I have always loved the scent of burning incense, the smell of newly cut grass, freshly plucked herbs of rosemary, thyme, and lavender. These sensations hold such a rich, deep sense of inner connection and belonging. In my professional practice as a massage therapist, I have been using aromatherapy and essential oils to help my clients find their inner connection to health and wellness. Like massage therapy and bodywork, aromatherapy helps to create mood shifts and physical/spiritual states immediately. (I'll share more about the connection to scent and the brain and limbic system in a later post).
As a first generation Chinese American, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandmother who emigrated from Hong Kong. Throughout my childhood, my grandmother created daily rituals of offerings and incense prayers to ancestors, she was our healer and nutritionist through food. She grew up in a generation where food was medicine. All kinds of herbs and roots were added to dishes to alleviate physical discomforts that were at times brought on by the change of seasons. I was often asked me to pull down containers of unidentifiable roots, count out the number of dried mushroom caps, or scoop cups of dried beans from these large glass mason-like containers. These ingredients were a regular staple to build and cultivate vitality, support growth and strength in the immune system. To this day, I can still recall the earthy scent of dried roots and mushrooms and instantly "feel healthier".
My Grandmother loved the smell of lavender and ylang ylang. I would travel with my bottles of essential oils when I visited her in Flushing, Queens. She would express emotions of great joy and elation each time I held an essential oil over her face, she loved massage on her neck and shoulders with blended lavender oil. Knowing what a difficult life my grandmother had, I cherished illiciting ecstatic happiness and laughter from her being. It was always an immediate mood shift, for us both.
The handcrafting of Root and Resin products connects me to my Grandmother. While she is no longer in physical form, it connects me to her essence, to old world practices of healing, to a lineage of wisdom who knew how to source from the earth for wellbeing and connect to the divine source of life.