Since the ancient days of the Egyptians, several natural medicines have been in use to treat diseases and disorders. One of the natural medicines that is still in popular usage is the numerous varieties of essential oils. Apart from other usages in soaps, shampoos, fragrance diffusers, and other similar necessities, essential oils can be of great help in the treatment of Autism. Having said that, it should be noted that essential oils can only be used as additional treatment strategies and techniques used for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder like child counseling, Occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, special education, etc. So, it is advised to use aromatherapy only as an added treatment strategy in addition to other therapies for encouraging the holistic development of the child.
What are essential oils?
To begin with, essential oils are extracted from different parts of a plant like the rinds, bark, leaves, roots, blossoms, herbs, flowers, stem, etc. The concentrated oil can be consumed in different forms such as oral consumption, rubbing it over the skin, or spraying it on to bedding or clothing through which, it can be sniffed. However, it is important to note that not all types of essential oils can be consumed in the same way. For instance, one type of oil may be suitable for oral consumption but another one may be deadly to ingest orally. So, consider the type of essential oil before using it.
How essential oil can help in Autism treatment?
As an alternative resort, essential oils are popularly used for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as for Attention deficit disorder treatment. Although there exists only limited published research on the products that can specifically yield desired results in the case of ASD, ADD, etc, experts, parents, and caregivers have witnessed positive results on using essential oil therapy for their child diagnosed with the disorder.
In 2001, a research study was published by Dr Terry Freidman that consisted of children diagnosed with ADHD that were provided with essential oil to help treat the symptoms. In this research, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver oil were used on 18 kids separately, 3 times a day for 1 month. It was conducted to improve their focus, and attention quality and span.
The research concluded that among these, Vetiver oil showed the best outcomes.
Also, for children with Autism, it has been seen that using essential oils makes it easier to fall asleep, tolerate transition period from one activity or place to another, remain calm and attentive, which further helps improve socialising skills, that may be found absent in a child diagnosed with Autism.
Essential oils through their scent trigger a physical or emotional reaction or both. Commonly witnessed reactions or results of essential oils are-
- Smelling essential oil can help become a person feel more relaxed
- Essential oil helps to focus better on the set task
- Inhaling a specific type of oil can make one feel charged up or energized.
To sum up, essential oils can be effectively used as an added treatment therapy to help deal with common symptoms of Autism and ADD.
Best essential oil for treatment of Autism include-
- Lavender oil- This essential oil is widely known as an antioxidant, and helps induce calmness and quality sleep, by reducing emotional stress, anxiety, etc.
- Vetiver Oil- Another name of this essential oil is “oil of tranquility” which when combined with another highly effective oil- lavender EO encourages a healthy emotional balance. It is known to improve concentration and help deal with impatience.
- Chamomile oil- Chamomile oil has calming and relaxing properties and can also be taken in the form of a tea. Also, it has pain-reducing effects and helps deal with indigestion, congestion, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
- Eucalyptus oil- It is a popular oil used for relieving mental exhaustion, blood flow stimulation, etc. It is safe to use Eucalyptus oil only on children who are 6+ years old.
- Rosemary oil- It helps in improving accuracy and speed as witnessed during cognitive screening.
- Lemon oil- Lemon oil induces a good mood, thus reducing the probability of having an emotional outburst.
Other than these, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Bergamot, Frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood, mandarin, peppermint oil, etc are some proven oils to treat some of the common symptoms of Autism and ADHD. However, it is advised to only consume oil after consulting a clinical psychologist. Also, one should consult an Autism centre for treatment that involves a holistic approach to help the child live life to the fullest of their ability.
Also, essential oil can affect one differently than compared to other people. For instance, Frankincense, a type of essential oil extracted from gum-like material may make an individual feel calm and relaxed. While on the other hand, someone else may feel nauseous or agitated on using it.