zielinski: Hey, thanks so much Ari. I really appreciate it and love what you’re doing. That summit that you produced was fantastic. I can’t wait to share. Basically, this is part two of the first talk that we had. It’s just what’s happened since the last talk and all the research that I’ve done because all that information is just going into this new book, The Essential Oils Apothecary. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

The healing power of forest bathing

Ari: My pleasure. We got a ton of really positive feedback on it. I love how you pulled so many cool studies on brain benefits, energy benefits, mood benefits of these different essential oils. Also, a lot of ones that were novel, that not a lot of people have heard about before. Lots of positive feedback.

In this new book, The Essential Oils Apothecary, one of the things that you talk about which happens to be one of my favorite topics, and I don’t think that I’ve ever done a podcast on it or even maybe even mentioned it much in the podcast, but forest bathing or shinrin-yoku as it’s called in Japan where most of the research originated. Talk to me about that science. What is the connection between forest bathing– First of all, what is forest bathing? Some people might have an image of taking a bathtub into the forest and taking a bath and scrubbing their armpits. What is forest bathing, and what is the connection to health, and what’s the science around that?

Eric: It was early on in the pandemic, and there was more and more discussion about, what are the real health ramifications of being indoors all day long? Up until 2020, as a society, we have averaged roughly about 93%, just chew on that for just a minute, pre-COVID, 93% of our lives were spent indoors. That’s if you live to 100 years old, that’s just seven years of your life playing outside, getting fresh air, enjoying sunlight, touching the grass.

It’s hard to conceptualize when now we’re at a point– I don’t have the research yet, Ari, because it hasn’t been done, but I think just a casual observation of just the lifestyle of most people, I would say most people are inching towards 98 to 99% of their time. Some people literally have not left their home at all in the last year. There became this resurgence of interest in what is therapy outside and why are we even talking about this because the exact opposite of living indoors is being outside. When it comes to nature, breathing fresh air. What makes it fresh? What is forest bathing?

Shinrin-yoku is a practice that basically has just been a practice of ancient civilization since the beginning of time. It wasn’t until the early to mid ’80s that Dr. Qing Li and other researchers in Japan started researching it because it became a fallen lost art. Dr. Li in his book, Forest Bathing, I highly recommend it, just type up Dr. Li on Amazon and look up Forest Bathing. He talked about this was his way of life, living in a village and it was densely wooded and just being outside most of the time. The next thing you know, modern civilization hit and people moving from the rural areas to especially one that is the most densely populated city on the planet, Tokyo.

He started recognizing health issues in observation like mental health concerns are much higher in the city. Why is that? Started looking at this whole concept. It dawned on him that literally being outside in nature, being, not doing anything, and this is hard for a lot of Americans and Australians and people in industrial countries to conceptualize. You’re not hiking, you’re not trying to do a marathon, you’re not doing a mud runner or whatever these fun little races are, you’re literally just outside, just soaking in the environment. It’s why it’s called forest bathing. You’re bathing into the just the atmosphere of being outside in a densely wooded area.

Dr. Li started researching the health benefits of it and everything from a rapid extreme boost in natural killer cells, the natural immune-boosting properties that kill cancer cells but also help fight inflammation, not only that but a dramatic decrease in mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, panic, reduction obviously, you would think of stress, overwhelm. This sense of awe, the sense of belonging, the sense of purpose, throughout all different cultures, throughout all the generations, we need to have this sense of a higher power.

As a Christian, I relate to being out in nature and praising God and thinking, “Wow, God. Look at this beautiful creation you created.” For people that don’t ascribe to that philosophy, it’s being out in a place where you do have that awestruck wonder. That awestruck wonder gives you that childlike glee, that excitement, that vigor of life that you are part of something bigger. That helps with hopelessness, that helps with overwhelm. These are very practical, evidence-based strategies all from nature.

You know what, Ari, the English language is very remiss to be as colorful and descriptive. If you studied other languages, we’re limited in what we can say. There is a word in Japanese that actually describes the type sunlight that shines through the leaves of trees. I just had to explain that in 15 words. They have one word just describe. That’s what Shinrin-yoku does. You’re outside. You’re enjoying just being out in nature. Hopefully, you can put yourself in a situation you’re actually touching nature like putting your hand to a stream or picking a leaf or walking barefoot, getting grounded.

You are breathing in those volatile organic compounds that are being emitted from the plants aka the essential oils, which is one reason why, Ari, when we were forced to quarantine early on in 2020, intuitively, I was drawn to the tree oils unlike I had been in years, ever, in fact. Like cedarwood. I just felt this craving. I’m going to say it. I can’t prove that we could become essential oil deficient. No, essential oils are secondary metabolites. They’re not necessary for cellular function. They’re not like carbs or minerals or fats or proteins. They are beneficial for life, but my body became so adapted to enjoying nature, being outside that I was craving it intuitively.

Early on in the pandemic, I started to diffuse cedarwood and sandalwood and frankincense and myrrh and Douglas fir and orange. Douglas fir has a nice subtle citrus scent to it. Normally, it blends so well with orange. That became my anchor in the pandemic. When all hell was breaking loose, when we were all figuring out what to do, when my kids were stuck home virtual schooling because our school shut down temporarily, thank God, we’re open up back now again, I had that anchor and it brought outside in.

Then it hit me, “Why am I inside? I need to be more intentional.” Now, it became where– I think, as a whole, we’re learning to adapt to how to mold and shape and overcome obstacles always, that’s human civilization especially the obstacles that a lot of people are dealing with in industrial society with restrictions that they have on their lives. I really became more intentional. I have to be purposeful. I actually have to put going outside, breathing in nature part of my calendar because if I don’t do it, I’m going to lose it, and I’m going to be stuck on Zoom all day or I’m going to be stuck in this box.

All that to say is that it hit me in a big way last year and it became the precipice and the springboard for my entire new book about chronic conditions because what we’re finding is, Ari, one forest bathing session– again, just being out in nature, just breathing, enjoying, maybe it’s at a park, you have a picnic with your family, you might just do some photography or you’re doing yoga. Whatever. You’re just enjoying yourself. One, two hour forest bathing session has such a profound impact on your immune function and mental health that it will last statistically for over four weeks. They actually did the natural killer cell analysis on patients after a two-hour session weekly.

Here’s the thing, and this is where I have to be very transparent. Guess what? Essential oils do not give you the same effect as being out in nature. Being out in nature is best. Essential oils are second best. That’s what I’m all about here. Like, “Okay. Maybe you can spend all day in nature. I can’t, but guess what? I can bring nature inside.” That’s why I’m really been focusing more on the aromatherapy aspect of my life to really counteract whatever it is that’s happening around me.

There’s so much to talk about forest bathing and I encourage people to really dive into it. The National Geographic did a great write-up on it a few years ago. Reading Dr. Li’s book has opened up my mind because they use it as medicine. They actually have forest bathing centers. There’s a couple of dozen centers in Japan that they have practitioners that do pre and post forest bathing analyses and workup on you. They actually prescribe to you what you should do and help you. You go to a forest bathing center and then, okay, here’s your your mental health concerns, your physical health.

They actually do a physical history and a write up on you and like, “Okay, here’s what we recommend you do for the next hour and a half, two hours. Come back and let’s walk you through.” Can you imagine if that were part of your insurance program? They would cover going to have a forest bathing session and what that’s doing for the mental health and awareness of people in our nation, in whatever nation you live in, in your country?

All that to say is that I have become– maybe you could hear it in my voice, but I’ve been doing this essential oil thing professionally for a while now and it’s regularly, every few months. It’s like, wow, something really cool, really new. This was one of those aha moments that put an indelible mark in my life. Now I’ve really been diving deep into this and literally has changed what I do on a day-to-day basis. I’m trying to tap in to more of being outside to enjoy, not only just the natural aroma therapy that you get out.

This was an aha moment for me, when you’re cutting your grass and you smell the grass aroma, what do you think that is? That’s the aroma therapy. That is the essential oil being emitted from the freshly cut grass.

The link between forest bathing and essential oils

Ari: Yes. [00:12:08] ask you to clarify that because I think some people might not follow the connection between forest bathing and essential oils very clearly, but those plants, whether you’re in a forest of Spruce or Douglas fir or whatever, Pine trees, when you are walking through that forest, those trees actually release volatile oils that are microscopic and invisible. They’re floating around in the air. When you smell them, those chemicals from those essential oils from those trees are now entering your body and are interacting with your physiology where they create all kinds of health benefits. Is that accurate or how would you phrase that differently?

Eric That’s the perfect summary. It’s everything. It’s from the dirt. It’s from the shrubs, primarily the trees. The trees are really where the healing is, rich in pining, rich in other chemicals like limonene that are extremely anti-inflammatory, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, they fight anxiety. Essentially what aroma therapists do is extract the bark or the leaves or the roots of these trees and they steam distill it. They’ll take exceptional amount of plant matter, they’ll steam distill it and they’ll get the volatile oil that comes from it.

When you’re out in nature, and then when you’re also the same thing when you’re inside your home, when you inhale an essential oil, you are now under the guise of the olfactory system. That’s another science that I don’t think enough people are talking about. There is no other direct connection to the brain. There is no direct connection to the brain like there is in the olfactory system.

Every other system in your body, so for example, when you cut yourself accidentally or when you stub your toe, you know that microsecond or two, depending on how really akin your senses are before you actually sense the pain– I have a baby, and Ezekiel now is almost five months old. He was doing something. He had a toy in his hand, you know how babies are like, boom. He hit his head. I kid you not, Ari, I could count like three seconds, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Then it was like, “Waah”. It took him three seconds for the pain to finally get to his brain like, “Hey, you hurt yourself.”

That’s what it’s like for all sensation, all neurological systems, they have to go through the thalamic relay. It’s basically all sensory input has to go through subthalamus in the brain to be interpreted so the brain knows what to do with it. That prevents us from being hyper-stimulated. The olfactory system, it’s our primal brain. It’s the first part of the brain that develops when you are in utero. It is what connects us to the primates. This is at the core of who we are as mammals.

When you smell something– This was also our first mechanism of defense. How did our ancestors know what foods were safe or not to eat? Think of it. Yes, there were trial and error. Some people would eat a berry and they would die. The reality was their sense of smell was so much more keen than our sense now that that was a big part. That’s why you see in the animal world, how sense of smell really is a driver for their safety. Sense of smell should be a driver for our safety and protection.

We shouldn’t need, quite frankly, a smoke detector in our home to tell us, “Hey, there’s smoke.” Our sense of smell should theoretically be keen enough, and it was thousands of years ago. What I’m saying is when you talk about olfaction, there is no thalamic relay, you smell something, instant reaction to your brain.

Here’s the thing, when you smell something, those volatile particles that are being emitted from the trees, from the plants, those are physical particles that interact with the nasal mucosa in your nose that stimulate the olfactory system and through the olfactory bulb and the olfactory cortex, what we have is direct communication to the limbic system, where your mood, your memory, your emotions are managed and also autonomic function, Ari, your heart rate, your breathing rate.

Also when you’re breathing in chemicals from the air, again, good chemicals, volatile organic chemicals, you get a systemic reaction because they’re going through your respiratory system. That’s where they get into very slight, very slight.

When you really want to use essential oils as medicine, that’s where we extract them from the plants. You could put them in capsule form, you can apply them topically and that’s where we really started seeing more of a profound therapeutic effect on things like we might talk about today, I don’t know, chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia or any of the list of chronic conditions that I cover in my new book.

Yes, I’m glad that you mentioned, that was a great summary. It’s like when you smell anything, when you put your nose into a rose and you’re smelling the aroma that actually is a physical particle being emitted and that has a direct neurological physiological response on your brain. Hopefully, if used properly, it could have a profound effect and a therapeutic effect to give you what you need to experience an abundant life

Ari: Yes, absolutely. Well said. On that last point, it’s interesting, I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of people don’t necessarily understand that when they smell something, that means chemicals are literally entering their body. I often think of gardeners who are using gas-powered leaf blowers and other gas-powered gardening tools, and they’re inhaling gasoline fumes for hours every day. I would say the vast majority of people literally think that smelling something means you’re just smelling it, but they don’t understand the next step which is that those are molecules of that chemical that are entering their bodies that are going into their bloodstream that need to be detoxified, that needs to be eliminated.

On the other side of that, on the flip side of that, you have these essential oils from Pine trees, from all these different plants, and from flowers, from roses, as you said, you would really enjoy on my property about 100 feet this way outside window from me, I have a giant Ylang-ylang.

Eric: Wow.

Powerful Strategies to Combat Stress and Anxiety

Ari: The most beautiful smell. It’s just, you walk within 20 feet of that tree and you’re just bombarded with this amazing scent. You can feel it. If you grab one of these flowers and you smell it, you can feel your physiology change within a few seconds. It’s quite remarkable to feel that. Anyway, to move into the next topic, I want to talk to you about stress and anxiety, because obviously in this whole COVID era for the last year, tons and tons of people have experienced enormous emotional distress and stress and anxiety. What are some of the ways that people can combat them using some of your strategies?

Eric: Ari, you mentioned something that is a great segue into this. You mentioned about, and myself included, I didn’t really recognize what was happening. One of the great things that has happened because of COVID is this awareness of airborne particles. Remember when it became– it’s common knowledge for those who understand biology, but when we found out the discovery that it’s airborne, that’s been my world for nearly a decade now.

First of all, think in terms of, if people are doing things, whatever, it might be, again, think of the world wearing mask, social distancing, buying high-powered air purifiers to clean out or protect themselves from an airborne threat, what other airborne threats are around you? When it comes to anxiety and stress, that’s where I want to start it because yes, essential oils are profound.

Instantly, like you mentioned Ylang-ylang which is, we’ll cover more on that in just a minute, a known harmonizer, wonderful anxiolytic property. You literally can’t help, but you will be put into a situation where your physiology will respond irrespective of how you want to feel. That’s something really interesting. That’s how you can use aromatherapy around Alzheimer’s, dementia patients.

That’s how you can aromatherapy with children who don’t necessarily know what’s happening or they don’t really want something, but you could change how they feel. It’s like forcing them to take a pharmaceutical and having a desire to reflect. We’re just putting wonderful compounds in the air to give them a wonderful physiology with stress reduction, anxiety management. Ylang-ylang is a great one, but you mentioned about not realizing what is in the air.

To start, what I want to do is I want to help essentially stop the bleeding and if you have aerosols, anything from a plugin to a poopoo spray, to a cleaner, anything, a cologne or perfume, a body care item, shampoo, lipstick, I don’t care. Anything that has an artificial fragrance to it will cause neurological inflammation. It is a toxin. It is an airborne threat that is infinitely more dangerous, that has been linked to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autoimmunity, ADHD. Of course, you would think asthma and allergies, but that’s lesser of a concern than cancer. It has been linked to cancer, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia.

What I want people to do, first of all is see this big picture and I’m so glad you mentioned that, so our body can become more sensitized because the danger is, we become adapted or we are becoming victims of olfactory adaption where our sense of smell has become so dampened that someone can be in an environment like a store, like Bath and Body Works, filled with unbelievable amounts of harmful, volatile, organic compounds and they’re fine. If I walk into a place like that, no joke, I start getting anxious immediately because my body’s like, this is not good.

It goes back to my ancestry. It goes back to evolution of man and women that is like, whoa, get out of Dodge. This is not good. This is not safe. There’s anxiousness immediately stress. My nose will start to run. I’ll get a headache if I don’t leave out of there quick, it’s like, get out of Dodge. This is not healthy for you. First, I would help people literally throw out anything that has the word synthetic fragrance in it, it has the word perfume in it or fragrance.

If it’s not completely natural, essential oil based, which I’ll tell you, it will be on the label because anyone spending that money on their product, they’re going to brag on the fact they have real essential oils in it. If you see fragrance, perfume, it’s the other one. Artificial is not as much as you’ll see as artificial fragrance, but you’ll see primarily fragrance and perfume. Throw it out. Then what does that mean? Let’s start to revisit this whole scenario with an open mind.

I would encourage you go scent free for a while. It’s like a water fast, it’s like an elimination diet. See what life’s like being sent free. Now, when you go out in nature, it’s like, whoa, you really can start smelling the volatile organic compounds being outside readily. When you talk about stress and anxiety, now we just stopped a root cause of stress and anxiety that most people aren’t recognizing, especially if you’re in your home for 99% of your time. Think about opening up your windows, getting an air purifier, really fresh air and now let’s flip things on its head.

If you need more of a medicinal therapeutic approach, if you’re like me– and I used to deal with clinical depression, anxiety and panic attacks, that mark my late teens to my early 20s. If you’re like me, and if that’s something you deal with, there are several essential oils and you mentioned one of them Ylang-ylang that can help. Sandalwood’s another one.

Sandalwood and Ylang-ylang are known harmonizers. They’re actually, it’s a word in the literature talking about the harmonization effect that these essential oils can have on your physiology. It creates homeostasis.

If you need to be even a little more excited or if you need to calm down a little bit, both those oils will help you reach a kilter state and it helps with these major mood swings that’s great for bipolar, especially, but a number of oils in the citrus family, because of limonene have, a number of reasons why A, because limonene is exceptionally anti-inflammatory, but it also helps produce dopamine and serotonin.

We’re not looking at changing the physiology of your brain chemistry. Bergamot’s been shown to have a Gaba, G-A-B-A effect on anxiety. You have bergamot, Neroli, Pettitgrain, orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit. These are very common essential oils that you could readily find on the market. I would say, start with that and here’s one thing. This is a recent study, Ari, I pulled in my new book.

It’s something that I’ve just always been drawn to, maybe because I was raised with Orange, Julius or creamsicles, I always liked that flavor, but orange and vanilla have an uncanny ability to synergize together and that’s something where I really focus in my book on synergy blends because yes, one oil is good, but when you combine a couple in a certain way, it’s a wonder because they compliment each other. There’s been a recent research study that put together roughly 24, 25 subjects into a hopeless, helpless situation.

First of all, let’s give research participants credit. These people only make a couple hundred bucks. These people willingly put themselves in a situation where they were going to be assigned a hopeless, helpless task. In light of 2020, it’s really, not ironic, I feel as coincidental, their task was to solve a social discrimination dilemma, essentially solve racism in 10 minutes, global, right? Who can do that? They’re stuck in this environment inside and they had two groups. One group had no smell, the other group had a mixture of limonene and vanillin, which are the chemical components primarily found in orange and vanilla.

The people doing the hopeless task day, they got burned out. They felt hopeless. They felt helpless. I couldn’t do this. They got frustrated. It was like, it was not a desirable experience, but the other people going through the same exact task, but only the difference was they had the aroma of vanillin and limonene being diffused in through the air.

As they enjoyed the smell, which all of them reported, they enjoy the smell, the more the smell was pleasant to them, the happier they were, the more readily available and powered they were to overcome the fact that they couldn’t solve this task and the less overwhelmed, the less stressed, the less anxious, less depressed, the less everything. The researchers concluded doing a task that might seem like a monumental task.

Maybe it’s running a marathon, maybe it’s doing your taxes, how many people can overwhelm, that’s all plus task. It’s tax season coming up in some people’s society, whatever it is, if there’s a hopeless or helpless task in front of you, because of the pandemic, if you’re dealing a level of hopelessness or helplessness, having a smell to anchor that makes you feel better, we’ll help you through that. Now it’s not as hopeless. It’s not as helpless.

I would suggest try with orange and vanilla. It’s something that my wife and I, we call it our joyful oil. We create a 2% dilution body oil and I’ll explain that just a second and we basically anoint our kids with that every day and send them off to school. They smell like just living, breathing, healthy dreamsicles and a 2% dilution.

Ari: They smell like walking Orange Julius.

Eric: The teachers love it. Every time a new teacher comes or a kid goes into a new class, because we have four kids, five, the baby won’t be here in school for a couple of years, but the teachers always say your kids smell so good. They’re always happy. They’re just walking diffusers. A 2% dilution is regularly unified accepted. It’s uniformly accepted as a safe dilution for skincare and I would say that’s the safe, 1% to 2% dilution is safe for kids and all sensitive skin.

What that’s a fancy way of saying is you want to dilute your essential oils with a fatty carrier such as coconut oil, olive oil, Jojoba or sweet almond. A 2% dilution would be, let’s start with an ounce of, let’s say organic unrefined, coconut oil or olive oil and then you put six drops of orange oil, six drops of vanilla. That’s it. That’s 12 drops in total. 12 drops within that mixture is a 2% dilution, that’s safe. That, by the way, your oil will last you a long time. Your little bottle of essential oil should last you a few months if not a little bit longer. For us, we use them for everything. We go through a lot more, but there’s also in our cleaning products or body care, but that’s a good start to the day.

You mentioned Ylang-ylang, Ylang-ylang blends wonderfully with lime and frankincense is one of my favorite blends. It’s just a nice little citrusy, groundsy, woodsy because you bring the frankincense in, but Ylang-ylang is a wonderful anxiolytic and helps stress and like you said, you can’t but help feel better. Interesting thing about anxiety and the Ylang-ylang is you’ll find Ylang-ylang in a lot of libido boosting blends. We actually have a chapter in my new book on erectile dysfunction and libido.

Ari, I know you’d appreciate this as a blogger and a marketer online. My number one search term for people that go to my website to learn about essential oils is essential oils for sex and that struck me because I don’t get a lot of questions from the millions of people that follow us. We don’t get people chatting like, hey, I’m dealing with erectile dysfunction, what do I do? That’s one of those secret things that people are like, okay, let me type and let me find out. It’s been consistent.

There’s obviously a problem that people are dealing with and one of the issues with sex specifically, especially men, and I cover this in great length. If guys are dealing with ED, there’s a huge root and a component for stress and anxiety and overwhelm. That’s where essential oils like Ylang-ylang come and help and Ylang-ylang isn’t a known aphrodisiac.

It’s actually been shown clinically to help reduce the anxiety related to stress. Why would I have anxiety related to stress? I love sex. You do but a woman with vaginal dryness doesn’t or someone in a potentially abusive situation doesn’t or a man struggling with erectile dysfunction may not really– they might be anxious about that experience.

Imagine you put yourself into this rest and digest parasympathetic state, and that’s really what I cover a lot because I know it’s almost cliché in our space, Ari, the sympathetic, parasympathetic state, but it’s real physiology to have a vibrant sex life, to be able to manage the stressors the day, you got to be able to get out of that fight or flight state. That’s where Ylang-ylang can help.

A number of other oils but I shared a few just off the cuff and then going back to forest bathing, forest bathing, forest bathing, anything that you could see that has a tree to it. Again, for you, for perfect example, your Ylang-ylang tree, it’s like that is also very relevant because of the blossom of the Ylang-ylang. It doesn’t have to be like the bark of the tree. It could be the root of the tree, like Vetiver. It could be the resin of the tree, like frankincense or copaiba or the actual wood of the trees, cedarwood, sandalwood, Douglas fir.

Benefits of vetiver

Ari: Quick digression, from a personal note, what’s vetiver good for? I have vetiver grass all over my property here.

Eric: Vetiver grass is wonderfully effective, been shown clinically actually in a little pilot study of a couple dozen kids with ADD and focus mental acuity. Our sleepy time blend is an equal mixture of vetiver, roman chamomile and lavender. They blend really well. Vetiver is an instant parasympathetic stimulator. It will put you in that parasympathetic state, it’s very, very woodsy. You can even create a tea out of it. It’s safe. There are a number of different things that you could do with it but if you could, get your hands on some for vetiver oil, I think you’d really be excited to see what it could do for a number of different things but primarily with [unintelligible 00:34:31].

Ari: I don’t think I can bring myself to vetiver oil and I have a few acres with an enormous amount of vetiver. I could never get through it in a lifetime. It’s everywhere. If I use 10 pounds per day, I wouldn’t get through it all.

Eric: Wow. It we’ll have to get you a distiller, my friend. We’ll have to get you to start distilling it. Vetiver root itself, that’s what is very healing. You would make a tea, you can consume the leaves, but actually the root itself, especially but yes, sounds like I got to go down there to do a little aromatherapy on your house. You got Ylang-ylang, vetiver, this is a stuff I get in bottles, man. I don’t see this in nature. I’m going down.

Forgiveness and Aromatherapy

Ari: Indeed. I want to get into something else you talk about in your book, which is forgiveness therapy [crosstalk] of aromatherapy in that context. Talk to me about that.

Eric: Okay. In the book, it’s again, The Essential Oils Apothecary: Advanced Strategies and Protocols for Chronic Disease and Conditions. I say that because we’re dealing with chronic things like libido, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction. We cover all that but also what about fatigue and pain and more significant conditions because they all compound one another.

There’s a reason I’m mentioning this in the context of forgiveness is that one commonality that we see is the subtle root of bitterness. This feeling of being wronged, that someone has from a real-life actual experience of being hurt, traumatized, abused or of advocated experience that maybe things didn’t happen the way that the think, but they still feel it, which is still real to them, which is valid. We need to validate.

You’ll see this underlying suspicion, which ultimately causes this chronic stress response in people at a very deep emotional level. Research has been done specifically on chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which are very similar, have a lot of things in common and the link of forgiveness or their lack thereof.

What they did was they guided people through forgiveness therapy sessions and forgiveness doesn’t mean a make allowance for. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with that person. Forgiveness means literally letting go. Having unforgiveness in your heart, bitterness, anger, it’s resentment. You just feel like this. If you’re watching on a video, you’re just crunched over. You’re just like, “Ah”, it’s not relaxing and there’s no love, there’s no peace. It’s everything opposite of health, unforgiveness.

If you have unforgiveness in your heart for someone, it’s literally like drinking poison and expecting that person, they get hurt. There’s nothing you could do. There’s no vindication that unforgiveness will ever accomplish. You need to forgive for you. You need to let go. It is a monumental, tremendous burden on your soul, on your spirit. Literally at the emotional neurological level and research has been done at length.

I have a quote here confirming in the context of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, “Learning to become more forgiving may be a complimentary treatment to cope with the ongoing stress, frustration and negative emotions that result from both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.” Forgiveness intervention has been shown to reduce the symptoms of people.

Studies have found that people who regularly forgive others reap huge rewards in their health, lowering the risk of heart attack, improving sleep, improving cholesterol levels, reducing pain, blood pressure and of course, anxiety, depression and stress. This is why we talk about emotional health and emotional healing because you might have a rock star supermodel body and be chiseled and fit but inside, you might just be wasting away.

That’s why we see so many celebrities literally now, they’re drinking themselves to death or using narcotics or taking their lives through suicide. It doesn’t matter how rich and famous and beautiful you might think you are and people think you are, if there’s bitterness and anger and resentment and unforgiveness in your soul and spirit, it will eat at you. That’s why this is true healing from the inside out.

Again, in the context of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, the benefits are exceptional but also again, we just talked about some things here, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart attack. This may be why you can’t get on top of and remedy this heart disease issue that you are dealing with. I don’t know. You have chronically elevated hypertension. Are you at a point where your doctor’s trying to have you take medication for the rest of your life and you’re like, “I don’t know. Are there other things I can consider?”

I would say everyone on the planet, regardless of how young or old you are, in fact, the younger you are, the better because I think it’s easier, instead of years and years of compounding abuse and trauma, you become hardened. In your defense, in my defense, I was raised in an abusive household. I get it, forgiveness is hard and it’s like we create these defense mechanisms to protect ourselves, we don’t get hurt again.

Some people are afraid to allow themselves to open up to that place and that’s where maybe going back to forest bathing, maybe go outside in nature and just spend some time alone and just if you share my faith, talk to God about it, just pray about the situation, release it. If you don’t share my faith, then consider just going out in nature and thinking about and allowing yourself to slightly go back, slowly go back and find out what it is that really is bothering you about these people that come to mind.

Think about it, imagine you’re in this forest bathing session– this is very practical, this is what they do. This is Shinrin-yoku in Japan. This is a prescription. You want to do this, you really want to try this on your own right now. Of course, a therapist, great emotional recall therapy, fantastic. I highly encourage people to go to a professional if you feel you need that.

I was able to do with this alone and I did it out in nature intuitively, Ari. Instinctively, I just felt better. Why? Because I just explained it, you explain it, you’re going out in nature, it’s like you’re just putting yourself at the best possible mood, you’re in the best possible health and healing, you’re breathing good, you’re just totally happy. That’s the place to be to forgive. Not in an environment where you’re anxious, full of toxic chemicals, you’ve got TV blaring at you, that’s not the place to forgive. That’s not the place to do deep emotional work.

You’re outside and imagine you just start thinking and opening yourself up to like, “Who is it? Who are the people that I need to let go?” Then allow yourself to go as far as you can without triggering that response. You don’t want to be angry, you don’t want to be resentful, you want to be hateful.

Imagine yourself going through the experience like, “I’m not going to give them an excuse, not going to make allowance for this, but I’m going to let this go. I’m going to leave this here.” You know what? When I read my Bible, when you read the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, you see people putting up sacred monuments for moments like this, literally, a rock, a boulder, a tree, root, a stick, whatever, this could be your monument. You go to your favorite Shinrin-yoku position, you find a rock, you find a cool stick, whatever, you just put it on the ground, be like, “This is where I forgave. This is where I became free. This is a sacred place for me” and that also becomes an anchor.

If you feel anxious, stressful, you just get hurt from someone, again, go back to your sacred place like they did in the ancient times. We forget there’s a reason. There’s a reason for that. It’s like a physical imprint on your mind, your brain, your memory, your emotions, every part of you. If you need go back to there again, like, “That’s where I forgave, that’s where I got free,” and this is when it becomes– and guess what happens.

I kid you not, pain just starts to vanish, you start sleep better, you start to be able to enjoy relationships, you don’t have this sense of always being on guard, you find yourself being able to relax around others and being yourself. You start to experience life in such a way where your blood pressure balances. The research says so. It make sense to me. Like, “Wow, you’re saying this might be my solution for cholesterol?” I don’t know, but you know what, it’s not going to hurt. [laughs]

Ari: Are there any essential oils in particular that are effective in facilitating that process of forgiveness or that farewell with forgiveness therapy?

Eric: Yes, it would go back to that orange-vanilla example I shared. Whatever aroma is pleasant to you and this is what’s relevant, whatever aroma is pleasant to you. For me right now, I’ve been really anchored with this Douglas Fir orange blend, that’s really been my defining blend through this whole pandemic crisis craziness, that would be at what I would use. Five years ago, a blend that I had for me was Key Lime and Bergamot and it was a blend that I used to overcome some pretty significant obstacles in my path.

I did some deep work emotionally, spiritually, I had some physical projects I had to work on. I wrote my book with that blend and that was an anchor for me. This is where intuitive medicine intuitively walking through, okay, what am I drawn to, what makes me feel good? That’s what you want. Like for you, I would say, for Ari, y’all go outside, where your Ylang-ylang tree is and do it there. that’s exactly what you would do.

Is like that gives you that sense, that gives you that place of peace, you’re outside, you’re getting the negative ions, you’re getting the fresh air, the sunshine. I can think of no better place on the planet for you if that resonates with you, but other people– for me, it’ll be in the forest of Georgia, the place where I love to be. I love the smells of the pines in the woods. Really what works for you, if you don’t have the ability to go outside, physically you’re unable to, you’re restricted or you don’t have a forest or park nearby, that’s where aromatherapy essential oils come deeply into play and you could do it wherever you want.

You can get an aromatherapy inhaler. Again, all these recipes are in my book. You can do a spritzer, diffuser blend. Give yourself a bath, when’s the last time you’ve allowed yourself to just rest. You can do a wonderful lavender-chamomile lemon, which is a nice little unique blend, put that in your bath, again, we have a recipe for this in my book, and allow yourself 15, 20 minutes where you could just relax a little bit and enjoy that aromatherapy, but, again, this is where individualized medicine plays such a key part in someone’s healing.

Ari: Dr. Z, this has been awesome. I have to say this is one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done in the sense of having so much novel content that so few people are talking about and I think listeners will really, really enjoy this when they hear it and get a lot of value from it. Thank you so much. The forest bathing stuff, the forgiveness stuff, really fascinating, good stuff and, of course, all the essential oils and how that figures into this. Your new book is coming out when exactly? What’s the date of release?

Eric: September 7th.

Ari: September 7th.

Eric: Yes, available everywhere books are sold. Ari, everything’s on the table on this one. All this novel stuff was so exciting for me to go through and I was like a kid at a stevia-sweetened candy store, I don’t go to candy stores. I want everyone just to go on this journey with me. I invite you to go to eoapothecary.com, eoapothecary.com and I have a wonderful little gift package. I have a series of demo videos, my wife and I filmed, that show you how to make several of the recipes in the book and we’re going to walk you through, just step by step, we talk.

We talk a lot about these little stories, the little things I couldn’t fit in the book because there’s only so much I could fit into a book. Thank you so much for having me. This has been a wonderful journey and I can’t wait until the next thing comes because that’s the excitement, as a researcher to researcher, you know what it’s like. We are always looking for what’s next, what’s new, what’s cutting edge and for me, quite frankly, what’s new, what’s cutting edge usually brings me back a thousand years.

It’s like, “Oh, you’re telling me forgiveness and forest bathing. Okay. Wow, it’s interesting. That’s new?” Yes. [laughs] That’s cutting edge. That’s how essential oils can help you.

Ari: Awesome, my friend. Dr. Z really such a pleasure to connect with you as always. I look forward to the next time and good luck with your new book. I hope it is an amazing success.

Eric: Awesome. Thanks, buddy.

Show Notes

The healing power of forest bathing (01:24)
The link between forest bathing and essential oils (12:12)
Powerful Strategies to Combat Stress and Anxiety (19:30)
Benefits of vetiver (33:47)
Forgiveness and Aromatherapy (35:20)

Links

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