After my child was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last fall, we began looking into both conventional and unconventional therapies that might help relieve some of his symptoms. We know that autism is not curable and is a lifelong condition; however, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to give our son the best quality of life possible.
Essential oils are one alternative therapy option that we have felt very comfortable introducing into our home and using around our children. I first learned about this exciting alternative therapy from a friend who has a child on the spectrum and swears by her essential oils kit for behavioral help and stress reduction. Apparently, she’s not the only one reporting positive experiences because Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is conducting research to examine the use of essential oils to improve the quality of life of children with ASD. After a few weeks of doing my own research on this subject, I decided it was worth a try and purchased our first set of essential oils.
Before starting out on your essential oils journey, it’s really important that you understand the safe use for every single oil you bring into your home. Always keep your essential oils collection out of the reach of children. Ingesting the wrong oil could be fatal. Some oils are safe for use around children and other are not and it’s important that you know the difference.
Definitely do your own research and always defer to your doctor if you have questions. I have also provided some interesting links below to start you on that path. Please don’t use this blog post as your only resource and please read my disclaimer at the bottom of this article.
Be sure to also check out my Essential Oils For Autism Pinterest board.
How People Use Essential Oils
There are several ways people use essential oils. Most people diffuse them or create blends using carrier oils which can be rubbed on the skin. Some people feel comfortable taking essential oils internally; however, I am NOT one of those people. I don’t feel like the essential oils industry is regulated well enough and you never know if someone has added a toxic dilutant or chemical to the oil. I just don’t think it’s worth putting your body at risk.
Choosing an Essential Oils Shop
I did a lot of research trying to figure out which shops make the best essential oils and, honestly, never truly got an answer to that question. What I did find were a lot of opinions that weren’t backed up by data. I also found that a lot of the folks writing articles about essential oils were receiving commission from the company they chose to endorse or were selling on behalf of the MLMs.
However, I did find that there is a certain philosophy you should employ when choosing an essential oils shop as your supplier. This philosophy actually reminds me a lot of the philosophy used by the “buy local” movement.
Smaller shops tend to be a better choice because you can cultivate a strong personal relationship with the shop owner and ask them lots and lots of questions about their products and how they produce a given oil.
When it comes to essential oils you definitely get what you pay for. Cheaper isn’t always better and in some cases it can actually be dangerous. I tried out a few of the cheaper essential oil brands listed online and ended up throwing some of them out. Several of the cheap products smelled like chemicals and were most likely adulterated with petroleum products. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Buying Organic is kind of a big deal with essential oils, especially citrus oils because of how they are produced. Most citrus essential oils are made from the rind of the fruit, so if it’s been sprayed with pesticides it’s going to get into your oil. It’s definitely worth it to buy organic essential oils so you don’t have to worry about inadvertently exposing your kids to pesticides.
Essential Oils for Autism
There are several essential oils that can be used for issues commonly experienced by kids on the autism spectrum. This can include meltdowns/sensory overload, depression, anxiety, ADHD-like symptoms, sleep disruption, and difficulty with transitions. This is not meant to be a definitive list and not every oil will work for every person.
Vetiver – Vetiver is probably the most commonly mentioned essential oil for autism and is thought to have a strong grounding and balancing effect. Definitely worth a try.
Bergamot – Bergamot has actually been an unexpected favorite in our house. This essential oil is special because it’s thought to fight off feelings of depression and produce feelings of joy. Bergamot can cause skin irritation and photosensitivity, so it’s important to be careful when using this essential oil. I actually purchased the FCF version of this oil because it has been heated up to remove the irritating chemical. It is also safer for use in skincare products/oils.
Sweet Orange – This is my personal favorite. I love the vibrant smell and find it to be a natural antidepressant. Use this essential oil with caution as it can also cause photosensitivity.
Cedarwood – Cedarwood is another oil recommended for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. It is thought to dispel fear and have a calming effect on people.
Lavender – I think lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for beginners and people tend to like its fresh and relaxing smell. I spent a little extra money on my lavender oil and sprung for the version that was made from wild harvested lavender. It smells soooo amazing!
Essential Oil Blends – Many shops will offer their own special blends that are meant to calm, relax, soothe, or help with focus. Be sure to check out the blends at your chosen shop.
Best of luck in your essential oils journey!
Essential Oils for Autism on Pinterest
Other great articles to check out on the subject…
Essential Oils for Autism on YouTube
DISCLAIMER – The information found in this article is meant to be used to informational purposes only and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any medical condition. If you are pregnant or nursing, diagnosed with any medical conditions, or are taking medications, please consult with your doctor before trying out essential oils. Always defer to your physician before incorporating essential oils into your daily rhythm and make your own health decisions based upon your own work and research.