Aromatherapy And Learning Disabilities

Through examining the evidence in complementary therapies in learning disabilities, Aromatherapy, Massage, and Reflexology have proven to be beneficial therapies!  Let’s explore the use of aromatherapy here with some expertise.

Demand for alternative and complementary health care is both ‘patient’ and ‘practitioner’ generated (The Times 1996). In Nursing the opportunities to improve individualized patient care through the appropriate use of such therapies appears to be a motivating factor in their use. Much of the nursing literature available focuses on the use of complementary therapies in general hospital settings and clinical practice. However, there is evidence of the use of such therapies by community nurses and in particular, Learning Disability Nurses.

Therapies considered to be of benefit in the care of people with Learning Disabilities are those therapies that use a ‘hands-on’ approach such as Aromatherapy, Massage, and Reflexology. An examination of nursing literature and research suggests a range of different therapies is being explored by nurses within their practice, and that some evaluation-seeking evidence of effectiveness is being conducted. Aromatherapy in particular has received some attention from nurse researchers, and the evidence suggests that both a therapeutic and an experimental effect can be detected. It would appear that for people with learning disabilities the combination of the factors of oils, massage (touch) and therapist-client interaction can provide a beneficial therapeutic experience.

Author: J. Wray         Resource: Journal of Intellectual Disabilities

Per an Aromatherapy Instructor at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, April Jaeger, these situations often call for low dosages.  Often, intellectual and behavorial disabilities can go hand-in-hand with extreme sensitivity both physically and mentally.

ROSEMARY– I LOVE ROSEMARY, IN LOW DOSES, IT OPENS THE MIND AND GETS THE JUICES FLOWING. THIS WOULD NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE THOUGH; IN CASES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN WHO ARE TOO MENTALLY ACTIVE, IT COULD BE TOO STIMULATING.

ORANGE OR MANDARIN – THIS OIL IS UPLIFTING TO THE MIND AND SPIRIT, YET ALLOWS ONE TO REMAIN PEACEFUL AND GROUNDED.

BERGAMOT – THIS WORKS WELL TO DISPEL FRUSTRATION WHEN ONE IS TRYING BUT NOT ALWAYS SUCCEEDING. IT ALSO INSPIRES A WILLINGNESS TO KEEP A POSITIVE OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDE WITHOUT BEING OVER STIMULATING.

LAVENDER – FOR ONE WHO IS EXPERIENCING HYPERACTIVITY OR RANDOM & BROKEN THOUGHT PATTERNS THIS OIL WILL CALM THE MIND ENOUGH TO FOCUS. JUST BE SURE TO USE IT SPARINGLY AS IT CAN WEIGH DOWN THE MIND AND BODY IF USED IN LARGER AMOUNTS. (IT MAY BE A NICE BLEND TO COMBINE PEPPERMINT OR BERGAMOT WITH THE LAVENDER TO BALANCE OUT THE EFFECTS.

PEPPERMINT – WHILE NOT AS STIMULATING AS ROSEMARY, PEPPERMINT CAN BRING INTEREST AND PRESENT MINDEDNESS WITH A SOFT AND SWEET NUDGE. AGAIN IN SMALLER DOSES.

SANDALWOOD – THIS OIL WILL HELP WITH ANXIETY AND NERVOUS TENSION YET SUPPORT THE FIGHT OF FATIGUE. THIS IS ALSO A GOOD OIL IN CASES OF OVERSTIMULATING ENVIRONMENTS.

April recommends to stay away from common but strong mind altering oils such as: ANGELICA, CLARY SAGE, SAGE, AND LIME, as they can have adverse effects for this particular situation.  Check out AprilsAromaBlog for more Aromatherapy info!  Aromatherapy education is offered by an award-winning, accredited college, on-campus and online!