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Essential Oil Use During Acupuncture

Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

I use essential oil therapy with almost every patient who receives acupuncture and chiropractic.
It not only helps relax the patient, but it helps prepare myself and my team (and my client, in
non-Covid times) who are in the room with the patient during acupuncture.

Aromatherapy (essential oil therapy) is very helpful in linking the emotional, spiritual, and
mental aspects of acupuncture to the physical needling.
Essential oils can also provide physical treatment as many of you have noticed that when
certain essential oils are applied, they can provide cooling, soothing, or heating effects? Often
during the hot summer months, application of peppermint oil is as powerful as air conditioning.
I have even seen it reduce fevers in pets. They can also improve circulation to an affected area,
moisturize dry skin, disinfect bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The physical aspect is
obvious, but there is also a mental/emotional aspect to their benefits, including triggering the
limbic system, and providing a sense of calm in an anxious animal, or energization in a weak
It is important to note that I dilute the essential oils for use on dogs and cats. The dilution is 1
drop of pure essential oil added to 10 drops of a diluter oil, such as V6 from Young Living, or
plain virgin olive oil or liquid coconut oil or sweet almond oil. I like V6 because it is a
combination of six vegetable-based oils, therefore there is less possibility of reactions to the oils
as each of the diluter oil is in a lower volume. Another way to perform the dilution is 1mL of
pure essential oil to 10mL of diluter oil. The fragrance is still very recognizable, but less potent
than the original undiluted oil. The oils are stored in brown glass dropper bottles and I never
touch the pipette to the animal which improves cleanliness.
A little goes a long way. I only apply about 5 to 7 drops for large dogs, 5 drops for medium
dogs, and about 3 drops for small dogs, and only about 3 drops for cats. Pets have amazing
olfactory innervation. In fact, their sense of smell is often effectively with them throughout
their whole lives, unlike their sense of hearing and vision.
The type of oils chosen depends on the patient needs and TCVM diagnosis. Each essential oil
has different and unique properties. I highly recommend taking training using essential oil
therapy to help you decide what oils to use for each patient. I have taken courses by Dr Melissa
Shelton, and also CIVT and VBMA courses. Check their websites and you will find courses that
you can download for a fee. I also love reading about essential oils. Dr Melissa Shelton has
wonderful texts and articles on it.

Some people are nervous about possible side effects of essential oils. However, these side
effects are often myths propagated by online exaggerations.
This is an excellent article by Dr Melissa Shelton discussing safety of essential oils for cats:
The only time I do not use essential oil therapy is if a client asks me not to. Some people plainly
do not like the smell of essential oils. Thus, we always ask new clients if they are okay with
their pet receiving essential oils. We even ask new clients to sign a Complimentary Medicine
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Ciara Handley

Author Ciara Handley

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