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Episode 30: A Doctor's Take on Mental Detoxing

This episode, Dr. Heather Pickett, Medical Director for the Prime Meridian Health Clinic, will discuss mental detoxing. She'll cover the benefits of metal detoxing, how you can cleanse negative thoughts and habits from your life, what essential oils can help you with mental detoxing.


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All right, good morning, everyone. How are you? This is so exciting to be here. I'm Doctor Heather, and I'm the doTERRA employee clinic physician and I'm talking to you here from Pleasant Grove at our beautiful doTERRA campus, and soon to be our newest medical facility for the Prime Meridian health complex across the street that's gonna be opening in just about a month so I'm really excited about that.

Mental Detox

So today we're gonna talk a little bit about mental detox. And what is a mental detox? I hadn't really even heard that term until I was asked to present for this but I love it and it's something I believe I've done, I've tried to do. And I hopefully will have some ideas based on my own personal experience and then what I see in my clinic as a family physician every day.

Data has shown that in the last 40 years, we have been bombarded. Our brains have been bombarded with more information on a daily basis, even in an hourly basis than at any time during history. When all of these thoughts and images are constantly barraging us, our minds and our thoughts get overloaded. Our bodies get overloaded. Our spirits can get overloaded. And these thoughts are assaulting us. It can send our brain mixed messages. And then our brain tries to process and it can be confusing. But we do know the increased amount of input that we get to our brains and to our body and to our eyes, how it's received, can be hyper-stimulating.

There's a book called Margin and it talks about, in the back, there's graphs. I don't know how it shows up on the screen. But basically, since the '70s, '60s and '70s, everything is like this. Whatever, you can name it. How many cereal choices you have, how many butter choices you have, how many choices you have, how many different shopping experiences you want, how many now Internet browsers, movies, anything you want. It is all going up like this. And what is that? There's so many different factors. But hopefully today we'll talk about a few factors that mentally we can help downshift our mind a little bit and hopefully it'll be some benefit and these beautiful oils that we have can definitely help enhance that.

What is Detox?

So I found a reference that is really a good comparison, I think to what happens in our bodies. So our environment frequently goes through detox. And in traditional medicine, western medicine, the term detox is very vague. It's not really a scientific medical term. So if you talk with your colleagues about it, like when I do, as a physician, it's not, what does that mean?

Physiological Detox

Well, physiologically it means what your liver and your kidney do, right? Your liver processes contaminants. It processes any kind of biochemicals that your body might produce or bring into your body. And this can be part of our cleansing process. And we also know what happens when we put too much in. You can get liver disease, you can get fatty liver from what's happening with our diet. You could get cancer, lots of those things. And then we also have the filtering mechanism through the kidney, right? So then it gets processed through the blood, and then the kidney helps filter out. Huge responsibilities for these organs.

Environmental Detox

Well, our environment does the same thing. So the reference that I found talked about our environment goes through detox sessions much like our body. Like lighting, rain, snow, it basically comes down and helps detox our environment. This lightning and rain produce ions that actually bring these ions closer to Earth, and these ions are attracted to atmospheric contaminants which are then either grounded or oxidized. So I like this comparison. In other words, lightning and rain don't try to hide from the contaminants. They don't make a huge effort to analyze the contaminants, and try to figure out how to get rid of them. They just do their thing. And so mental detox can be somewhat like that.

Ways to Detox Mentally

So we've talked a little bit about physical detox, about environmental detox. But what can we just do to bring in a life-affirming, healing, health-affirming way of calming our brain down, which we know there's a body-brain connection, and can maybe even help with healing our bodies; and just bring in positive thoughts into your environment, possibly changing these scripts that run through your brain. So how do I cleanse these negative thoughts and habits for my life? What are the things that I've done personally as a woman and as a physician, maybe to help with my patients, as well?

So I love this comparison. My dad's a child psychiatrist and he's phenomenal. He's one of my heroes. And he relates with kids, he connects with them. He just has a bond with them. And one thing he talks a lot about is these scripts that are running through our brains. And a comparison of these scripts would be like the pioneers who come across the country, and you know those ruts that they leave in the dirt, like those old wooden wheels leave those ruts. I mean you can still see 'em now. And when something happens, when we get input, what does our brain do? It just boom, falls right into that rut and just goes along. And I love that visual because that's what happens. As some of our experiences, as some of our input, our brain will just drop into that rut. And I feel that a mental detox is a way of pulling it out of that rut and getting you maybe on fresh ground, on different ground. So what kinds of things can we do?

1. Just Do Something

Number one, I like the Nike motto, if I'm even allowed to say it, just do it. Just do something. Anything to get out of what you are currently doing. Meaning, doesn't mean you're running away, it doesn't mean you're quitting your job. You are just changing that environment that you're in right now, especially if the thoughts and and the input is just too much. That may be a 10-minute walk. That may be walking your dog. That may be, if you can't get out of your office, like I can't sometimes, getting a video on and doing a 10-minute series of Pilates stretches or yoga stretches. Something to get out of myself. And in doing that, data has shown that your brain, oh guess what, maybe I can start repositioning what I'm doing. Just the act of doing something. Being like a new mom and being, just doing the same thing over and over again. Is there something that you can do when you're in that mindset of doing the same thing where you pick up and just change a focus. I know it sounds really basic, but it's still something you gotta talk to our brains about.

And so I like this, this is the science side of it. Your frontal lobe, this one here, right, is responsible for a lot of your thoughts, emotions. Of course, other parts of your brains are, but how you relate with the world. And when it's not moving, or when it's down, it's not being activated like it needs to be. Well, what's happening nowadays? Everyone's like this, right? What's our frontal lobe doing? It's down here. Or we're like this. And what is that doing? It's not activating our frontal lobe. And so I had once worked with a neurological chiropractor who talked a lot about pulling that frontal lobe up and what that does. Look at patients with Parkinson's or people with disabilities. They're starting to slouch forward, and being able to pull up that frontal lobe can make a huge difference. So what do we do when we're walking, when we're doing yoga, when we're doing stretches, when we're doing any kind of exercise? Pulling ourselves up helps activate our frontal lobe and that can help retrain your brain. So I do medical acupuncture, and there is a frontal lobe activation treatment that I do, and it can be very effective for people kind of coming out of being inside their box or being on their rut, and combining that with movement can be effective.


Another great thing to do is to hug. This is so great, if it's allowed in your environment. But hugging is a great thing. The data has shown that hugging actually increases your levels of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, neural transmitters, these are feel-good neurotransmitters. They promote feelings of contentment, reduced anxiety, and stress. So the act of connecting with someone. And I was once at a conference, and we talked about connecting heart-to-heart. I just thought that was interesting that in some cultures that's what is done.

2. Focus on What We Can Control

All right, number two. Spin your mental energy, right, the energy that's spinning around, on things you can control. And, you know, you've probably heard this term, it is what it is. And that's really true, right? What can we truly control? I'm trying to talk to my teen, newly teenage twins about that. Like what we can control in this minute, what we can't control from the past, and what we can control in terms of our fear for the future, right? We don't wanna get these emotions all bottled up with the fear and the worry, because we can't control something. Taking a deep breath, and we'll talk a little bit about the breathing. It can help with that control aspect. So how do you help with releasing some of that control?

And along with that, a lot of times, forgiveness is involved. There's a lot of issues that we may not be able to release mentally, because of a seed of unforgiveness, a seed of resentment. My husband always tells me this Famous Amos quote about "Acid does more on the article in which it's stored "than on that on which it's poured." So think about it, you're storing all of that acid. And people actually get stressed out with stomach ulcers and increased stomach acid. But you're storing all of that anger and rage, or whatever the issue is. And you might have anger, rage pouring on other people, but the more you store it, the more damage it's going to do to you. And you may not even have a person in your life currently. But someone there's still a lot of resentment and forgiveness issues you need to deal with, but it's still burning you up, and they may not even realize it. So talking about forgiveness is something. And we'll relate that with our oils, too.


So how do you pull out some of these thoughts? Active journaling. And that's been a huge component in my life. And I've saved all my journals. And the actual act of taking a pen to paper does something different to your brain. Talking about my awesome dad again, he's been a journaler for many, many years, and he's been my inspiration. And he started, for a while, journaling on his iPad, and noticing it just wasn't having the same effect. And then he came across some psychological data that talked about journaling, writing something down, and just focusing on that pen and paper, that that changes the brain connection and you're getting these thoughts out onto paper. And it can be in whatever form you want, whether it's a letter. I do it like a prayer meditation. And just getting out what the thoughts are. And it can be incredibly cleansing and incredibly detoxing. And I use oils to help support me in that. So we can talk about that.

Yeah, and the really neat thing is keeping the journals and looking back on them and going, this is the nice thing about being old, which I'm getting, definitely, is looking back and going, wow, that's what I was so anxious about or so stressed about or really was obsessed in my life about. Look at what's happened now. Things worked out fine. There may have been a trauma. There may have been a crisis. But you can see how things were worked out for me. It may be answered prayer. But you can look back and there's a physical something, too, you look back on and I think there's that connection, which helps reset our brain focus.

3. Breathe

And then finally, number three, I would say is breathe. This is such a critical component of life. And you probably, if any of you have the watches that say breathe, you need to breathe now, which kind of drives me up the wall. But actually, the act of breathing, which yoga is a big part of, can reset your brain chemistry. And some data suggests that just doing five deep abdominal breaths, bringing in the breath through your abdomen, and I always tell my patients to feel like you're blowing up a balloon through your abdomen, not this , but more, don't use your chest, but just breathe through your belly, five deep breaths, five seconds in, five seconds out. And there's varying types of breathing, whether it's in through your nose and out through your mouth, in through your nose, out through your nose, different types of it. But the act of doing that slow breathing can actually prevent panic attacks. If you feel a panic attack is coming on, closing your eyes and doing that deep breath can actually physiologically prevent it. Our body needs oxygen.

In the environments we're in now, I talk to my patients a lot about sitting, and one of the slogans out there is sitting is the new smoking. I'm sitting, I know, right now. But we're sitting for 8 to 12 hours a day nowadays. Didn't used to be that way. And so in the sitting, our diaphragm's compressed. I'm gonna start shrinking down. Now my shoulder's depressed, my neck's depressed, my frontal lobe is down. And what does that do to our breath? It decreases our lung capacity and how well we breathe. And of course, we have environmental factors that affect your breathing. So a great way to do mental detox is also to breathe.

Using Essential Oils in Your Mental Detox

So let's tie in the three points that I just talked about with essential oils, some of my favorites.

Arise Enlightening Blend

So what I wanted to talk about was my first one, right. So let's do it, the go do something. I love a lot of our blends, but I've fallen in love with doTERRA Arise. So that's the yoga, one of the yoga blends. And if you look at the science log behind Arise, it's totally ties into what we're talking about. So they created this Arise blend with doTERRA scientists and the yoga specialist Elena Brower, and it helps calm the mind and energize the body. And I have it diffusing right now. I love it in the morning, and throughout the day, depending on what is going on.

So one of the things they talk about, our emotions are complex. Some of the activity of multiple systems in the brain and body, right. Think to a day when you had a lot on your mind with just a few hours of sleep to get you through everything. Your central nervous system was agitated, it was stressed. But your peripheral nervous system, the extremities, and legs and feet, probably felt sluggish and struggled to keep up. So a single stimulus can affect multiple body systems. So this is why they put together this particular blend. So the oils in the Arise Enlightening blend, so that's another name for it is Enlightening, were chosen to create a blend with a beautiful aroma and powerful biological effects.

What is in Arise Blend?

So what do they have in it? Lemon, Grapefruit, so the citruses, Siberian Fir, Osmanthus, Melissa, and Fractionated Coconut Oil. So the main constituents in it are the limonenes, the beta-pinenes, alpha pinenes, bornyl acetate, and gamma terpinene. So what do we know about the Lemon and Frapefruit? They're known for their energizing properties. They have the high limonene content. In one study, the reference researchers found physiological parameters related to energy and arousal were significantly increased following inhalation of the oil. And another study found inhalation of limonene alone was sufficient to enhance alertness and other measures of bodily arousal. So again, brain, lots of mental energy, let's just get up and do something. Maybe we consider Arise, right?

Siberian Fir is also in it. But it's rich in alpha pinene, beta-pinene, bornyl acetate, and they work by different mechanisms to calm and uplift the mind. And one study actually used an EEG, which is looking at your brain, the activity, to show alpha pinene enhances the quality and duration of sleep, of deep sleep. So it calms the mind by relaxing the autonomic nervous system, which is your nervous system that's the unconscious activity. So maybe feelings of tension that we experience, but can't control, are usually linked to this division of the nervous system. So combining now the citrus and Siberian Fir can act on the autonomic nervous system, the CNS, in different ways. It also promotes feelings of happiness. So that is an encouraging.

And then Osmanthus, Melissa, are floral oils. So these includes ketones, esters, ethers, alcohols, and aldehydes. And this contributes to the unique composition of it.

How to Use Arise Blend

It can be used with or without dilution. During your morning routine, during times of stress, during yoga, or during some kind of exercise or workout to give a unique combination of invigoration and relaxation. So they have a great reference online from their science blog and from their chemical constituents, so something to look up. And along with that, you do have two other yoga oils, the Align and the Anchor blend. So if anybody's interested in those.

And I do talk about people using those topically in different areas, whether it's on your pulse points. That I've talked about with acupuncture points on the inside of the elbow is heart, three. And some of those points can be very effective when used with oils. On the bottom of the feet, perhaps on the reflex points that are for the heart and lungs, which is more autonomic nervous system, or on the big toe, which is more of the brain. And that goes along with the other couple of oils I'm gonna talk about.

Forgive Renewing Blend

So the second oil is Forgive. I can show you my product information page. Or my oils, which are here. I didn't even show you them. So right, Arise is in the little bottle. Forgive is in a little bottle. Then I'll talk about my third one.

So I love Forgive. First of all, I love the emotional aromatherapy blends. I've talked about them before, because I've been using a lot of oils prior to doTERRA coming out with emotional aromatherapy blends. And they're phenomenal. But I love that they put the six oils in this emotional wheel and that you can use it strategically in different seasons of your life or throughout the day.

Why is Forgive important? Well, what was the second point we talked about was forgiveness, or at least getting those emotions out of your brain. So MD Anderson in Phoenix, which is an integrated medicine cancer institute, and this was presented at our convention a few years ago, talked about using the Forgive blend and how remarkable it was over a nine-month study to help with feelings of happiness, improved job satisfaction, improved productivity on the job, decreased feelings of sadness and frustration. That's pretty nice.

And so using that in all ages, because we have the Forgive Touch, and I'm finding that with my teenagers that I need to use quite a bit of this, for myself as well, but using this as a way to help downshift and to help get into a mind of okay, I'm gonna start letting go. So I'm just gonna read a little bit about our Forgive blend. It may offer an organic aid for overcoming a negative past and pressing forward into a bright future. I like that. Overcoming difficult experiences, relationships, or feelings, and your body is doing this as you're writing this out, as you're journaling it.

What is in Forgive Blend?

So what do we have in Forgive? We have Spruce, Bergamot, Juniper Berry, Myrrh Resin, Arborvitae, Nootka Tree, Thyme, and Citronella. So it uses combinations of these tree and herb oils. And what does this give you? A high concentration of monoterpene esters and alcohols, which can help balance emotions in certain areas of the brain, in circumstances of frustration and stress.

And like we talked about, where you can put them, in the same places we talked about with the Arise blend. So I like the uses and benefits. Again, promotes feelings of contentment, relief, and patience. If you're striving to feel these grounding emotions in your life, apply them to your pulse point and heart throughout the day, making time to meditate with the doTERRA Forgive blend to reduce negative emotions.

So talking about meditation, journaling. Maybe if you're doing a yoga practice or some kind of stretches, you can be diffusing it, or again, topically applying it. And then if you maybe have, encounter, or a meeting or something with someone, or discussion with your kids that you might need to work with, perhaps putting this on ahead of time, and I've definitely been known to sneak it up on my kids throughout the day. On the pulse points, the base of the skull has this point right behind the greater occipital protuberance and behind the mastoid process that's almost like a direct access into the brain stem, which can help calm. So another one for oil Forgive, love it, consider that.

Vetiver Essential Oil

And then number three, in terms of oils to help with mental detox for myself is Vetiver. I absolutely love Vetiver. There's a couple personal reasons why. And then I'll talk to you a little bit about how I've used it for myself and clinically.

So vetiver comes from Haiti. If any of you have not seen the Healing Hands or the Co-Impact Sourcing videos from doTERRA, the vetiver sourcing in Haiti, try to watch it. It's phenomenal, because the vetiver root is this thick tangle of roots in the ground. And these roots grow downward. And so it just, they're adherent to the ground. And this root is the origin of this essential oil. And Haiti is one of the main places in the world that has it. And it's this earthy, very strong aroma. But it has been used throughout the world in perfumes. And it's composed of multiple sesquiterpenes. It has this very grounding effect.

So what I love is A, I've done a lot of medical missions to Haiti. Both my husband and I have. And whenever I smell it, I think of the times that I've spent there. I've worked in some really, really challenging situations there. And the people there are so resilient, like these roots. And so that brings me back to a special, special place in my memory when I use it.

But if you look at what the root, what does the oil do. A lot of times, these essential oils do what the plant itself does. So vetiver is a very grounding, solid root. And this is what it can do for our emotions. So there are some studies on if people have issues with focus, that Vetiver can be very effective to help with focus and attention. Vetiver can be helpful with sedation, with calming, perhaps with any sleeping issues. And that's what the root itself does. It pulls you back to Earth. It pulls you to the ground. And again, I feel like watching those videos really helps me, the Haitian people just pulling that vetiver out and the intensity that goes into that process.

How to Use Vetiver Oil

So how do I use it? I have always used it at night since I first discovered it. And just helps me refocus at the end of the day along with deep breathing. So five deep breaths, right, and covering over your nose, breathing in through your nose slowly.

And what I love about it is it helps me downshift because I will literally lay on my back, and if anybody knows Happy Baby pose where you can kind of have your feet up next to you, I will turn the Vetiver bottle, and it takes a while, it's like molasses. So it takes a while to come out. But I will just, that time of watching it drip out and slowly go onto my big toe, my brain, and to massage it in and on the ball of my foot on the autonomic nervous system, and breathing during that, that is a downshifting time for me. And that helps with what we talked about with the breathing. Helps me refocus, get ready for bed.

You can do it throughout the day, the same thing. I've had a lot of acquaintances and patients saying, it just takes so long to get out! I'm like, well, that's kind of the point, right? We want this, I wanna get it out really quickly. But I have to roll it. And I'm like, no, this is forcing me to slow down and watch this oil come out. One time the lighting in my room was just such that there was this massive shadow on the wall. And I saw the drop actually come out on this big shadow, and it was really neat. But it's just a beautiful, thick, viscous oil.

So other things that Vetiver can also help with is your immune system. It may help by taking it internally. And it can help in school for kids. So some people don't prefer the smell. Some kids don't, but this is a great place to put it on the bottom of their feet, on their brain points, on their heart and lung points, on the bottom of their feet to give them a little grounding. You can also do a little TLC with a Vetiver essential oil bath. So combine it with some Epsom salts to help with grounding.

So those are just some points that have been really fun to research. And I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be able to talk on this Oil Oasis and I hope these are helpful for you. And thank you all for everything you do. Have a great day.

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