Using aromatherapy has been shown to be an effective natural therapy for managing a number of mood and behavior challenges for individuals living with autism and ADHD. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is associated with behavioral problems including reduced social interactions, impaired verbal or non-verbal communication, repetitive behavior as well as changing emotions and sensory issues. As of 2014, about 1.5% of children in the United States, which is 1 in 68 children, are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Essential oils help autism because of their aroma therapeutic properties. When the essential oil is inhaled, its aroma compounds which carry a myriad of healing properties, enter the lungs and end up in the blood stream. Most essential oils are powerful antioxidants and chemically constitute the compounds sesquirtepenes, that significantly increase oxygen in the brain.
According to Dr. Stephanie Cave in her book titled What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, “The biggest improvement comes when the toxic metals are removed from the children’s bodies. We have seen nearly complete recovery in many of the two to seven year old children. “Therapeutic essential oils have the ability to detoxify and remove metallics from our bodies!
For both ADHD/ADD and autism, stimulation of the limbic region of the brain may also help treat these disorders. The aromas from therapeutic essential oils have a powerful ability to stimulate this part of the brain, since the sense of smell is tied directly to the mind’s emotional and hormonal centers. As a result, the aroma of an essential oil has the potential to exert a powerful influence on ADD/ADHD and autism. In a two year case study (1999-2001) Dr. Terry Friedmann M. D. found significant results when children that had previously been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD were administered therapeutic essential oils by inhalation. The essential oils of Brain Power, Vetiver, Lavender, and Cedarwood were used.
Essential Oils to Help with Autism and ADHD
In 2001, a study done by Dr. Terry Friedman found that vetiver oil is effective in treating children with ADHD.
The study found that the relaxing and calming properties of vetiver oil helped the children combat their ADHD and ADD symptoms
This oil helps quiet an overactive, exhausted, or stressed mind. Also, it is a great choice in helping to control anger, irritability, or neurotic behavior. Vetiver has the scent of a forest after the rain, with its earthy and damp scent. It helps to subdue an overactive, exhausted, or stressed mind, which many individuals with autism regularly experience.
Cedarwood: This oil helps to stimulate pituitary and pineal glands. It can also aid in increasing melatonin levels naturally. In addition, it can help with good sleep at night and focus during the day.
Frankincense: Extremely helpful in regenerating cells, calming and relaxing, and promoting higher levels of consciousness.
Lavender: Lavender oil is ideal for bath time when the children are tired, stressed, or sick. Putting a few drops of lavender in the water can substantially help a child with autism calm down and get a good night’s sleep.
Of course, before incorporating essential oils as part of your treatment regimen, you should always consult with your physician and/or therapist to ensure that this will be an effective addition to your child’s treatment regimen.
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Althea Press, Essential Oils : Natural Remedies, 2015. Althea Press, Berkeley, CA.
Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, 2003. The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Brisbane, Australia
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari, Aromatherapy : A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils, 2015. Floramed Publishing, The Woodlands, TX.