Just Breathe…

breathe

Living on Canada’s west coast surrounded by trees, I was more concerned about daughter’s year-round hay fever and the air quality in my home. I thought about outdoor air quality in the abstract, but never about how it directly affected me or my family. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives.

This past summer was a wake-up call.  “Summer 2017 has been B.C’s  worst wildfire season on record, & as of Sept 28, more than 100 fires are still burning.”  Many communities have been impacted, like Williams Lake, 100 Mile House & the Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek & Ashcroft. The smoke affected the air quality near the fires but it also affected air quality in different areas throughout the province.  One day this past summer, I was outside in the middle of the afternoon, everything was hazy, the air felt thick, & it was hard to breathe.

I have never thought much about breathing other than if I had a chest cold or sinus congestion. From the moment of our birth, our body’s  “autonomic nervous system” controls our breathing; we don’t even have to think about it. Adults breathe anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. If you do the math, (which I did), that adds up to 17,280 – 28,800 breaths per day (depending on your fitness and/or stress levels). While we can’t-do a lot about outdoor pollution personally (well other than voting in governments that have strong environmental protection plans, writing letters/ petitions to your MP or MLA, and recycling! Sorry that was just a little rant), we can do something about the air quality in our homes.

Things you can do:

  • Get rid of chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric refreshers, and Synthetic Room Sprays/ Plugins.
  • Avoid using Incense & candles with synthetic fragrances, or at least limit their use and get some ventilation into the room. (I am finding that these 2 things really bother me.)
  • Go more natural with your Personal Body Care Products. There are a lot of products available, but educate yourself & read the labels to find the best ones. (No one in my house is allowed to use a certain type of Body Spray because it affects my breathing.)
  • Air out your home frequently. Many manufactured items in your home will continue to off-gas to some extent. Older homes were drafty so this wasn’t as much of a problem, but newer homes are more airtight so it is important to open some windows periodically, especially during the winter months.
  • Consider getting some plants in your home. NASA calls plants part of “Nature’s Life Support System”. Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, English Ivy & Weeping Fig plants are a few to consider; they are fairly hardy & are thought to help with air quality due to the photosynthesis process.

And you can also use Aromatherapy in your home. When using essential oils, cheaper isn’t better, quality is. It is important that you find a reputable supplier that sell pure, hopefully, organic &  unadulterated oils; that your suppliers know where their oils come from & they share all the important information with you. (And if someone wants to sell you “100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils, know that this is a registered trademark of the company. There is no organization that oversees the quality of essential oils.) At a minimum you need to know:

Continue reading “Just Breathe…”

Children & Essential Oils…

First Posted February 2016

canstockphoto18111574

When I think about Valentine’s Day, I don’t automatically think of romance… I tend to think about my children, writing out their Valentine cards, & bags of Sweet Tarts… and of course, essential oils. 

Essential oils are the results of the steam distillation or in some cases, the cold expression of plant material.  Simply put, it’s what’s left after the process; small amounts of highly concentrated therapeutic goodness.  And because essential oils are so concentrated, they should:

  • always be diluted before applying topically especially on your child’s skin.
  • never be ingested.

Essential oils have different properties, different chem types, and different contraindications.There are some essential oils that you need to avoid  & some that need to be used with caution especially when making essential oil blends for children. The systems in a child’s body are not fully developed and “some of the components found in some essential oils can be too much for young systems to handle and process”.

Here are some ideas when using Essential Oils and Hydrosols with Babies and Children: 

  • For topical use, always use at a low dilution .25% – 1% depending on the age  & the health of the child; it is best to use one essential oil at a time so you can watch out for skin irritation and possible allergies.
  • If you want to add essential oils to a child’s bath, dilute them first in a carrier oil or milk and then add them to the bathwater. Otherwise, the undiluted essential oils will just float on top of the bathwater, which may irritate their sensitive skin and mucous membranes. (If your child has sensitive skin add some Lavender Hydrosol to the bath water instead.)
  • Children are sensitive to scent, so when diffusing essential oils less is definitely better. Start with 1 -5 drops depending on the age and health of the child and diffuse only when needed  (for congestion or sleep issues. And only for approx       15 – 30 minutes).
  • ***Citrus oils are wonderful and calming but some are phototoxic to varying degrees, so don’t apply them to your child’s skin if you are going out into the sun as this may cause a bad sunburn and/or possible blistering. Reactions vary and may occur up to 2 days after sun exposure. So use caution and common sense.

canstockphoto1904225For Babies 2 months up to 6 months: 

Add Lavender or Roman Chamomile Hydrosol to the bath water. Diluted, these hydrosols can also be used to soothe any diaper rashes or skin irritation.
For Babies 6 months to 1 year:

Add  1-2 drops of essential oil to 60 ml or 4 Tbsp of carrier oil. Try Lavender, Roman or German Chamomile and/or *Mandarin essential oils, diluted with Sweet Almond or Olive oil; massage the baby after their bath or before bedtime.
Add 1  drop of a calming essential oil like  Lavender, Chamomile, Mandarin, Rose or Neroli to a diffuser in the babies room at nap or bedtime.

For Babies 1 year to 2 years:

You can also add  Dill & Palmarosa to your list of oils to use. Dilute up to 2 -3 drops in 45ml of carrier oil.
Add 2 drops of Lavender & *Tangerine essential oil to your diffuser during the cold season.
Children 2 years to 5 years:

You can use *Lemon,  Geranium &  small amounts of Ginger. You can dilute  3 – 5  drops of essential oil in 45 ml of carrier oil, but I prefer to use my diffuser. (Depending on the age of the child, add 2 – 3 drops of essential oils to your ultrasonic diffuser at bedtime or during the cold season.

Children 6 years to 8 years:

For this age, you can dilute  4 – 6 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of a carrier oil. Robert Tisserand says “You can add  .05 % of Peppermint and Eucalyptus Radiata, to a blend”. (See below)
Add up to 3 – 4 drops of essential oils to your diffuser at bedtime or during the cold season.

Children 9 years to 12 years:

At this age, you can dilute 6 -8 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of carrier oil.
Add  up to 4 – 6 drops of essential oils to your diffuser at bedtime or during cold season

Children Age 13  & Over:

Can use adult dosages of essential oils. (2 % dilution for everyday use,  3 % dilution for short term use for colds, congestion or pain, depending on the health of the child)

There is new information regarding topical use & diffusing Eucalyptus & Peppermint Essential Oil with Children:

robert tisserand kids euc pep

I tend to err on the side of caution so I wouldn’t apply these oils topically, like under the nose or on the chest of children under the age of  6.
For children, ages 2 & up, oils that I prefer to use for inhalation or diffusion are White Pine (Pinus strobus)  or Wild Black Spruce (Picea mariana). They are safe to use and are a lighter scent. Most children don’t like strong smells anyway.

There is a lot of contradictory information out there, so take the time to do a bit research before using essential oils, especially topically on young children. I would also recommend that you get your information from a  reputable source or an aromatherapist. For a place to start, I like the books of Salvatore Battaglia, Robert Tisserand, Valerie Ann Worwood or Patricia Davis or online Beverley Hawkins at WCIA. You can also check my page Essential Oil Safety on this website.

My Blog is for information only & is not meant to diagnose or replace medical advice.Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

***If you are using a candle diffuser, never leave it unattended

References:

  • Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition,  The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
  • Caddy, Rosemary, Aromatherapy, The Essential Blending Guide, Amberwood Publishing, Rochester England, 3rd edition 2007
  • Catty, Suzanne, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, a division of Inner Trade International, 2001.
  • Davis, Patricia.  Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition, Vermilion,  an imprint  of   Edbury Publishing, a Random House Company, 2005
  • Tisserand, Robert, & Rodney Young,  Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2014
  • Worwood, Valerie Ann, Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child, First New World Library Printing, 2000

http://www.naturesgift.com/aromatherapy-information/how-to-use-essential-oils/aromatic-baby-care/
http://www.westcoastaromatherapy.com/free-information/articles-archive/aromatherapy-and-babies/
http://www.quinessence.com/essential_oils.htm
http://naturopathicpediatrics.com/2014/09/08/essential-oil-safety-danger-essential-oils-seizures-children/
http://herbalacademyofne.com/2014/08/using-essential-oils-for-children/
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