Essential oils have become so commonplace these days it's hard to find anyone who hasn't heard of them. Certainly individuals who participate in social media likely know multiple people who use and/or sell essential oils.
The uses of essential oils in the daily life for Americans are often many and multi-faceted. Folks have been coached to add essential oils to water and drink them. Some folks may also be adding them to baths and soaking in them. They're applying essential oils to the feet, neck, back, and assorted other body parts with or without being diluted. There are also thousands of people who diffuse essential oils every day, throughout the day. These practices indicate a clear need to continue to educate on safe uses of essential oils.
The beginning of the school year is a peak time of year for people to get started using essential oils. Many essential oil networking companies run big promotions centered around the use of essential oils in the classroom. There is talk about the spread of germs and the support of concentration through the use of essential oils. Parents who want to use aromatherapy to support their students need to learn as much as they can and work with qualified professionals.
It's very common to hear the words "natural" and "safe" when people are being introduced to essential oils. Sadly neither of those terms is 100% absolute. For starters "natural" is not a legally defined term in the market place. Additionally there are a multitude of things that are natural that are not safe; some of them may be growing in your yard. (i.e. foxglove, belladonna, and others)
Did you know that the heart medication Digitalis is linked to the foxglove plant? There are many pharmaceutical medications that are derived from plant constituents. Digitalis is used for congestive heart failure. It's natural and for folks with congestive heart failure it can even be beneficial but only after it's been properly prepared for treating congestive heart failure. I would strongly advise against any use of any part of the foxglove plant for the purpose of trying a do it yourself treatment with foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). It's incredibly toxic and dangerous.
Many if not most essential oils fall in the same category. Natural doesn't equal risk free. The components of essential oils can trigger seizures, aggravate asthma, and interfere with blood pressure medications just to name a few potential issues. Even good old lavender isn't a simple fix that it's touted to be. Lavender is the most misrepresented, adulterated, and mislabeled oil I've found on the market. While Lavendula angustifolia is unlikely to cause a reaction for most people, I have found it to have a paradox effect on my clients who have experienced trauma. Lavendula latifolia is a risk for some individuals because of the camphor constituent.
Aromatherapy is a powerful holistic tool. It should be used with knowledge of the science; the health history of those affected by it, and the respect to recognize the potential for good equals the potential for harm. I can personally attest to this having experienced an essential oil induced seizure three years ago when I was using essential oils in ignorance.
All that to say there are effective and safe aromatic ways to support your student without putting other students or staff at risk, or making your student a social pariah due to scent. Aromatherapy is a wonderful support for the mental and emotional wellness of a student who struggles with peer interactions. Aromatherapy is also helpful to support the immune system, however the immune system will not respond to essential oils in times of illness if it has been bombarded with essential oils unnecessarily. Essential oils are not like vitamins. If you don't have a specific need that aromatherapy can support you should not be utilizing essential oils. Please save the immune supporting oils for when your child tells you their teacher or friend was out sick that day.
I have several student clients of all ages who successfully use aromatherapy in and for school. The methodology of use is different for each of them. What works for my teen clients is not appropriate for my preschool or elementary aged clients.
I have clients who cannot function to get out of the door for school without the use of their customized aromatherapy blend to support their emotional well being. I have clients who use their customized blend to help them stay on track and focus throughout the day. I have clients who use their customized protocol to support their limbic system allowing them to be emotionally stable to not only support their ability to learn but also help them develop friendships with their peers.
There are many factors to consider when you want to use essential oils in any form or fashion on school grounds. Most school districts have policies about students keeping any form of medication on their person. Aromatherapy products are viewed as medication and sending your child to school without proper forms completed can lead to a big mess. It's imperative to know and respect your student's school district policy on the use of essential oils on campus. Most will require a medication on site form to be completed by a licensed health professional.
When I'm working with clients who wish to use aromatherapy on school grounds I prepare documentation the parent can share with the school nurse and/or their primary care provider to obtain the necessary authorizations. I'm also available to consult with client’s primary care providers and/or school nurses with the proper release forms completed.
© 2017 Cynthia Tamlyn-CCA
DISCLAIMER THIS BLOG IS FOR INFORMATIONAL & EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN DOES NOT CONSTITUTE, PREEMPT, OR SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE NOR IS IT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, CURE, TREAT, OR PREVENT DISEASE OR HEALTH ISSUES.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE USING OR APPLYING ANY OF THE SUGGESTIONS CONTAINED ON THIS BLOG.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.