Friday, June 12, 2015

Fragrant Friday: The Journey of an Aromatherapy Newbie

I was recently at a conference on marketing to Baby Boomers and I met Pat Campbell, a semi-retired marketing executive who has started a new company called In Pursuit of Greytness. She is helping baby-boomer women who are starting new businesses develop their digital strategies. I was interested in her background and new venture, and she was a self-described newbie to aromatherapy. We had a wonderful conversation and she asked many educated questions. As is the case with many people I speak to, she had a healthy dose of skepticism but was totally open to learning about essential oils. She has a horse, several dogs, and in the past has had as many as eight dogs at the same time, several cats and lived on a horse farm.

Here are just a few of her questions and my answers: 
When combining various essential oils do you use them all in equal amounts?

Sometimes, but not always.  It depends on the purpose of the blend, which essential oils you select, and whether a particular scent profile is important.  For example, a simple blend to use in a hand sanitizer might combine equal parts of tea tree, lavender and lemon in a base of aloe gel and witch hazel extract. If you’re using a very strong scented essential oil such as rose, peppermint or sandalwood, you’ll use less of those than citrus, which are very light and fleeting.

Can you use the same essential oils on cats and dogs? 

Cats are more at risk for essential oil reactions because their livers work differently than dogs.  When necessary we use essential oils very sparingly on cats. Some potentially toxic essential oils for cats include basil, birch, citrus, clove, hyssop, oregano, pennyroyal, sage, savory, tansy, tarragon, thyme, tea tree, thuja and wintergreen. 

Since animals metabolize and react differently to essential oils, it is important to know about species-specific differences before using them. People often overuse oils. More isn’t better! Continual diffusing can lead to an unintentional overdose for their pets. 

When diffusing, maintain good ventilation and circulation of fresh air. Make sure your cat can leave an area that is being diffused. You can reduce your cat’s exposure by diffusing for specific reasons, and only when necessary. Just 15 minutes 3 to 4 times a day or during sleep can be adequate essential oil therapy even during family illness. 

While not all cats may react negatively to all essential oils, exercise caution and watch your cat for subtle changes in behavior as well as a lack of energy. Using essential oils with cats can be managed, and it is generally believed that limited exposure to quality pure essential oils is a better option than using synthetic or adulterated fragrances. 

Do you know of any oils that will calm a horse? What makes a horse different than a dog in the use of Essential Oils?
We have had customers use our products on horses and have lots of testimonials that Buzz Guard and Canine Calm have been beneficial to both dogs and horses. A dog’s sense of smell is remarkably better than ours. There are about 40 times more scent receptors than humans have, allowing dogs to identify smells between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than us.  Dogs also have remarkable olfactory memory, and because their world revolves around scent, aromatherapy is ideal for use with them. 

The horse's range of smell is more acute than that of humans but less sensitive than that of dogs.  We typically recommend that our products be massaged into the tips of dogs’ ears. On horses we recommend rubbing the products on the ear tips as well as on the forehead, cheeks and muzzle. 

The use of aromatherapy with dogs and horses is time-tested. Scientific studies in Germany and France regarding the medical effects of essential oils on animals and humans were quite advanced by the mid-1800s. Early clinical studies with dogs and horses had positive results, and so the practice of veterinary aromatherapy was not uncommon in those countries. 

Pat has written her own blog this week about her journey through the maze of aromatherapy. Whether you are deep into the subject or just learning you will definitely enjoy her experience so far. She has two dogs, a horse and several cats so this subject has become near and dear to her heart. Click here to read about her first aromatherapy test with Calvin her four-legged best friend at Pat's blog.