Autism, a word that many have heard, but few know about except if you’re a parent of a child with autism. As you know every child on the autism spectrum is unique and has varying degrees of impairment and manifestations of this condition. And taking care of a child with autism brings a wide array of challenges, as well as special gifts.
I believe the biggest challenge is to understand what your child goes through and experiences and to be able to support them in a natural and holistic way so they and you can cope with these stressors.
A natural and holistic approach can be the use of essential oils as a means of bringing some calm to your child and into your life so you may experience more joy and happiness and less stress.
As with any treatment some will work better than others or not work at all as each child is an individual with their own unique challenges and every essential oil is unique and can have a different effect on an individual and their specific ailment.
If you are not familiar with essential oils allow me to provide you with some insights. Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant giving plants their distinctive smells. These essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination.
Most essential oils are extracted from a plant through steam distillation, except for citrus plants, which use cold pressing to extract the essence from the rind.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. You may be familiar with Frankincense and Myrrh, which was given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.
Their uses range from aromatherapy, to household cleaning products, personal beauty care and natural medicinal treatments. Their benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and act as a natural treatment without any side effects. Many of the oils produced by doTERRA can be used aromatically, topically and internally. All doTERRA oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.
Many people are familiar with essentials oils because they are so often associated with spas, or used by massage therapists during a therapy session. But did you know essential oils could be beneficial for children on the autism spectrum and ADHD as well? Essential oils can penetrate the skin and cross the brain-blood barrier to reach the amygdala and other limbic parts of the brain that control our mood and emotions. This is perhaps one of the reasons essential oils for ADHD and autism are gaining in popularity these days.
While essential oils have a myriad of uses I’ve listed just a few general benefits.
- Support healthy body functions and help boost the immune system.
- Relieve discomfort and sore muscles after exercising.
- Soothe the digestive system. Peppermint and DigestZen are known to support the healthy function of your stomach and digestive organs.
- Enhance a massage.
- Boost your ability to focus and concentrate.
- Help you relax and reduce your stress levels.
- Can alleviate insomnia and help you sleep better.
- Provide safer, non-toxic ways to clean and purify both home and work spaces.
Some specific essential oils that have proven to balance brain waves are vetiver. While lavender oil has been shown to calm the body and frankincense supports neurological development.
Other natural treatments can be the inclusion of certain foods such as:
- Additive Free/Unprocessed
- Bone Broth
Additional natural treatments to consider are:
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
- Chelation Detox
- Vitamin D
In the Epoch Times an article titled, “Parents Say Essential Oils Help With Autism,” by Conan Milner she stated, “One treatment that’s been getting a lot of attention is essential oils. A growing number of parents claim that these chemically complex plant-based compounds can help ease their child’s anxiety and restlessness, and can even curtail an epic meltdown. (see the full article here: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1894047-parents-say-essential-oils-help-with-autism/)
Shannon Coconis, whose 12 year old son has ASD said, “I didn’t think I was seeing anything after the first month,” she said. “Then I ran out of the two oils I was using and all of sudden he started going crazy. The only thing I could figure was that he didn’t have his oils. We got back to the oils and his behavior improved.”
“Oils are so easy. If there is something as easy as breathing and that can affect your behavior, your mood and affect metabolically things that are going on inside the body, that’s a win-win because you’re not fighting your child at all.”
As of November 2015 Dr. Jill Hollway, a research scientist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and her team of investigators began assembling a randomized, double-blind study to see if essential oils actually do help with the emotional and behavioral challenges associated with ASD.
Previous studies have shown that specific essential oils may improve children’s cognitive function, and some oils performed this task better than others. Perhaps the most famous is Dr. Terry Friedmann’s two-year case study, which looked at children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Friedmann found that regular inhalation of vetiver oil for 30 days improved brain wave patterns, scholastic performance, and behavior patterns in all subjects. Cedarwood oil demonstrated improvement for 80 percent of subjects, and lavender showed improvement for only five percent. However, lavender may be a better fit for ASD. Several of the parents OSU talked to confirmed that lavender oil was able to relax their child prior to bedtime.