Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC
Have you noticed how wonderful you feel after walking through the forest after a rainshower? Or smelling the fragrance of freshly cut grass, or walking past a May Day tree in full bloom? That is because the plants and trees are releasing their fragrant essential oils, and as they are inhaled they are assimilated into our bodies, creating medicinal effects.
Scientific studies have determined that the fragrance of lavender not only helps calm and relax people and animals. Our ancestors knew this- hence the use of lavender pillow sprays and the act of placing sprigs of lavender underneath one’s pillow to promote relaxed sleep. In addition, lavender essential oil, if inhaled, it also promotes retention of knowledge. Chamomile is similar in its ability to enable relaxation if smelled, and calms digestion if taken orally.
More research is being produced every year supporting the benefits of essential oil therapy. It is wonderful to know that the plants and trees we share our planet with are so beneficial to our health.
Pets also benefit from the use of essential oil therapy. One of the most potent and efficient treatments is called the Raindrop Technique, often used and promoted by Young Living (www.youngliving.com). This is a treatment of at least seven different essential oils, applied one at a time in dogs or as a mixture of several at a time in cats. In cats the oils are heavily diluted because cats are very sensitive to essential oils and receive just as much benefit with the oils diluted, and much less chance of sensitivity reactions than if they are given non-diluted, otherwise known as “neat”. The base oils include Oregano,Thyme, Basil, Cypress, Wintergreen, Marjoram, and Peppermint. The combination of these oils work synergistically to enhance each other’s benefits including antibacterial, cleansing, calming, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, and detoxifying. Oils that are added in addition to the seven base oils include the blend “Valor” by Young Living which contains blue tansy, frankincense, spruce, rosewood and almond oil. Aptly named, this formula gives the patient strength and overall energy balance. Copaiba is also added, which is a balancing and amplifying oil, as well as an oil that decreases inflammation, so it is excellent to add to patients with itchy skin, ears or arthritis issues. Peppermint is usually added last, because it is a driving oil–one that helps to drive the other oils into the body to amplify the effects. It is very cooling, so sometimes I do not use it if the weather is very cold.
Raindrop treatment lasts about 1 week on the body- the fragrances can be smelled for a whole week or sometimes longer. The beneficial effects often last longer.
In the cooler weather, I often use warming oils such as cinnamon, frankincense, orange, and clove. This is interesting, because often our ancestors would impale oranges with many whole cloves to scent the room. According to TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) orange has warming energetic, so it is excellent to use in cold or cool climates and on patients who are cold. Clove is a very potent antioxidant and disinfectant, often even used in dentistry to disinfect and numb dental pain. Also being a excellent antibacterial compounds, our ancestors who used clove-impaled oranges in their homes most likely had more resistance to bacterial infections.
Other essential oils I often use are peppermint, especially in the hot summer months, to help cool an animal- it is like giving instant air conditioning to a pet. I often recommend adding lavender andchamomile and rose oils onto a cotton ball so that they can be placed in avehicle’s air conditioning vents or a pet’s kennel to help calm them during car trips. They can also be applied to the pet to help calm them during thunder and lightning storms. Another excellent choice for calming pets during stressful events is called “Peace and Calming” by Young living and it has a combination of blue tansy, tangerine, ylang ylang, patchouli, andorange. It smells fantastic!
Helichrysum is also one of my favorites- it promotes healing of inflamed organs such as skin and bone.
Overall, pets love the application of their essential oils, especially because it involvesmassage. Some pets even want to taste the oils. The oils I use are edible, and it often seems as if their body knows it needs them. ]One blend that is especially enjoyed by my patients is “Peace and Calming”. I incorporate it into many of my patient’s exams.
The oils do not have to be used only topically or orally- they can be diffused in the home using an essential oil burner- that way, multiple pets and people are also treated at the same time.
In combination with acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, and of course Western Medicine, treatments with essential oils benefit many patients and most are very excited to receive them as I am to give them. For more information, contact us at 403-278-1984 or [email protected]