Monday, October 15, 2012

Aromatherapy for DS


When you walk into your relative's home as they are preparing a holiday dinner, and the wonderful smells bring back memories, make you smile, and instantly lighten your mood, then you already know that aromatherapy can have a positive affect on you.  What about the latest perfumed lotion from Bath & Body?  What about a new candle scent?  Just as therapeutic listening can help stimulate the brain for speech and learning, so can aromatherapy stimulate the brain and strengthen the immune system. 

I have read many times that children with Down Syndrome learn best by incoorporating all five of the senses.  seeing (flashcards, learning videos), hearing (therapeutic listening, saying flashcards out loud), touching (hands on learning, Montessori style learning, exploring textures), taste (starting early with different textures and stimulating the taste buds with a variety of foods), and smelling (aromatherapy).  Read more below and look at the following websites.  It is one of those therapies the entire family will benefit from, because your home will smell amazing.
. - has a child with DS, so check out her DS section

The following is taken from Down Syndrome Support w/Brittany Martinez on facebook.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the inhalation and bodily application of essential oils from aromatic plants to relax, balance, rejuvenate, restore or enhance body, mind and spirit. Pure essential oils are extracted from many parts of the plant including the flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and rhizome. Aromatherapy is powerful not just because it’s healing benefits of the body, but also because it’s soothing effects on the emotions. Essential oils can work almost instantly, especially for hormonal and emotional concerns. They go to work immediately in the body because they don’t have to go through the digestive system to get to the blood stream.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Children?

Essential oils are safe as long as you follow the safety recommendations and perform a skin patch test when you use the oil for the first time on the skin. Essential oils are more potent than herbs so less amount is needed in order to achieve the desired effect. Never use the oils undiluted on the skin. The only exceptions are tea tree and lavender, which can be used in tiny amounts on stings, wounds or a small burn. Carefully follow directions on dilution before use. It is also important not to use the same essential oils more than one week at a time, so if longer time is needed just alternate with other essential oils.

How will Aromatherapy benefit my child?

There are many ways to incorporate essential oils into a child’s life and they respond very positively to aromatherapy. Methods include aromatic baths, lotions, and inhalation. Many children also enjoy hand or foot massage. A drop or two of an essential oil on a pillow case is a great way to use essential oils when the child is congested or has a hard time falling asleep.

Calming Overactivity

Essential Oils can help calm an overactive child. An overactive child isn’t necessary “hyperactive” and sometimes children are overactive only at certain times. Refined carbohydrates, MSG, food colors and additives have been known to cause overactivity in children. Essential oils may also be beneficial in tantrums, anxiety attacks, and overtiredness. Aromatherapy works well on a subtle level. Relaxation oils are natural plant derivatives that may aid the body in:
       slowing the respiration and heart rate
       soothing an overstimulated nervous system

Here is a recommended mixture to use for calming an overactive child:

Calming Mist- a room spray to relax, this can be diffused in the air, and you can even spray it on things if needed.
1 cup distilled water
10 drops lavender
5 drops marjoram
2 drops sandalwood
a spray bottle with mist nozzle

This massage blend can also be used for calming an overactive child:

Aromatic Massage Oil for Children
2 tbl. Warm vegetable oil
5-10 drops of Lavender or mandarin

Mix the essential oils in the warm vegetable oil. You can make this ahead and keep it in a dark or amber glass bottle. The essential oil blends should be kept in dark bottles. Massage the feet, working towards the heart.
Other relaxing and calming oils are chamomile, clary sage, mandarin, marjoram, neroli, orange, sandalwood and tangerine.

Bedtime Baths 

It can be a challenge many times to get a child to go to sleep but I noticed that a relaxing calm bath can make wonders at bedtime. Before the bath time you can try to give the child a cup of diluted chamomile tea. Lavender and mandarin are well liked by children and they can be used in a hand or foot massage before bedtime.
Favorite Bath Blend
Lavender 2 drops
Mandarin 2 drops

Add this to vegetable oil and add to the bath water and swish. You can of course switch mandarin for another oil or use only lavender.
Other relaxing oils for bedtime are bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, marjoram, rose, ylang ylang.

How can Aromatherapy help my child with Down Syndrome?

Essential oils are ideal for respiratory infections of any kind because of their antiviral and antibacterial activity. Essential oils always work naturally with the body to promote homeostasis -a state of balance and well being. This is very important when working with anyone, but is more consequential when working with a individuals with Down Syndrome, who have a weakened immune system.

Essential Oils for Respiratory:
Ravensara - antiviral, antibacterial, antitumeral. Works well when an infection (i.e. green/white mucus) is present.
Eucalyptus Radiata - antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, anti-inflammatory. Ideal for any type of respiratory or viral infection.
Myrtle - antimutagenic, liver stimulant, thyroid stimulant, sinus/lung decongestant. Wonderful for dispelling mucus.
Sandalwood - antitumoral, antiviral, immune stimulant. Enhances deep sleep stimulates the limbic region of the brain, where emotions may be stored.
Vetiver - relaxant, circulatory stimulant, anti-inflammatory. Is very grounding, calming & stabilizing.

Update 01/09/13:  I have been using the essential oils for a variety of issues, such as respiratory and constipation.  They have proven very effective.  They are non toxic, have a wonderful aroma, and do better than anything I could purchase in stores.  I read the label of a Vick's baby rub, it contains lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary in a petroleum base.  This is what I place in the humidifier's at night when my daugthers had congestions.  I also place a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus in their baths at night, as well as use the Plague Defense (aka "thieves oil") or Respiratory relief in the diffuser when they have any issues going on.  I tried using myrtle on a Q-tip and swabbed the inside of my nose when I had congestion and surprisingly, all cogestion stopped within minutes and lasted 3-4 hours.  You can rub oils that have been diluted with a carrier oil directly onto your child's chest or on the soles of their feet.  I rub Frankincense on the soles of their feet each day to stimulate the immune system.  I have really enjoyed learning an alternative and natural way to help my family.  I am not against medications, but if you have a choice that works naturally and effectively, you should try it.

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