Aromatherapy can be a wonderful addition to your repertoire of healing modalities for your family. Even small babies can enjoy the therapeutic effects of essential oils. Great caution must be taken though, as these oils are extremely concentrated and must be very diluted before use.
As always, make sure you are using only pure, natural essential oils, as fragrance oils or other synthetic oils have no healing properties. Use only half the amount of essential oils when dealing with children that you would use for an adult. For babies up to two years old a 1% dilution is recommended (5 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil). After two years a 2% dilution may be used (10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil).
It is not recommended to use essential oils on babies younger than 3 months old. They are still developing in many ways and are adjusting to life outside the womb. Essential oils are too strong in most instances to use at this stage. After three months of age the most suitable oils to use on a daily basis are chamomile and lavender. As the child grows older, there are more oils that become appropriate for use. The table below includes essential oils that are commonly accepted for use with babies and children.
|Oils safe for babies||Oils safe for children
over 2 years
There are several methods of application you may employ with children. One of the most therapeutic and enjoyable for both parent and child is massage. Studies have shown that babies who are massaged regularly are more relaxed, eat and sleep better, and have less colic and constipation. One of the best reasons to massage your baby though, is that it promotes bonding between parent and child, and a baby who is bonded is going to adjust to new situations and life in general, much more easily.
You don’t have to be a massage therapist to massage your child. Babies crave skin to skin contact and will respond to your touch as long as it is gentle and relaxed. Just make sure your baby is in a good mood when you try massage for the first time and if s/he starts to fuss or seems upset, stop and try again later.
Other methods of application that are suitable for use with children are room diffusion and applying a few drops of essential oil to a tissue or handkerchief and waving it several inches in front of the child’s nose, so it can be inhaled.
Listed below are some of the benefits and therapeutic effects of the essential oils recommended for use with babies and children.
|Chamomile||Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Helpful For teething pain, infantile colic and calming overly tired children|
|Eucalyptus||Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion, helps cool the body during fevers and helps relieves itching of chicken pox.|
|Geranium||Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting.|
|Ginger||Antiseptic, Digestive aid. Helpful for nausea and diarrhea|
|Lavender||Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, Relaxing. Useful for infantile colic and helps treat thrush|
|Lemon||Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, Tonic. First aid remedy for insect bites|
|Lemon Eucalyptus||Antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, calming and soothing. Useful for cradle cap.|
|Mandarin||Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant.|
|Neroli||Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory,Relaxing.|
|Peppermint||Analgesic, antiseptic, cooling, decongestant, digestive aid and sedative. Useful for fever, colds and nausea.|
|Rose||Antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, sedative, soothing. Useful for soothing dry, irritated skin.|
|Rosemary||Antiseptic, analgesic and decongestant.|
|Clary Sage||Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic and relaxant.|
|Sweet Orange||Anti-anxiety, antidepressant, digestive aid, calming, nerve sedative.|
|Tangerine||Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative and stomachic. Useful for upset stomache and creating a calming, uplifting atmosphere.|
|Tea Tree||Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Treats thrush and is useful for cuts, scrapes, burns and deep wound cleaning.|