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Our Anxious Children: Essential Oils

Everyone gets nervous now and then, anxiety is when we experience worry and fear in a pattern that does not connect with the safety of our environment. Often children struggle with anxiety and we don't even realize it. Maybe they are more irritable, or clingy, maybe they can no longer fall asleep on their own, or often complain of headaches and stomachs and the doctors see no medical reason for the discomfort. There are many ways to help our children manage these feelings and begin to feel them less intensely and less frequently. Over the next several posts we will explore ways to help children manage and relieve the symptoms of anxiety and panic.

Essential oils have a long history in curing what ails us. Anything from allergies and the common cold to chronic pain and autoimmune disorders. Not only do these little natural wonders aid in our physical health, but their ability to help in regards to our emotional and behavioral health is overwhelming. “The Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications, Second Edition” states that there have been a number of clinical trials involving the inhalation of lavender essential oil that indicate a reduction in stress and anxiety. (2) One study using oral lavender essential oil via capsules found that heart rate variation significantly increased compared to the placebo while watching an anxiety-provoking film. (3) This suggested that lavender had anxiolytic effects.Further research demonstrates lavender’s ability to lower anxiety in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and in people visiting the dentist.

So let's explore some ways in which to use essential oils in helping to reduce the feelings of anxiety and panic in our children (and in us adults too)

1. Lavender, this probably comes as no surprise. Rub a few drops of lavender on the feet, and back of neck for some instance calming.

2. Rose (Rosa damascena), one of the benefits of rose essential oil is it’s very settling to the emotional heart and perhaps the second most popular after lavender for relieving anxiety

3. Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides), vetiver oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization. A nervous system tonic, it decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is also useful in panic attacks and shock. A study published in Natural Product Research examining the anxiety-like behavior in rats concluded that vetiver oil may be useful in lowering anxiety effects, though more research is needed to confirm this finding.

4. Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), this popular essential oil can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effects. Ylang ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia.

These are just a few, a magical blend of Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Frankincense may have you and your little in a place of peace and calm within just a few moments.

As with all things, check with your health care provider before introducing new things into your child's diet, if you choose go the root of using essential oils internally. Also, before putting any oils on your skin or in your mouth make sure they are 100% Certified Therapy Grade oils and that they are safe for ingesting. Finally because the littles may have sensitive skin, do a skin test first (place a small amount of the oil on the skin and watch for any irritation), or simply dilute with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil.

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