An introduction to Essential Oil Therapy for Animals.
by Nayana Morag
¥ Essential oils have been used for the promotion of health for many centuries and recently their healing properties have enjoyed renewed recognition, especially in Europe. In England many vets also recognise the usefulness of oils in animal welfare . This is thanks in great part to the work of Caroline Ingraham and her students who have developed the use of essential oils for animals.
¥ Essential oils are potent extracts of aromatic plants - many of which are the basis for modern synthetic medicines. Because the oils are highly volatile they are easily absorbed through the blood/brain barrier via the olfactory system or through the skin. They are not medicines as we know them but help balance the bio-system and fight dis-ease. They are an effective and gentle answer to many of todays common animal problems, often bringing relief where allopathic medicines hold no answer e.g. Chronic skin conditions, allergies, arthritis, sarcoids, Cushing's Syndrome, viral infection, behavioural problems and other stress related conditions .
¥ Animals can't tell us in words what it is they need to get better but they do know instinctively what their bodies need to get well. If they were still wandering the prairies they would pick and choose the herbs and grasses they needed to maintain health, whether that be worm control or pain killers. We deprive them of that possibility in a domestic environment so they become dependent on us to figure out what they need, a hit and miss affair a lot of the time. The uniqueness of Essential Oil Therapy is that they choose which oils, how and how often, they are never forced on an animal. A qualified practitioner chooses the oils she thinks appropriate after taking a detailed case history and a kinesiology test, but the animal has the final choice and responds very clearly by licking, inhaling or turning away from the oils. The animal will be offered the oils once or twice a day depending on the initial interest shown until it no longer shows any interest in the oils at which time the animal will be re-assessed to see if the problem has resolved or if it needs different oils.
¥ Allowing the animal to participate in its own healing in this way returns some autonomy to creatures who are all too often at our mercy. This can lead to a greater sense of trust between carer and animal. This aspect of the oils is especially useful in animals that have had some trauma or have been abused. Although the oils are not a substitute for qualified veterinary care it is easy for the layman to learn enough to use them safely and effectively in everyday situations. However even though the oils are natural substances they can be toxic if misused so it is advisable to learn from a qualified animal aromatherapist, preferably one who is a member of GEOTA (the Guild of Essential Oil Therapists for Animals).