The Smell of Eucalyptus and Esalen

The scent of eucalyptus filled my nostrils as I leaned back on the soft cushions in House of Steep the afternoon – I received a completely relaxing reflexology treatment from Vital Akimana, a talented, gentle, kind massage therapist who works there. The entire environment is delightful and I recommend it to anyone needing some respite from the stress of the work world.

Then, there is that scent of eucalyptus. As my eyes closed, I was transported to Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA and the majestic eucalyptus trees that line the roads and paths throughout the property. Fondly, I remember gathering eucalyptus buttons and leaves to be used for a long evening of soaking in the mineral baths at the conclusion of the Healing the Pelvic Floor workshop for women.

It is a very primal thing, our sense of smell. And, Esalen is my all time favorite for smells that enchant me. There is the intoxicating scent of Jasmine that covers the walls and garden entrances all over the property.  Another favorite is rosemary – the thick bushes line the walks in hidden corners. I love running my hands down the firm green needle like leaves which releases the fragrance into the air.


Then there is lavender, which is plentiful everywhere – filling the air with that distinctive calming scent.

Lavendar at Esalen

My love affair with the scents, herbs and flowers of Esalen began years ago, when the Healing the Pelvic Floor workshop was conceived. My friend and colleague, Robin Fann guided me through the gardens and grounds showing me the riches that reside there.


It was love at first smell – and when I arrive on property every year my first impulse is to breathe as deeply and fully as I possibly can. It never disappoints me. Enjoy!

Esalen color


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