Fall aromatherapy — using essential oils during the transition from the end of summer, through autumn, into winter — is a joyful, comforting way to feel the vibrancy of the season and stay healthy as the days grow dark and chilly.

Fall aromatherapy has been part of the healing arts in every culture for centuries. Our contemporary application today generally draws from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Essential oils typically associated with Fall aromatherapy include:

Cinnamon

Clove

Frankincense

Ginger

Sandalwood

Nutmeg

Orange

Myrrh

Sage

From an aromatherapy perspective, especially in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Autumn as a season is very specifically tied to breathing and respiration. With this in mind, Essio aromatherapy for the shower, where micro-particles of organic essential oils are inhaled in the comforting steam of the warm, moving water, is an especially beneficial practice to enjoy the growing depth of the seasonal cycle.

In Chinese medicine, Autumn is associated specifically with the element of Metal, and with two organs: the large intestine (Yang) and the lungs (Yin).  This pairing is worth thinking about. One eliminates waste, the other receives the breath of life.

Autumn is felt by many to be the ideal time for elimination, for shedding of that which is spent, and has served its purpose, just as the trees shed their leaves and the orchards bear fertile seeds, nuts, acorns and ripe fruit.

Philosophically, harvest is a meaningful theme during these months. This is the time of year to focus on extracting what is of value, and to release that which has been completed or no longer serves a fruitful, nourishing function.

Fall aromatherapy may facilitate this process in a couple of ways. In Chinese medicine, the skin is often called the “third lung”. When breathing is impaired, the skin may lose some of its ability to eliminate wastes through the epidermis. This may present itself as acne, dryness, psoriasis, sensitization or allergy-like reactions (prickly, dry, irritability) and other common skin symptoms. Showering with Fall aromatherapy essential oils for Autumn may help calm, soothe and balance the skin.

And, the subtler impacts of Fall aromatherapy may help to ease the passage of grief and sadness being held by the body. Chinese medicine specifically associates grief with the lungs. Are you sighing a lot, coughing a lot? A TCM practitioner might ask if you are holding onto a grief which needs to be released now. Deep breathing exercises. especially in the early morning following a Fall aromatherapy shower, may help with this letting-go process.

Autumn is also a great time to increase your cardio-vascular exercise. With the approval of your health care professionals, now is the time to walk, train, swim or bike a bit more assertively, to progressively challenge your heart and lung function and build resistance.

This time of year, holistic nutrition experts often recommend foods which contract, or “lead inward”, mirroring the paring down of the seasons to the eventual austerity of winter. Deliciously sour and tangy fermented foods are often recommended this time of year as digestive aids: kim chee, pickles, vinaigrette dressings, and acidic citrus fruits.

It’s also a great time of year to de-clutter your home and office. Starting touring your pad and workspace with an eagle-eye, empty trash container in hand. Gather and throw out old newspapers, junk mail, expired coupons and anything else which is the equivalent of your fallen “leaves”. Now more than ever, less is better.