Aromatherapy for Rehabilitation

Aromatherapy at the Rehabilitation Centres “Hogares Claret” in Colombia

What can aromatherapy add to rehabilitation centres?

Padre Gabriel Mejia from the Christian order of the Claretians has created more than 50 rehabilitation centres all over Columbia. In these centres he introduced Transcendental Meditation and aromatherapy to thousands of kids and adolescents.

“The street is my church”

Father Gabriel

Now operational in 52 centres across Colombia, the Hogares Claret Foundation set up by Father Mejia in 1984 has perfected its own therapeutic model with an international ISO certificate. At any given time, the centres serve more than 3,500 orphans, homeless and young drug addicts — offering them food, shelter, education, and Transcendental Meditation classes”
Dr. Jose Luis Alvares, responsible for the implementation of the Transcendental Meditation Programs in Latin America

 Aromatherapy in Hogares Claret 

“A way of caring without causing damage”

Aromatherapy as well as phytotherapy, floral essences and other similar therapies come to rescue and heal without causing damage. The use of essential oils is an elegant way of taking care of yourself, without attacking the organism, providing a higher and more perfect vibration. And it is also an opportunity to feel the magic of the Plant Kingdom to help and rescue a state full of health, well-being, peace and harmony.

The aromatherapy experience in the therapeutic community of Hogares Claret, started at the end of 2015 with a motivation from Father Gabriel Mejía, who had his experience on the theme through Dr. Malte (director of Oshadi Germany) who came to share this beautiful experience with us. He mentioned and offered the possibility of implementing this technique as a prevention and treatment strategy for our users.

On August 31, 2016, the first training was given by volunteer teachers from the school Aromaluz Brazil. In this training, teachers of Trascendental Meditation and Sadhana Technicians participated. During the learning processes, we understood that the smell is part of the limbic system and has no logic, it is instinctive. Aromatherapy is a great tool for helping people with emotional distress, depression and different types of illnesses. The sense of smell is directly connected to the brain and the olfactory memory is highly associated with our emotions.

We began to deeply know the essential oils of different plants: their nature, their components, their properties, the distillation process, their scientific name, their use and the benefits for prevention and treatment.

Carla Vescovi with teachers of her Aromatherapy School “Aromaluz” from Brazil with  regular training of rehab. educators at Hogares Claret

We started the preparation of synergies in: roll-on, cream, lotions and sprays, learning all about formulas, right percentages in its preparation and application, according to the physical and emotional patterns and need. After this training experience, we started to implement aromatherapy in all centers of Claret Homes at national level in Colombia, through synergies, mainly using sprays in the reception room and when meditating in groups. 

The use of aromatherapy experience has been progressively more in the technical teams and families, we have had successful cases in treatment of skin problems, chronic stress, intense anxiety, depression and the connection with the individual purpose and connections among others have improved. After a while, it was evident that the application of synergies significantly reduced stress levels, anxiety levels, levels of frustration and irritability, also generated receptivity to activities proposed throughout the day in the centres. It also promotes a great ambiance that motivates young people for the Transcendental Meditation sessions.

Experiences of children in the Rehabilitation Centre in Alegria

A group of ten children (eight boys and two girls) in Alegria had an opportunity to experience aromatherapy. They all experienced deep relaxation. This effect has been especially beneficial to a few of them who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Essential oils which are known to be good for this disorder are Orange, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Lavender and Frankincense.

Rehabilitation Centre in Alegria

A 12-year old boy experienced deep relaxation and fell asleep during the aromatherapy session. Some of the essential oils which he experienced were energising to him, but he didn’t feel anxious or too excited. (Orange, Patchouli, Tea Tree). Many of the oils also made him feel very relaxed (Lavender, Vetiver, Geranium, Ylang Ylang…).

An 11-year old boy reported very interesting experiences with some essential oils. He also fell asleep during the therapy and reported: Eucalyptus smithii was relaxing and energizing and Lavender was deeply relaxing, very nice and very personal. Bergamot smelled “delicious”, Geranium, he described as “incredible”, and Anise as “emotional”. Jasmine, he found wonderful and incredible. And the smell of Frankincense made him feel relaxed and proud.

Rehabilitation Centre Libertad

This is what eleven young boys in Libertad had to say after experiencing aromatherapy. All teenagers were of delicate age, needed support and attention, and many of them used to take drugs. Three of them have experienced aromatherapy for five days, they reported amazing effects even after the very first experience.

Rehabilitation Centre Libertad, Age: 12-18

Omar has reported that some oils gave him energy like Clove, Eucalyptus smithi, Basil… Some other essential oils he experienced as very calming: Cedarwood, Orange, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile.

Sebastian reported that his respiration improved after inhaling some essential oils. This happened after just a few seconds of inhalation of Peppermint and Palmarosa essential oil.

“After five days I feel very good, excellent, without any preoccupation. Many of those essential oils made me feel relaxed.”


Lemongrass gave him the “desire to run” whereas Patchouli created a vision of his future in him and made him feel optimistic. Cedarwood gave him a wish to open himself and speak. And Peppermint made him feel good and gave him a vision of being able to feel good in any place. Palmarosa gave him a gentle sensation in his heart. Anise made him breathe gently…

Casa Claret Rehabilitation Centre

Here, another 16 adults got to experience aromatherapy. Again, great experiences and all of them reported very deep relaxation. They are in a drug addiction rehabilitation process and almost all of them were smokers.

Dr. Malte Hozzel at Casa Claret Rehabilitation Centre
Father Gabriel Mejia with Dr. Malte Hozzel, founder of Oshadhi essential oils, discussing the further development of aromatherapy in the Hogares Claret Centres in Colombia.

One person reported that after smelling Eucalyptus essential oil for a few moments he didn’t have a desire to smoke. All of them reported that they felt it helped them to be less anxious and that it helped them to feel inner peace. And they all asked to repeat the aromatherapy session.

“I have a very good experience, very relaxing and calming. I always thought odours are very important for people, it is very obvious with animals. Their softness and good effects are noticeable in this experience. The consultant seems to be very centered in this treatment. I would like to have this therapy more often. Gracias.”

Carlos Mario Restrepo L.

“Aromatherapy seems very relaxing to me, it reassures me. There are aromas that have helped me to improve sleep, to be more connected to my internal being. Each time I had aromatherapy I am very quiet and at peace with my surrounding. Thank you.”


“In the first session of aromatherapy I felt that my body was very relaxed and I almost fell asleep completely. In my right foot I felt many sensations from the soul over the ankle to the complete foot, and also some tingling from the Achilles heel to the tip of the toes. In the second session I felt that my body is very relaxed, I was very sleepy and after the session I noticed more energy in my body. I again had a tingling sensation in my feet. Parts of my waist felt completely numb.”

Diego Tobon

“During the aromatherapy I felt great, I could rest better during those two days. I liked some fragrances and identified with some things from the past but do not remember very well. Also it made me think about some problems with my health and made me seek improvement. Thank you Ana for that space, it was very nice.”

Juan Sebastian Medina

“I felt very relaxed during the aromatherapy,  the stress was gone, with all those aromas I was given to smell and I want to continue with this therapy because I know that it helps me a lot and the professor was very kind. I felt very good.”

Jorge E. Becerra

“Truly unique. In a way all the aromas – the pleasant ones as well as the ones which are not so pleasant reminded me of some moments, feelings, sensations of my life. The really spectacular experience was when you were putting some essential oils on my forehead and temples. I felt detached from my physical body, and I felt happiness, inner peace, happiness, self-confidence and a lot but really a lot of love. I felt in harmony with the universe. I was in a state similar as in meditation, I was inside of my being and existence, I was in contact with my inner child and being. Thank you Ana.”


Many more of them experienced inhaling essential oils for just a few moments during the day. These essential oils were:

  • Mandarin
  • Vetiver
  • Orange
  • Cedar
  • Eucalyptus 

Even just this short experience of aromatherapy was excellent for them to get rid of tensions, many blockages, anxiety and more. It was very noticeable, and their sincere desire to have more experiences with essential oils was more than surprising.

Aromatherapy helped with the smoking habits of those who usually smoke regularly. The spontaneous desire to “replace” the cigarettes with essential oils was coming easily and they didn’t have to stress about that.

“My experience with aromatherapy was spectacular, extraordinary, inspiring, wholesome, intriguing, healthy. It was sensational. I have forgotten many things I felt. It was a bit indescribable and it makes it difficult to perceive and decode all the thoughts I had and felt in those moments. I went back to being a kid as if I had been playing in the places where I used to play in my childhood, it was as if the fragrance was describing me the paradise. All my weight which I had carried was removed.

This therapy revived me, bailed me out, my soul and being are grateful for this opportunity – to know even a far ephemeral paradise, everything I’ve written is just a small part of what it deserves, it deserves a big praise. And I wish I could feel those feelings again like I could today. Thank you.”

Darwin Sepulveda

Our aromatherapy trainer Ana’s summary:

The following essential oils mentioned bellow made the greatest impact in all mentioned groups, and they were the favourites among the children, adolescents and adults in Hogares Claret:

  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Frankincense
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Vetiver
  • Cedarwood
  • Lavender

The conclusion is that the essential oils which were most pleasant to all participants of this project were also in most cases the best for their psycho-physiological well-being. Aromatherapy is a very important tool to re-establish health and nourish the soul. Myself as an aromatherapy-consultant have enjoyed so much in this process, as much as the participants in those centres. And it has allowed me to learn more about the connection between human beings and nature.

When people experience nature in her most etheric form (essential oils) they recognize their inner self and are able to appreciate more themselves and their surrounding, even in cases when their past was full of suffering as with the majority of these nice and kind young people.

Thank you Father Gabriel Mejia for introducing so many wonderful ways to these young beings to be reborn into a new world of happiness and joy! Thank you for letting them learn to transcend through meditation and aromatherapy and discover their own divine essence.

Thank you Mother Nature, ????for your wonderful gifts!

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