When I was a child, I spent a great deal of time lost in my head. I really couldn’t come out very well and my grades suffered. So did my learning. I discovered that I really am an introvert and that my head is a good place to live. However, as we all know, life is lived both in our thoughts and around our bodies. Obviously, I am ADD.
Then I gave birth to two sons, both of which spend a lot of time in their heads and well, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. They are both ADHD, so we know all about attention and focus. Healing your gut and changing your diet, or your child’s diet can help. However, sometimes, we need an outside solution to help attention and focus.
Some scientists say aromatherapy is the answer.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, biologically speaking, the smell receptors in your nose trigger the amygdala and hippocampus parts of your brain, which hold the memories and emotions of our lives.
So if you breathe in smog or smoke, or even smell something putrid, you retract from the smell. While memorable, it is not something that we are drawn to. So, when you smell fragrant oils or plants that smell wonderful, it creates a desire to smell more, you want to smell the fragrance!
The point is that your nose takes in increased oxygen and scent, because it wants more of that smell, which of course triggers your brain’s reaction. Of course, the trick here is to choose a scent that you know your child will like, or a combination thereof, is key to this idea. This is particularly important when working with special needs children.
When you smell the odor of something that triggers the right response to focus you, then aromatherapy does make sense.
According to one study:
Published in the American Medical Association Journal, Dr. Terry Friedman, M.D. Children from age 6-12, who inhaled the essential oils of lavender, cedarwood and vetiver, 3 times a day for 30 days, increased their academic performance and attention. The following results were found: lavender showed little improvement, cedarwood increased performance by 32% and vetiver increased performance by 32%. With vetiver being the best and most reliable essential oil used.
This is definitely enlightening information, which supports the use of essential oils in children. Yet, there are also some other essential oils to add to that list that are known to be “energizing” oils, which are also generally known to improve attention and focus. Plus, we don’t have to put them on our children’s skin or take them internally, but all we have to do is get them to inhale it.
If your child is resistant to inhaling oils directly, running a diffuser in the room he or she is learning in, can still serve your purpose. Finding the right combination of oils that work for your family will bring relief.
Try these essential oils to improve clarity.
An antibacterial, antibiotic, antiseptic and disinfectant
Other benefits: Can be used as a stress reliever and mood lifter
A stimulant, antidepressant, sedative
Other benefits: Addresses digestive problems, relieves stress and enhances mood.
A water purifier, detoxifier
Other benefits: Reduces hypertension, stomach ache, distress, and helps the lymphatic system.
Other benefits: Boots the immune system and the lymphatic system, known to be one of the best oils to battle depression, also known to be a natural laxative
An Analgesic, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory
Other benefits: Reduces pains, stomach aches and ear aches, as well as relief from respiratory distress
An antioxidant, antispasmodic, and stimulant
Other benefits: Great for respiratory distress, migraine headaches, relieving muscle pains, and hypo-tension
An anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic, stimulant
Other benefits: Helping with digestion, headaches, skin irritations, and sinus congestion
A stimulant and expectorant
Other benefits: Relieves gastric upset, and good for relieving congestion
An antibacterial and antiviral
Other benefits: Used to alleviate allergy symptoms and asthma, relieves stress
An antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, antispasmodic
Other benefits: Good for upper respiratory problems, treats all sorts of skin disorders, pain reliever and helps wound care
Obviously, not all of these will work for everyone.
While aromatherapy may work well with some children, it may not work well with those who have a sensory issue with smells. Finding the scent (or combination of scents) that works well with your child may also help you find the answer to help in attention and focus issues with your children.
My special needs son crossed into the essential oil zone by watching me use my own oils, and then defusing the ones he wasn’t offensive to (Believe m, he was offensive to many of my oils at first). I would even leave them on the shelf in my office and my son will occasionally pick a bottle up and sniff it. After a few weeks, he chose his own oils and I work around his sensitivities.
However, if the idea of “smelly” oils is so unappealing to your child, then it may work better to find another alternative to help him or her focus. Use your own oils and he or she will try the ones they like.
Have you tried aromatherapy in your family? What oils have you used for attention and focus?