It seems these days we have more and more stresses added to our daily lives… financial worries, stress at work (or lack of work), time crunches, health worries, and so on. And then add in the addition of preparing for the holidays… a recipe for disaster! We’re all looking for ways to best cope with the problems that we each individually face. We become agitated, short-tempered, anxious. Finding calming and relaxing strategies to help us deal with our daily stress can be quite challenging. Let us also not forget that our animals encounter stress too. Travel, veterinary check ups, injury, situational fear and competitive training can all increase the stress level of our horses, dogs and other pets. Some of them handle it pretty well, while others go into meltdown mode – just like us. Here are some simple ways that you can use the 3 best calming essential oils for stress relief and bring a more relaxed atmosphere to your home or barn.Which Essential Oils Work Best For Calming?
Peace & Calming – One of the most effective of the calming essential oils that I’ve found to date is Young Living’s Peace & Calming essential oil blend. It is a special proprietary blend of tangerine, orange, blue tansy, ylang ylang and patchouli essential oils. Each of these oils individually has been found to help with things like mood elevation, balancing the male/female energies, bringing emotional equilibrium, relief from negative emotions and promoting relaxation and feelings of well-being. Ylang ylang in particular is known historically as an aphrodisiac. It’s petals are spread across the marriage bed in Indonesia, and it is used as a floral scent in many perfumes.This is also an excellent blend to use for the nervous horse. The more “right-brained” horses that have an innately worried disposition can find relief with this oil. I’ve encountered some horses that will practically drink in the aroma of this oil, almost like they crave it. You’ll see their normally wide worried eyes get droopy with lids half-closed and their heads lower to a relaxed position. It’s truly amazing to watch its effect on them.
This oil has also been known to help calm and settle children with ADD and ADHD, particularly just before bedtime. No dilution is necessary for topical application of this oil and it is generally safe for small children. Avoid use on cats!Lavender – This essential oil is very well know for its ability to help ease tension. It is one of the more versatile oils and is used widely for its healing and pain relief abilities. One of the many benefits of lavender is that it promotes relaxation and restful sleep. So if you are having trouble getting to sleep, this is the essential oil of choice. We often diffuse a combination of both Peace & Calming and lavender at bedtime in our home to help get a good night’s sleep.Lavender is the safest of the essential oils. No dilution is necessary for topical application and it is generally safe for small children. This is also a safe oil to use on cats.Chamomile – There are two varieties of chamomile flower used for their essential oils – Roman and German. While the medicinal properties of both are very similar, the Roman chamomile is used widely for its calming benefits, whereas the German variety is used more for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Roman chamomile is very gentle and therefore very helpful to calm restless children. Both varieties have been know to help uplift the spirit and are good for overcoming depression, but Roman chamomile is known more for it’s ability to help relieve negative emotions, particularly in small children.Chamomile is a member of the ragweed family and caution should be taken for people that have ragweed allergies. No dilution is necessary for topical application and it is generally safe for small children. Chamomile is safe to use on cats as well.Direct Application Of Essential Oils
All of the oils listed above are safe to use neat (applied without dilution) on humans. You can add to a carrier oil such as olive oil, V6 or coconut oil if skin sensitivity occurs or if you wish to apply to a larger area. The best application locations are the soles of the feet, back of the neck and on the wrists. When dealing with the addition of tension, you can also apply lavender essential oil to the temples, across the shoulders and add a drop or two to your favorite drink.Animals are more sensitive to essential oils, and while in most cases it won’t harm them if applied without dilution, it may cause discomfort or skin sensitivity particular with some of the “hotter” oils. For horses and dogs, dilute the oils mentioned above one part essential oil to one part carrier oil. For cats you will dilute the above oils one part essential oil to 10 parts carrier oil. Olive, V6 or coconut oil make great carrier oils for animals.Application Locations For Horses – Rub a couple of drops of oil into the palms of your hands and then rub the horse’s muzzle. Rub 2 to 3 drops into the poll and/or along the coronet band. When using lavender, you can also apply to the TMJ or anywhere else that your horse is carrying a lot of tension in its body.Application Locations For Dogs/Cats – Rub a couple of drops of oil into your finger tips or palms and then rub into the tips of your pet’s ears and/or run your fingers through their fur along the spine and between the shoulder blades. You can also rub the oil onto the pads of their feet. Lavender essential oil is typically safe enough to use neat, but if sensitivity occurs rub a couple of drops of carrier oil to the application site.
Using Essential Oils In Aromatherapy
It is not always feasible to apply oils directly, especially when dealing with animals that are stressed. In such instances or when you wish to impart the benefits of a particular oil (or blend of oils) throughout a room, the use of a diffuser is a great option. There are several different kinds and sizes to choose from. We use the Young Living home diffuser at our house. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can simply open the bottle of essential oil and inhale the aroma for several seconds and repeat multiple times per day as needed.When using aromatherapy on animals, always remember that animals are much more sensitive to smells than we are. Less is more! When offering an oil to your horse, dog or cat, simply hold the bottle towards their nose and allow them to sniff it themselves if they wish. If they want nothing to do with that particular oil, don’t get in a fight with them over it. You’ll end up causing more stress to them than what you are trying to relieve or you may even put yourself in danger if they feel trapped. If you feel the situation warrants it, you can lightly diffuse the room or stall that they are in if you need to.If you don’t have a diffuser, simply take the cap off the bottle of oil and leave it out of reach of the animal so that the aroma can naturally permeate the area. Placing the bottle in front of a small fan works great as a makeshift diffuser.Essential oils can be a safe and natural alternative stress relief solution for your family and pets. Not only are they safe, they are very cost effective. A little goes a VERY long way. So put a little sanity back into your hectic life with Mother Nature’s own antidepressants.