AUGUST 14, 2019

Person with eyes closed, inhaling from aromatherapy vialLet’s face it. Many of us are prone to categorize recovery tools into one of three categories – mutual support-based recovery, counseling-based recovery, and medication-assisted recovery. The chasm between those schools of thought is sometimes wide, and often the fiercely held perspectives are usually based on firsthand experience or research findings.

Yet in all the hullabaloo about that debate, it’s easy to forget that there can be many more ideas for how to help our clients recover. That’s why Full Life is expanding to explore non-pharmacologic resources that we can share with our clients for symptom relief that might make recovery easier. Clinical aromatherapy with our aromatherapist, Rebecca Aydelette, is one of those new Alternative Therapeutic Services available at Full Life.

Did you know that certain essential oils can help with craving control, mental clarity, mindfulness, and physical pains? The right selection of essential oils can regulate emotions and promote relaxation in ways that make it easier to stay sober, especially in those first few months.

In Paul Lavella’s article for Serenity at Summit, he identified 5 uses for aromatherapy in addiction recovery and described which essential oils are found to be most effective. For example, Lavella shared “Of the various oils studied to soothe cravings, Grapefruit, Black Pepper, Basil, and Cinnamon Essential Oils come up most frequently.”

Rebecca’s protocols incorporate a thorough assessment quite different from a more conventional assessment at Full Life. Instead of inquiry about age of onset of symptoms or ways that drug or alcohol use has created unmanageability in life, Rebecca’s assessment utilizes questions that help her create a holistic profile which includes information on sleep hygiene, stress (what contributes to it and the techniques the client incorporates to find relief), activity and lifestyle habits, and where the client finds a sense of community and belonging (family, friends, spiritual connections). Though not an Ayurvedic practitioner, Rebecca sometimes uses an Ayurvedic Profile when choosing which oils to support an individual’s goals. WebMD explains that

“Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India and is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease. In the United States, it’s considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).”

Because Full Life is so excited about the opportunity to help our clients and others in the community learn about how essential oils can help in recovery, we have invited some of Rebecca’s mentors to share with all of us. Dr. Florian Birkmayer and Cathy Skipper of AromaGnosis will lead a training at Full Life on Monday, September 30th from 5:30-8pm on How Aromas Support Us in the Healing Journey Out of Addiction and Co-Occurring Conditions. The cost of participation is $20 and pre-registration is required. Call 336-923-7426 to register for the training or to request an appointment with Rebecca for a 3-session bundle of clinical aromatherapy services to develop a personalized care plan incorporating just the right essential oils for your needs. For more information about Florian and Cathy, visit

At Full Life, we provide infinite hope, compassion and innovative care over the long haul to help individuals and families address their mental health and addiction recovery needs.