Essential oils are an effective and gentle answer to many of today’s common health problems and can often bring relief where allopathic medicines hold no answer. Chronic skin conditions, allergies, arthritis, Cushing’s syndrome, stress-related conditions, and behavioral problems are just a few of the conditions that respond to essential oils.
How do essential oils work?
Essential oils are distilled from various plants and have many functions within those plants. Some attract insects for pollination, some repel them, and certain ones even protect the plant from bacterial infection and help close up wounds. It’s not much of a stretch to see how these properties can be used in the same way for humans or animals. Because of the volatile nature of the oils, their molecules evaporate into the air as soon as the lid comes off the bottle. When we or animals smell them, their chemical constituents are absorbed via the olfactory system, into the limbic system of the brain. This is where emotions, memory, and certain regulatory functions of the body are situated.
Once inhaled, the oils will then trigger neurotransmitters that can address pain, promote sedation, stimulation, or calmness, and help restore balance to the body. It is widely accepted these days that our emotional state influences our physical state; stress suppresses the immune system and laughter supports healing. Essential oils support simultaneously on the emotional and physical level. Oils that calm angry inflammations of the skin, for instance, can also calm ‘temper tantrums’. So as a physical condition clears, the animal’s disposition changes too. When working with companion animals specifics must be followed.
All companion animals will respond to the oils by inhaling, licking, or turning away. Their responses are very clear and uniquely expressed by each different personality. Often animals just want to smell the oil, especially if it is an emotional problem, and they may go into a trance-like state as their brain chemistry is affected by the oils. If your horse does not want the oil they will turn their head or move away from you and it’s important you give him the space to do this.
Offer your companion animal the oil once or twice a day until they lose interest, usually within three to ten days. Sometimes animals will show great appeal for one session and then show no further interest, or alternatively be rather blasé the first time with increasing attraction as the support progresses. Once your horse shows no further interest in the oils, they are no longer needed and you should have restoration to normal function.
When properly used, Essential Oil Therapy is safe and non-intrusive; animals enjoy the oils and you’ll enjoy helping in a way in which they can fully participate in restoration to normal function. This increases the bond of trust between animal and caretaker – an outcome particularly useful when there is a history of abuse or behavioral problems. Of course, there’s another benefit as well; while you’re supporting your companion animal, you’ll promote normal function within yourself!
Cautions for Essential Oil Use:
Although essential oils are natural substances, they should be used with care as they are highly potent and can be toxic if misused. It is important that you educate yourself and/or seek qualified advice before using them on your companion animals.
Essential oils should be well diluted in cold-pressed base oil (such as grapeseed) before use with any animal. Using undiluted oils can cause serious damage to the mucous membranes.
Do not use them on yourself or your animal is pregnant.
Essential oils are not recommended for long-term use and if your animal still shows interest after two weeks, you should seek professional advice.
We highly recommend that no essential oils or essential oil blends should be used on felines (cats).
Most importantly, essential oils should never be forced on animals. The only time we have seen adverse reactions is when the choice is removed.
Although not an alternative to proper professional medical or veterinary care, essential oils are effective at treating many of today’s common health problems. Essential oils can be used to promote normal function in many chronic skin problems, such as allergies, arthritis, Cushing’s syndrome, stress-related conditions, and behavioral problems.