The Wellness Wheel by Heidi Nielsen

by Jade Shutes

Wellness Wheel
One Woman’s Journey for Healing
By Heidi Nielsen


When I think of the ways aromatherapy has transformed my life, I feel incredibly grateful. Whether I am hopping into the bath with some Lavender, using Peppermint on a tissue during a road trip, or rubbing a Eucalyptus salve on my chest when I am fighting a cold, I feel very blessed to have these essences in my life.

I was introduced to Aromatherapy during my pregnancy with my son Sage, over 15 years ago. Having limited knowledge as to what essential oils were, I was inspired to learn more about their benefits, and so I embarked on a journey into the world of Aromatherapy. I quickly became enchanted. My attraction to scent takes me back to my childhood and a great love for my scratch-and sniff-sticker collection. I was also given a Christmas Storybook complete with smelly sticker of peppermint candy cane, pine tree, gingerbread cookies and sweet orange. I still have that book in my collection; scratched dry, so to speak.

Aromatherapy is the holistic therapeutic application of genuine essential oils for enhancing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of the individual. Genuine essential oils are steam distilled plant essences. Essential oils can also be ‘expressed’ by squeezing the rind of a fruit to obtain their vital oils. These vital oils are the life force of the plant, their quintessence, whether bark or flower, grass or root, essential oils are the aromatic molecules contained within the plant.

My introduction to these amazing essences, led me along a path to different healing modalities. It has shaped my life and taught me different ways to balance and heal at various times on my journey. Aromatherapy led me to Herbal medicine, which inspired me to deepen my knowledge of the plants that give forth their medicine and healing spirit. I learned how to use them in teas and tinctures, all the while harvesting and planting, watering and tending the plants themselves.

Essential oils can be used in many different ways to help to balance our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states, in other words, our holistic health.

When I created the Wellness Wheel it began as a Medicine Wheel using the four elements: Water, Air, Earth and Fire – named after four of my nine synergies. It then expanded and transformed into a promotional tool to educate others about my synergies and my philosophy around the wheel. It serves the purpose of a medicine wheel/ lotus flower/sacred geometry/chakra wheel while also incorporating my other disciplines Mountain Shamanism and Medicine Wheel Teachings. The Wellness Wheel represents the present culmination of this knowledge and experience with plants, healings philosophies and aromatherapy.


Physical Healing

Direction: SOUTH
Element: FIRE
Activity: Transformation, Release, Rest & Recovery
Ceremony: Candle/Fire
Essential Oils: Eucalyptus and Rosemary

When we are feeling the need to honor ourselves physically, we can imagine we are working in the direction of the South.
We may be releasing and letting go, detoxifying and cleansing.

During these times we can call on Eucalyptus and Rosemary to aid us in bacteria busting, soothing aching muscles, clearing mucus from our lungs and helping us to release what is no longer serving our highest good. We may need to rest and recover during this time, being gentle with ourselves as we recover, transform and shed a layer.

Aromatherapy Practical Application:
Using a dark glass bottle, combine 8 drops of Eucalyptus and 7 drops of Rosemary essential oil to 30ml vegetable-derived oil like jojoba or avocado. Rub onto the throat, chest and back.
Add a heating pad over top of chest to increase the benefits of essential oil absorption.

Using fire to transmute energy can be a powerful tool for change and transformation. We can light a candle and set an intention for a new way of living. Additionally, we can write down something we wish to shift in our lives, and then put that paper into a fire. These tools can be transformative in our personal journeys, and set us on a path with new intentions.

Spiritual Healing

Direction: WEST
Element: EARTH
Activity : Introspection and Meditation
Ceremony : Grounding and Gardening
Essential Oils : Frankincense and Vetiver

When we are looking to nourish our spiritual selves, we may call on the Winds of the West to support us during this time. We may need to go within, to be meditative and introspective.

During these quiet times when we are still, we can use Frankincense and Vetiver to support, protect and ground us.

Aromatherapy Practical Application:
Place one drop of Frankincense essential oil on each of the soles of the feet to activate the grounding process. In a candle diffuser, add 4 drops of Frankincense and 1 drop of Vetiver essential oil to the water and light the candle underneath. When essential oils are heated, the odoriferous molecules will rise and fill the air with rich, ceremonial scenting.

A wonderful grounding technique is to visualize roots growing out the soles of our feet, reaching down to the center of the earth.  Placing our hands on Pachamama (Mother Earth) and planting trees, seeds and flowers is a wonderful and healing way for us to work the earth that she has so generously provided for us, and for us to give back in return with gratitude.


Emotional Healing

Direction: NORTH
Element: WATER
Activity : Calming, Cleansing and Clearing
Ceremony : Baths, river time and giving thanks
Essential Oils : Lavender and Chamomile

When we feel we need to honour our emotional selves, we can ask the Winds of the North to whisper wisdom, calm & blessings to our ears. It may be the perfect time to be grateful and solemn.

Lavender and Chamomile may allow for gentle reminders of our childhood and bring our emotions to the surface, cleansing and clearing, washing and nourishing, soothing and comforting.

Aromatherapy Practical Application:
While bathing in the tub, add 5 drops of Lavender and 2 drops of chamomile to the bath water. (Swish the water before immersing.) Place a drop of Lavender or Chamomile on your heart chakra to heal and soothe any emotional grief in need of nurturing.

Washing in the river and giving offerings of flowers or herbs to the rushing water is a gift back to, and keeps us in reciprocity with nature. When we offer our thanks for the gift of water and it’s many life giving and healing properties, it can be a very humbling and sacred experience, reminding us to treasure every drop.

Mental Healing

Direction: EAST
Element: AIR
Activity : Illumination, Clarity and new vision
Ceremony : Breathing
Essential Oils : Lemon & Lime

During those times when our minds are tired and our mental state is challenged, we can call on the Winds of the East to illuminate us and bring clarity and new vision to our minds. We can use Lemon and Lime to accompany us on our journey in the East. Both refreshing and cleansing, these two citrus oils are a great way to wake up and begin a brand new day! When the sun rises we can refresh our mental state with these cleansing and detoxifying citrus oils.

Aromatherapy Practical Application:
Environmental scenting is a great way to detoxify and cleanse the air. Blend 10 drops each of Lemon and Lime essential oils into a glass spray bottle filled with 50ml of distilled water. Spray the air and your bed linens. Avoid spraying the face.

Citrus oils may cause minor skin sensitization with exposure to sunlight. Keeping a spray bottle in the washroom labelled ‘Citrus Air Freshener’ is an easy way to bring the aroma of essential oils into your home

Taking a walk in nature and breathing deeply in the fresh clean air is ceremony in itself. When we breathe, we are oxygenating our mind and body. Our breath is our life and source, our health and wellness. When we use a diffuser, or spray essential oils into the air, we are breathing in minute aromatic particles, these particles are absorbed into our blood stream and can have a strong influence on our mind and body.

Olfaction, our sense of smell, is a pathway into the body; whereby aromas may exert an influence on the mind, body and spirit. Our sense of smell is capable of altering the landscape of our perceptions and emotions. Aromas can affect us in many different ways.

Aromas can:
• Reduce stress and worry
• Induce sleep and relaxation
• Increase alertness and overall performance
• Affect and improve mood
• Increase our overall health and well-being

I believe the key to good health is to be balanced in each of our four states – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. These are some of the tools I have used. I am one woman on her journey for balanced holistic health. My hope is for all women and men to find their inner balance, and if essential oils are a part of that journey, then I hope that they enrich your life as they have enriched mine.

Heidis-lineHeidi Nielsen