Hello everyone! Today, as you can tell from the title, I will be writing about essential oils and autism.
I usually start off these types of articles by defining what Autism is, so that is what I will do first:
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a behavioral disorder that can affect how a person behaves in social situations.
Those on the spectrum can also suffer from sensory issues and display intense interests on one ‘special’ interest rather than on a broader range of hobbies. They can also have trouble maintaining eye contact, and are highly sensitive – emotionally as well as physically.
They can also experience other symptoms that ‘hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work, and other areas of life’.
ASD is said to effect 1 in 68 Americans.
Today, there is no known cause for Autism, however studies have suggested it is a mix of many factors that could be genetic, maternal vaccinations, Gastrointestinal issues, or exposure to certain chemicals from a young age.
As an adult with ASD, I personally believe it is heavily linked to the gut, which I have talked about in many of my other articles.
However, one of things I have been using over the years to deal with my autism symptoms is essential oils and I strongly believe they can have a huge role in helping those who also have ASD to tackle everyday life more easily.
What are essential oils?
Essential oil, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is ‘a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic odor of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.’
The word ‘essential’ in essential oils is derived from the word ‘essence’ or ‘smell’.
Essential oils have been around for many years and have been heavily praised within the aromatherapy community.
(Aromatherapy, defined by the Oxford Dictionary is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes.)
A study published online in 2013 on ‘the effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, sleep, and blood pressure’ on patients in an Intensive Care Unit explains how after inhaling a blend of lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli oills, patients showed signs of significantly lower anxiety and improved sleep quality.
The 4 best types of essential oils and their uses:
Lavender Oil :
- Very good for skincare, can help with acne and blemishes; This is due to it having incredible antibacterial and anti fungal properties. *Note* – if you have sensitive skin you might want to first dilute the lavender oil in water so you do not get a skin reaction.
- It is also used as a muscle relaxant and can have physical healing benefits.
- Its aroma can help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Helps with insomnia.
- Helps with depression.
- Helps alleviate symptoms of premenstrual tension.
- Helps with migraines and headaches.
- It is used for its antioxidant properties.
- Prevents nausea.
- helps if you have diarrhoea.
- Relieves stress and anxiety.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- antibacterial and anti fungal properties – has been shown to reduce gum disease.
- Good for skin care – a natural toner which smoothes skin and reduces wrinkles.
- very good for helping with digestive issues.
- boosts immune system.
- has anti-inflammatory properties.
- helps combat migraines and headaches.
- antibacterial and anti fungal properties which again could be used on the skin for reducing blemishes. (dilute it first).
- One study shows how peppermint oil has properties which can fight against life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, toxic shock syndrome, and sepsis.
Pretty good for a ‘perfume’ don’t you think?
How might this benefit people with autism?
Unfortunately, not enough research has been done on whether essential oils can have a big impact on the behavioral issues of ASD sufferers.
However, having done my own research and combining it with the research done by others there are plenty of theories out there on the potential benefit essential oils can have.
For example; any person suffering from the symptoms of autism can tell you that every day is filled with anxiety. The good news is there have been studies already done (like the studies I have mentioned earlier in this article) and have proved that essential oils can reduce stress and anxiety.
There has been another study done in 2012 that proves the aroma of essential oils (rosemary oil in this case) can have a profound effect on the central nervous system and our ‘fight or flight mode’ in our bodies.
The study also shows how it enhanced the individuals’ cognitive performance and mood.
Essential oils can also help treat depression and give mental clarity.
Essential oils like peppermint oils, have also shown to improve gut health. (taken in the form of oil capsules).
Another essential oil, I have not mentioned previously, is ginger – which also has digestive health benefits, prevents bloating, has antioxidant properties and can boost the immune system.
As I have mentioned before in my other articles, by targeting issues with the gut, you CAN bring about positive effects regarding behavioral issues which most people believe is solely to do with the mind.
Different methods of using essential oils…
*Note: please do not ingest essential oils as they can be toxic.*
- On your pillow: This is the method I mostly use. I place a few drops (don’t overdo it as most oils have a very strong smell..especially for those on the spectrum as we are gifted with a very good sense of smell) onto some tissue paper and place it underneath the pillowcase of my pillow. My favorite oil to use before bed is lavender to help me sleep better.
- On chest: Again, squirt a few drops onto some tissue paper and place it inside t shirt on chest. This can be especially useful during the day if you feel an anxiety attack coming on.
- Using a diffuser: Place essential oils within a diffuser and it will disperse them into the air of the room you’re in – you can place them in your office or bedroom.
- Bath: There is no better therapy than having a bath after a long day – especially if you apply some Lavender and Chamomile along with bath salts which can detoxify and relax the body and mind.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that you found some it of some benefit… if you have anything you would like to add, or ask please don’t be hesitate to make a comment down below.
I would love to know your thoughts! 🙂
Thanks for reading!