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How Essential Oils Work in our Brain and Body

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

From the inhale to the smell perception

Did you know that our sense of smell is unique from the other senses of sight, touch, taste and hearing in that it is the ONLY sensory input that does not have to go through the thalamus in the brain stem before bring processed in the brain? The thalamus is the body's information relay station where information is processed before being sent to the cerebral cortex in the brain for interpretation.

Olfactory sensory neurons are in the nasal cavity and are not mediated by a protective barrier like other sensory receptor cells, like the cornea for the visual receptors and the ear drum by the hearing receptor. In other words, olfactory sensory neurons have direct contact with the brain.

As the molecules of an essential oil enter the nose it passes into the olfactory bulb that has a left and right side on the corresponding hemispheres of the brain. The left bulb process information that comes through the left nostril and the right bulb processes information that comes through the right nostril. This is unlike most of the other senses, for example where information from the left hand is processed in the right side of the brain.

From the olfactory bulb, the information passes into the area of the brain that comprises the limbic system that is involved with the regulation of emotion, the encoding of memory and learning. It is from this place in the brain that the odor goes to the thalamus and then to the orbitofrontal cortex where conscious smell perception occurs.

In recent years, odorant receptors have been found in all parts of our body. Essential oils can enter through these receptor sites and administer therapy at the cellular levels, including at the level of cellular memory and DNA.

How our cells receive essential oil molecules

There are two prevailing theories on how our odorant receptors can differentiate between the estimated one trillion odors that the human olfactory system can detect. Humans have an incredible amount of olfactory sensory neurons with estimates ranging from five to ten million neurons. These two theories are the Shape-Pattern Theory and the Vibration Theory.

The Shape-Pattern Theory, as proposed by John Amoore in the 1950s, proposes that the molecular shape of the odor fits perfectly in the shape of the receptor site thus activating the action potential in the cells in coded patterns depending on the odor molecules that were inhaled.

Luca Turin is one of the champions of the Vibration Theory that posits that the molecules of odorants vibrate at specific frequencies and will be attracted to the cells that vibrate at similar frequencies and then cause the action potential of the cells to fire. This process increases our natural electromagnetic vibrations and restores coherence to our electric field which produces healing and maintains wellness.

To me, both of these theories are relevant in our discussion of how essential oils support our quest to access our innate emotional wisdom. It is one of the miracles of creation that plant odorant molecules can fit exactly into human receptor sites just like a lock and key. Therapeutic essential oils produce coherent frequencies that are tuned to the state of health in our organs, systems and cellular structures.

Chemistry of Essential Oils

There are 3 classes of essential oil compounds that are the most active in essential oils: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes and Phenols. With inspiration from Dr. David Stewart's description of the compounds, I use the analogy of the cycle of a woman's life to portray the character of the molecules.

Phenols as Maiden Warriors

Phenols are full of energy and work to clean out the receptor sites, purging it of unwelcome guests. They are always looking for and destroying (or ushering out) the invaders that imbalance the microbiome; and material, emotional and spiritual toxins that cause discord in the body. Phenols are strong, brazen and aggressive.

Monoterpenes as Loving Mothers

Monoterpenes are imbued with qualities like a mother. Monoterpenes are supportive and and ensures that the healing objectives are not forgotten. They don't mind if they don't receive credit for the healing, and are content to stay behind the scenes to coordinate a harmonious and resonant environment.

Sesquiterpenes as the Wise Elder

Sesquiterpenes are wise and responsible and will always see a job until the end. They will do what no one else wants to do, like emptying the trash, clearing flawed files and and cleaning out unneeded cellular information.They watch over other more aggressive molecules to make sure the work in the body is productive and not destructive. They work in service for the greater good with humility.

Sesquiterpenes increase oxygen levels in the limbic system of the brain when inhaled which allows emotional baggage to be released from cellular memory. Emotions have been found to be passed on from generation to generation in the encoding of the DNA.

In summary, when we receive essential oil molecules by inhalation, orally or through the skin, the following happens when the specific odorant receptor sites receive the correct key to unlock the action potential. First, phenols clean receptor sites. Second, sesquiterpenes delete bad info from cellular memory. Third, monoterpenes restore or awaken the correct information in the DNA.

Frequency of Essential Oils

Our thoughts and feelings have frequencies and essential oils respond to words, thoughts and prayer. In experiments run by Bruce Tainio, essential oils were measured before and after being sent negative thoughts. Their frequencies went down by 12Mhz, and when positive thoughts were present the essential oils went up by 10Mhz. Prayer increased the frequency of the essential oils by 15Mhz. In other words, essential oils magnify our intentions.

Emotions that we have not yet faced, accepted or dealt with are stored in our organs, glands and body systems and cause our body to vibrate at the lower frequencies of these charged emotions. When we use essential oils to life our frequency, we are tapping into the vibrational medicine of the plant essences.

These Plant Spirits are literally serenading our cells with beautiful songs that they want to hear, bringing relief and support to increase their frequency to one of balance and support of the natural function. This relief comes through the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual planes and coherence is restored to your electric field.

My Essential Oil Recommendations

I like to recommend 5 essential oil blends that can support us in transmuting some common painful emotions into laughter, connectedness with all that is, abundance, happy and knowingness. The painful emotions of anger, loneliness, fear of the unknown, grief and worry are thought to be stored in our organs.

Purification Essential Oil Blend to transmute Anger to Laughter in the Liver

White Angelica Essential Oil Blend to transmute Loneliness to Connectedness with All That is in the Heart

Abundance Essential Oil Blend to transmute Worry to Abundance in the Stomach

Joy Essential Oils Blend to transmute Grief into Happy in the Lungs

Sacred Mountain Essential Oil Blend to transmute Fear of the unknown to Knowingness in the Kidneys

These essential oil blends can also be used for many other emotions as listed in the book 'Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils'.

You can also start with pre-packaged bundles such as the Feelings Kit or the Everyday Oils Collection.

Let me know if you purchase the above, I will be here to guide you along and share these emotional release techniques with you. Email me at

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