Essential oils have been used by people since ancient times to aid healing. The great news? People and children with autism can benefit from them, too.
When it comes to essential oils, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is aromatherapy and massage.
Right now, essential oils are gaining even more popularity because of their many benefits. It’s an added bonus that they’re also perfect for kids and people on the autism spectrum.
So how do essential oils work? And which ones are best fit for children with autism?
Essential oils for autism – and the science behind it
Amazingly, essential oils are one of the best ways to naturally treat ASD. It’s even known to help with ADHD.
Thing is, there’s a science behind it that explains why and how.
In his study of essential oils for ADHD and autism, Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, MD, shared how essential oils help the brain.
“When the essential oil is inhaled, the micro droplets are carried to the limbic system of the brain, which is that portion that is the processing center for reason, emotion and smell, and to the hypothalamus, which is the hormone command center. The essential micro droplets are also carried to the lungs where they enter the circulatory system.”
Jill Hollway, a research scientist at the Nisonger Center of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center also reported anecdotes of parents seeing “improvements in quality of life” and smoother transitions from one activity to another – a common difficulty among children and people with autism.
More studies points out the many benefits of aromatherapy using essential oils to people with autism including:
- Sleep issues
- Attention deficiency or hyperactivity
- Sensory overload
Check it out: How to Live a Healthier Life with Autism
Top 5 essential oils for autism spectrum disorder
Overwhelmingly, you can find a lot of essential oils in the market. How much, you ask? A whopping 600 different varieties.
Twenty varieties can be considered a lot. But 600? Going through each one would take you months – or even years – to decide on its benefits.
With that in mind, we collected our top 5 picks for you and your family member in the autism spectrum disorder.
The vetiver plant, also known as perennial grass, is native to India. It’s a popular plant known for its antiseptip properties. It also has antispasmodic properties which is beneficial in providing inflammation relief and quick wound and scar healing.
As an essential oil for autism, Vetiver is both relaxing and calming which is ideal to combat ASD symptoms like impatience and difficulty in concentration.
Here’s how you can use vetiver essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of vetiver oil to improve focus.
- Add a few drops of vetiver oil into a bathtub for better relaxation.
- Take one drop of vetiver oil, rub it in your palm and breathe in its scent to lessen anxiety and tension.
As an essential oil, sandalwood’s woodsy yet sweet smell promotes mental clarity. Like Vetiver oil, it’ll help relax and calm your child with ASD especially when used with a diffuser.
Aside from these benefits, sandalwood is also known to help with weight loss, reduce anxieties, improve attention level, improve oxygen levels and blood circulation, and relieve inflammations.
Here’s how you can use sandalwood essential oil for autism:
- Take a few drops of sandalwood and massage it on your back and shoulders to relax and ease tension.
- Calm your mind, focus better, lift your mood and lower stress levels by diffusing sandalwood essential oil.
Compared to other essential oils, lavender is very popular because of its many medicinal properties. Since ancient times, lavender oil has been used for bathing and cooking.
People with autism can greatly benefit with using a lavender oil because it helps fight emotional stress, reduce anxiety and also improve sleep.
Diffusing lavender essential oil also helps relieve constant headaches. It also acts as a natural antioxidant to protect against illnesses and infections.
Here’s how you can use lavender essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil to calm and relax your body as you sleep.
- Take a drop of lavender oil in your palm and inhale it to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Inhale lavender oil for 15 minutes to relieve tension headaches.
Cedarwood essential oil is another good option for people with autism.
This essential oil helps improve focus since it stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands. This is also the reason why cedarwood naturally helps the body function properly since it increases the melatonin levels.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps maintain the body’s natural clock especially sleeping and waking time. It’s the hormone responsible when you feel the need to eat (as you feel hungry) and even when you need to go and visit the toilet.
When inhaled, cedarwood essential oil also releases serotonin which is a hormone responsible to regulate mood, happiness and regulate anxiety.
Here’s how you can use cedarwood essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of cedarwood oil to relax and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Directly breathe in the scent of cedarwood oil to calm your nerves or rub a drop between your palms.
Last, but not least on our list, is chamomile.
This essential oil is not only a great choice to help you sleep. It’s also packed with disease fighting properties. More than that, chamomile is best known for its properties to combat stress and anxiety resulting to lesser meltdowns and hyperactivity and better sleep at night.
Here’s how you can use chamomile essential oil for autism:
- Sleep better by adding a drop of chamomile to a warm cup of tea before bedtime.
- Diffuse a few drops of chamomile essential oil to help your body relax and calm down.
- Moist a towel and add a drop of chamomile oil as you put it in your forehead to relieve head or neck tension
Read more: How Sleep Helps Your Special Needs Child
When it comes to essential oils, a single drop can go a long way.
But just like any other treatment for autism, you can’t consider essential oils as a cure all for ASD. More so if it involves difficult behaviors that are visible in the spectrum. It’s also important that you use essential oils with caution. Make sure that you do your research first before blending one essential oil with another for maximum benefit.
On the other hand, there are essential oil blends that you may want to consider that targets calm, relaxation, energy, or even allergies that best fit your child’s needs.