Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to heal, sooth, lighten your mood and they smell terrific. Imagine being able to reduce stress, improve sleeping habits, calm a teething child or soothe cuts and grazes by simply using a few essential oils correctly. You can provide a simple yet highly effective means of treating a range of conditions, both physical and emotional.
“Essential oils” are natural oil extracts specially selected from a particular part of the plant – for example Mandarin comes from the fruit peel and Lavender from the whole plant. These oils have been used for thousands of years dating back to when Egyptian mummies were prepared with Myrrh, Sandalwood and Cedarwood.
Essential Oils have a range of benefits from relaxation, treating ailments, healing both physically and psychologically, and maintaining optimal well-being. When it comes to using essential oils, it is important to know how to use them correctly, as they can have adverse effects, whilst also remembering that they can work on an emotional, physical and mental level.
Dealing with children can be challenging and using aromatherapy can have many benefits. When using essential oils on children it is important to remember that they do have a heightened sense of smell and can also have sensitive skin. In this situation less usually means more. A good example of this is the use of essential oils in an oil burner, whilst 8-12 drops is the standard amount suggested for adults, small children could actually be over-stimulated by this same dosage.
Here are some safe essential oils that can be used for children:
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
If you only get one essential oil, lavender is the one to get. Lavender has a long history and is credited with being the first oil to be studied by scientists. The chemical constituents that are found in this essential oil have a number of benefits.
Lavender can help calm emotions, aid with sleeping problems, soothe and act as an antiseptic for cuts, grazes and insect bites, help relieve pain and assist in the healing of skin conditions. For children, Lavender essential oil can help with temper tantrums, teething, growing pains, overtired reactions, insect bites, heat rash, nappy rash, wind burn and sunburn. The perfect oil for Mums!!
Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Roman Chamomile is one of the best calming and soothing oils for both adults and children. This essential oil is used widely by many aromatherapists when dealing with skin conditions in children, such as rash, dermatitis, eczema and wound care. It can also be used for digestive issues and to calm the emotions. For parents these essential oils can really help with calming nerves and emotions, which can sometimes become a little ‘frayed’ with the challenges that children bring. Chamomile also has properties that help to soothe some allergic reactions making it handy for little situations that flare up. Remember that with severe allergic reactions, always seek medical advice.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca althernifolia)
Tea Tree is another essential oil with multiple uses. It is a powerful antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial oil which makes it a great cleaning and disinfectant natural product. It is a great alternatively to harsh chemical products that can be used with cleaning surfaces and toys, (make sure that you test it out on the surface of toys first). During the flu season, a couple of drops on a tissue can really help with decongesting the sinuses and help with chesty colds. Tea tree can be drying to the skin, so when using on children, use small amounts that have been diluted in a cold-pressed carry oil.
How to use these oils
There are many different ways that you can safely use essential oils around children. Depending on the age, a drop or two on a tissue can help with runny noses and with sleeping, whilst two drops in a bath can help with aches and pains. There is no need to use essential oils directly on the skin as this can cause a reaction, so just have cold-pressed oil (sweet almond, macadamia, apricot kernel) in the cupboard and put no more that one drop of essential oil into this on a tablespoon of cold-pressed oil. Rub this gently into the skin, after first testing on the inside of the elbow that there are no reactions.
Interested in learning more about , using Aromatherapy on children? Visit the AIAS website to find out more about their courses in Natural Therapy!
The information within this article is not intended to replace individual consultation with a qualified health care professional. The AIAS encourages you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional and if you or your family members are experiencing serious symptoms detrimental to your health, you should consult your health care professional immediately.