It is early January 2018. Though the shock from my beloved Dad’s unexpected passing three months before is dissipating, it still affects me as does the grief that was magnified by the recent holidays. Add to it the deep layers of PTSD that were stirred up by the events, and it’s easy to understand the darkness of those days. But the good and clear days are starting to return thanks to the Somatic Transformation treatment I’m receiving from Doctor Sharon Stanley. Though such welcome days are still scattered, they’re sufficient to allow me to start picking up my workload.

It is in one of those days that I receive a present from Ashely Zupan—The Oils Maven—when she comes to my practice for Counterstrain therapy. Her thoughtful gift was a blend of oils that she had put together to help me during the tough days. I was profoundly moved. There was love, respect, and compassion in her gesture. But as moving as her gift was, the hardwired dogmatic scientist in me didn’t even consider it as a part of my healing. Time would show me otherwise, though.

Fast forward a few days. I just wrapped up the busiest day I had in my practice since I fully returned and it’s time to do the administrative work. That’s when anxiety and panic decided to creep in and interfere. Not now! I thought as my abdomen tightened and my chest felt constricted. Please, not now, I begged, thinking of all the work I had to complete. I was too overwhelmed to even consider my meditations since this seemed one of those circumstances in which bringing my body to calmness would take significant time.

That’s when I remembered Ashley’s gift. I retrieved the vial, contemplating whether to even cross that line. Up to that point, my consensus with essential oils relegated them to the role of a home remedy for bug bites, or a fancy air freshener. Despite the anecdotes about their healing properties never had I even given them a thought as a means of healing, let alone as a catalyst in mental health. That was all about to change.

I applied the oil on my forearms as suggested by Ashley but I didn’t do so purely for therapeutic purposes. Rather, my intention was to honor her loving gesture by using her present. I returned my attention to my administrative duties, trying to get my focus away from my racing heart and knotted innards.

In ten minutes my attention is diverted again, but this time by a welcome feeling. My abdomen is settled, my chest no longer tight, the tremors have subsided and I feel calm. I can now complete my administrative work and engage in my meditations. To say that I was surprised and humbled by the results is to put it mildly.

It is then that I started combining the oil blend with my Somatic Transformation meditations to tame panic, anxiety, and PTSD discharging. The effect was so profound that, personally, it allowed me to skip the antidepressants my concerned physicians had prescribed.

This was a pivotal moment, one that showed me how many more aspects are involved in the healing process and how I had closed myself to other possibilities because they didn’t fit into my notion of tangible science. I shared my episode with Ashley, but I also decided that more people needed to know about my experience if they were even slightly curious about essential oils. While I did not pursue an education in essential oils because my time and resources are devoted to the mastery of the vast field of Counterstrain, I knew I could rely on Ashley to share her expertise and take care of those who seek wisdom like hers.

I can’t tell you how excited I am that she chose to share her knowledge with us and how much I learned in our conversation. Please don’t hesitate to visit her at if the role of essential oils in your life piques your curiosity.

Enjoy our interview, and until next time, I wish you a fit, joyous, and pain-free life.