Thursday, July 3, 2014

Essential Oils & Asthma

There are 2 areas to discuss here:

  •      General precautions for using all essential oils for someone with asthma or wheezing.
  • 2      Specific oils and methods to assist in opening the lungs for someone with asthma or wheezing.

General Precautions for Using All Essential Oils for Someone with Asthma or Wheezing

Strong smells can sometimes be a trigger for wheezing or asthma.  Because of this it’s very important to always test for sensitivity first.  Guidelines:
  1.       I strongly suggest using a high quality organic oil.  Perfumes, chemicals, and adulterants commonly added to low quality essential oils are of concern to triggering an attack.
  2.         Place 1 drop of essential oil on a tissue and have the person gently smell it.  If they get any reaction to it, don’t use it.  Once a reaction has started, you may need to wait 30-60 minutes before trying another oil.  If there is no reaction go to step #3.
  3.       Always start at a very light dosage so their body can gently get used to the oil and be comfortable with not having any reaction to it.  The best places to apply an essential oil topically are on the ankles and wrists – always diluted into carrier oil.  If there is any reaction, stop using it.  If there is no reaction continue to step #4.
  4.         If both smelling a drop of the oil and using it on ankles and wrists is totally fine the essential oil should be fine to use in a diluted blend for back massage or a very light blend for full body massage.  The oil should also be fine diffused into the air for short periods of time (like 5-10 minutes).

What about children?
Essential oils can be of great value when used appropriately for someone experiencing asthma in their life, including children over the age of 7.  I’m hesitant to recommend this for smaller children less than 7 years old because the essential oils might be too strong for them, which could create even more constriction in the lungs trying to keep them out. 

If you do have a child under 7, try placing 1 drop of essential oil on a tissue or cotton ball and leaving it near them for 20-30 minutes.  Watch for any adverse reaction and remove it immediately.  If the child relaxes and breaths easier, it is fine to use this 1 drop method about every 1-2 hours as needed.

5 Best essential oils to use:
You’ll notice that Khella, Blue Tansy, Inula, and Grindelia are heavy, strong oils.  Because of this you only use a very small amount.  These first 4 oils all combine beautifully with Hyssop decumbens, however they are too heavy to combine well with each other.

Khella, Ammi visnaga

Blue Tansy, Tannacetum annuum

Inula, Inula graveolens

Grindelia, Grindelia squarrosa
is a nice choice, especially if any coughing is involved. This is the plant that the main western medication for whooping cough is made from.  Its effect on the lungs is very direct.

Hyssop, Decumbens
variety.  Note that Hyssop Officinalis (non-decumbens variety) does have mild toxic properties and should only be used by an experienced aromatherapist.  The decumbens variety is not toxic and is safe to use with children.  This oil works best in combination with one of the above 4 oils.

Essential Oil Nebulizer

How to use them:
NEBULIZER: The best method is using an essential oil nebulizer. These are usually a little on the pricey side (I’ve seen them anywhere from $75 - $400) however they are worth it when you need something strong and fast.  Place 6-10 drops of the essential oil(s) above in the nebulizer, turn on for short periods of time, refresh the oil(s) as needed.
You must watch to see when the person starts to relax and breathe easier.  Once this happens, you can turn the nebulizer off.

·         For children, usually 5-10 minutes is long enough.
·         For adults, 5-20 minutes should work great.

Use the nebulizer as needed, usually once every 1-2 hours at the most.

You can also place 1-3 drops of oil(s) on a cotton ball and place it near the person.  This works great for small children or even adults to improve sleep.  It’s especially nice if you either can’t be concerned with needing to unplug the nebulizer, or if there are other people/animals in the area that are bothered by the essential oils.

Generally, the air diffusion method is preferred, however applying a well diluted blend to the sternum (chest bone) can be used.  Be sure to watch for signs that it is too strong, as the essential oils are heavy and lingering. 

A small diluted amount can also be worked into any or several of the following acupressure points:  Lung 1, Lung 2, Lung 6, Lung 7, Lung 9, Pericardium 6, Conception Vessel 13, Stomach 36, Bladder 13, Bladder 14, Bladder 23.  Acupressure combined with the Nebulizer is very effective.

What to expect:
When you have the right oil(s) that the person responds really well to, you should notice a very quick improvement in breathing and overall relaxation. This will often be 30 seconds up to 2-5 minutes.  This naturally allows the person to rest quietly and comfortably so their body can kick in its own healing resources.

If for any reason symptoms worsen, immediately remove the essential oils from the area and provide fresh air.

What if symptoms don’t improve?
If symptoms do not improve or worsen, see your Medical Doctor.  When the lungs are constricted to the point that oxygen absorption is not adequate, this is a very serious condition.  There are conventional treatments that are fast and highly effective.  It’s much better to use them and accept side effects, if any, than not to when the situation warrants it.

Additional Therapies: 
Chinese medicine works with the whole person.  There are excellent methods of identifying the underlying cause, often damp or phlegm related, and working to re-balance the body so the interior environment is no longer conducive to the symptoms.  Acupuncture is highly recommended, and there are also specific QiGong exercises that internally massage and strengthen the lungs.

Learn tons of great information from my On-Line Essential Oils Course series. You can study here at our school in Alaska from anywhere in the world!

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