Essential Oils: Benefits for You and Your Children

By Laura Martinez Ruffing

Life is joyful, amazing, and full of wonderful moments. It is also full of stressors and challenging times. Wouldn’t it be nice to open a box and be able to locate a simple tool or strategy that could help us feel more calm and regulated? Essential oils can offer this kind of transformation to positively affect our coping skills and our memory. 
Throughout history, essential oils have been used as a holistic treatment to improve physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Essential oils are organic, aromatic compounds that come from different parts of plants (such as the bark, stem, peel, leaf, and flowers) and each drop contains chemical compounds that carry tremendous healing properties. Plants and essential oils have been used for over 5,000 years by many cultures to treat a variety of conditions. It is expected that up to 70 percent of modern pharmaceutical drugs will have originated from research conducted on plant-based medicine.
According to the Essential Oils Academy, one of the most studied areas of aroma research is the effect of smell on emotions and mood. There is convincing evidence demonstrating that simply inhaling the aroma of an essential oil is effective for calming nervous or anxious feelings. The smell receptors located on the upper surface of the nasal cavity make direct links with the limbic system of the brain, an area that governs the body’s emotional responses.
There are many practical and effective ways that essential oils can assist parents, caregivers, and children. 
You might be wondering the following:
1) How do I use them in my home?
2) What benefits can they offer?
3) How can I incorporate them into my weekly routines? 
Essential oils can be used in 3 different ways: 
1.) Aromatic. Inhale a drop from the palm of your hands, taking several deep breaths or put several drops in a diffuser with filtered water to disperse into the air; can be very stimulating, calming, or soothing. 
2.) Topical. Apply oils to the back of your neck, inner wrists, chest, or bottoms of your feet. Most can be applied “neat”, meaning with no carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or lotion. Some are best diluted to avoid skin sensitivities. Applying oils to the bottom of the feet is highly effective in moving the oils through the circulatory system and into the blood stream quickly. 
3.) Oral / Internal. Certain essential oils can be supportive to the immune, respiratory, digestive or muscular system when taken internally in water or a veggie capsule. There are many oils that are also wonderful to enhance flavor when cooking, such as Oregano, Basil, Cinnamon, or Lemon. 
When you have had an emotionally or physically tough day, relief can be at your fingertips when using essential oils. The beauty of oils is not only the multitude of ways they can be applied, but also how they can be easily accessed when you’re out and about. Whether it’s at home in a diffuser or conveniently located in your purse, essential oils can help with that shift to be more present for those important moments ahead. 
Some key essential oils to support your energy level and uplift your state of mind include Wild Orange, Peppermint, and Rosemary.    
Wild Orange has been coined as “Happiness in a Bottle” for its energizing and bright qualities, as well as supporting the immune system.
Peppermint is best known for enlivening the senses and promoting a feeling of energy. It is beneficial on its own, but offers a wider variety of benefits when combined with these oils.
Rosemary is known for its herbaceous and energizing aroma, as well as helping to maintain focus and concentration. 
Essential Oil Tip: For a soothing and uplifting massage try an energizing blend (1 drop Wild Orange, 1 drop Peppermint, 1 drop Rosemary). Combine the oils in your hands, inhale deeply several times, and rub them into your neck and shoulders. You can even increase the amount of drops by 4x and add them to a diffuser.
Children can also benefit from essential oils. Young children experience a range of emotions and feelings as they learn, grow, and mature. Managing emotions can be particularly difficult as they figure out how to use their words to communicate their wants and needs. As a result, our children can feel frustrated, agitated, or tired. Essential oils, combined with the traditional approaches of empathy, extra hugs, and modeling proper behavior, can be a great solution. 
Some key essential oils for children include Lavender, Clary Sage, and Cedarwood. All are very supportive oils to that can help the child feel calm and back in control. 
Lavender is known for its calming properties that ease feelings of tension and promote peaceful sleep.
Clary Sage is known as one of the most relaxing, soothing, and balancing essential oils.
Cedarwood offers a unique woody scent that evokes feelings of wellness and relaxation. 
You can even make a soothing lotion out of the above oils.  I call it the “I Feel Just Right” lotion.  All you need are the following: 
4 ounce travel bottle 
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Clary Sage
2 drops Cedarwood
4 ounces of unscented body lotion
Add the oils to the empty bottle, fill to the top with the unscented body lotion, and give a good shake to incorporate.
Essential Oil Strategy: A good strategy to help your child feel back in balance is to create a space where they can feel safe and comfortable, whether that be on a bean bag pillow or a quiet corner of the house. Apply the “I Feel Just Right” lotion to your child’s hands and/or bottoms of their feet. Sing this simple song as you’re rubbing in the lotion. I like to use the Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush melody.
Integrate essential oils into you and your child’s life. By using these simple strategies, you’ll reduce stress for you, your child, and your household.  As a result, you’ll improve your focus, memory, and coping skills for a better quality of life. For more information on improving your memory, click here.

Laura Martinez Ruffing is an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, loving wife, and doTERRA Wellness Advocate ( who lives in the Bay Area. Not only is she passionate about teaching young children with disabilities, she uses her specialized skills to educate families on how to help children with behavioral, learning and developmental differences using essential oils. In her free time, she enjoys hatha yoga, meditation, lap swimming, and hiking.

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