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Aromatherapy 101 – the best essential oils for babies and children

Nowadays, more and more parents are choosing the natural way to care for their children’s health. Aromatherapy is one natural route that can be used in promoting a baby’s and child’s happiness, health and wellbeing, including treating colic, allergies, asthma and even ADD/ADHD.

There are simple ways to use essential oils very effectively in a daily life; they can reduce the symptoms of illnesses and help ensure that you don’t catch the flu even when everyone else is coming down with it! What’s more, aromatherapy is not a luxury; in fact, it is an inexpensive way to maintain health and to treat many illnesses naturally. Essential oils can strengthen the response of your immune system and are immediately effective against viruses, a combination that explains the dynamic effectiveness of essential oils against viral illnesses.

Research has shown that some essential oils are effective against pathogenic bacteria. By using them instead of antibiotics, we can avoid some of the negative side effects caused by taking the latter – a crucial step to better health, as it leads to a significantly improved immune response.

Essential oils can be experienced through all five senses to give babies and children physical and emotional benefits. They can be applied topically through the skin, through inhalation, or be used in a bath, a compress, or diluted in carrier oils.

Here’s my guide to some of the best essential oils for having on hand at home:

  • Lavender can be used for burns
  • Tea tree is a strong disinfectant and can kill bacteria and fungi
  • Peppermint can be used for insect bites and helps with digestive issues
  • Chamomile offers a wide spectrum of benefits, such as calming the nerves, but can also treat various skin issues (such as sunburn or eczema), the respiratory system (including asthma) and sprains and strains
  • Eucalyptus helps with colds, flu and coughs
  • Geranium is uplifting but also helps with herpes and is a skin rejuvenator
  • Rosemary unblocks physical and mental congestions but also promotes concentration and helps in the case of headaches, coughs and flu
  • Lemon can be used as a natural cleaner, to get rid of pesticides, but can also help digestion and slimming
  • Ginger works very well for muscle or back pain and cramps
  • Ylang Ylang is very beneficial in balancing and calming, but also works as an aphrodisiac (wink wink)
  • Helichrysum is my favourite wonder cure. It works great for bruising, swelling and inflammation even on twisted ankles. It is a scar healer and an anti-ageing

Aromatherapy can be of great benefit for both babies and children if used correctly, effectively and safely.  It can be very useful in a lot of different situations, but remember to follow these guidelines for using essential oils safely on babies:

  • Babies less than three months old should only use essential oils for specific conditions; the oils should be custom-made by a qualified aromatherapist
  • Never apply essential oils directly on a baby’s skin; always use a carrier
  • Only ‘gentle’ essential oils should be introduced at such a young age
  • Massage is one of the most common uses of aromatherapy with baby, as it involves touch and communication between yourself and baby
  • Always seek the experience of a qualified aromatherapist before trying any essential oils you are not familiar with and ask for guidance in the best way to use them

Some of my favourite essential oils for use with babies are Clove Bud blended together with Hypericum and Roman Chamomile, which is good for teething. For bath time, Roman Chamomile, Rose and Lavender can help calm your baby and get them relaxed for a good night’s sleep.

In addition to applying lotions and oils, aromatherapy can be introduced through inhalation.  Studies have shown that using essential oil aromas with children can help with anxiety and hyperactivity management. Some good options are Atlas Cedarwood, Grapefruit, Lemon & Mandarin, Rose Otto, Sandalwood and Sweet Orange.

So I hope you’ll think about giving essential oils a try!

Ling-Yee Liu is an internationally certified holistic aromatherapist APDHA; she also has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Buddhist Studies. She offers a range of custom-made oil blends for babies, children, pregnancy and other emotional & physical ailments; her products can be found in clinics and maternity shops throughout Hong Kong.

For further information regarding Ling’s products and workshops, please visit www.ly-aromatherapy.com or email [email protected].

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