Excerpt from : An article about aromatherapy for babies and children – by Sharon Falsetto -Sedona Aromatherapie Library.
History of Aromatherapy for Children
Throughout history, childhood ailments have been treated with plant medicine (Vessey and Rechkemmer, 2001).
European children used to be lulled to sleep by the fragrant scent of lavender and dill, commonly known as “dilly pillows.”
American Indians used a wide variety of plant medicine to heal both themselves and their young ones. They use natural therapies for heat and diaper rashes, in addition to a cleansing wash for baby of strawberry and raspberry leaves. Other herbs and plants that the American Indians used included sweet grass, sage and honey made from wild bees (even before the Europeans introduced the honey bee to the Americas). A lot of these remedies are still used today, although the practice of aromatherapy doesn’t use the actual plant itself (like in plant and herbal medicine); it is the essential oils that are used.
One of my nieces suffers from a common childhood complaint called eczema and has been treated with aromatherapy for it.
In the UK, the National Eczema Society estimates that up to one fifth of school children age have eczema. With this in mind, A London university (school of applied science, South Bank University) carried out a study using two groups of children. One group received therapeutic massage with the use of essential oils and the other group received a therapeutic massage without the use of essential oils. Both groups showed an improvement in their eczema conditions but it wasn’t proven if essential oils worked in this situation. So what does this actually “prove?” As with all research studies, there could be a number of factors affecting this outcome and only personal use/experience will show how effective it is for your child.
One thing is certain, aromatherapy, along with other complementary therapies, is becoming more popular for those with chronic skin conditions (Johnston et al., 2003).An aromatherapist is not a qualified medical practitioner and can not claim to cure. However, aromatherapists’ own case studies (myself included) have shown that aromatherapy may help with some conditions in some children.
Chicken pox is another example. My youngest niece, then 3 years old, broke out with chicken pox, with lots of spots that could have become quite ugly and caused scarring if she had continued to scratch them. The inflammation was not as bad as it might have been because I blended some essential oils in a white lotion for her.
In the UK, aromatherapy is now used by a number of open minded health practitioners, alongside conventional medicine. It is said that almost 40% of general practitioner partnerships will refer their National Health Service patients to a complementary therapist where appropriate (Thomas et al 1995). In the United States, healthcare practitioners have yet to catch up to the beliefs shared by their UK counterparts but as there is no National Healthcare Service in the United States, there is difficulty in providing the same services, due to insurance issues. It is left to an individual to seek out a complementary approach to conventional medicine.
“Research” (both in the form of scientific studies and aromatherapy practitioner case studies) will continue for the foreseeable future on the effects aromatherapy has, and its potential benefits, and can only strengthen interest and validity in the cause for the use of aromatherapy.Excerpt from : An article about aromatherapy for babies and children – by Sharon Falsetto -Sedona Aromatherapie Library.