When an essential oil is inhaled between 30 - 70% (on average 50%) of chemical constituents within the oil are absorbed via mucous linings of the respiratory pathways into the bloodstream, and ultimately into the brain by crossing the Blood Brain Barrier. Inhalation could therefore be beneficial for both emotional issues (such as anxiety, depression) and respiratory issues as they have a more immediate effect. Oils with analgesic or sedative effects will also have a faster reaction time and stronger effect with neurotransmitters sending messages to the affected areas (ie, reduce pain, sedate).
The olfactory system, or sense of smell, is linked to the limbic system of the brain which deals with, amongst other things, memory and emotions, and as such some odours may trigger an emotional response. Inhalation of supportive essential oils could release memories and thus restore balance and well being, as ultimately the emotional state affects the physical state. Essential oils are therefore supportive for a range of emotional, behavioural and physical issues.
To arrange an aromatherapy self-selection session with your animal please contact us and we will send through the appropriate consultation form for completion. You will also need to contact your vet to ensure they are willing for the session to go ahead. We only use essential oils that are ethically sourced and from companies that guarantee their purity. We would recommend applying this criteria if looking to purchase oils for use in the home.
Essential oils are generally extracted through the process of steam distillation from plant matter such as bark, flowers, fruit, leaves and roots. During the process steam passes through the plant matter breaking up the micro particles of the plant separating out the volatile (essential oil), from the non-volatile (waters or hydrosols) elements. The (essential) oils are then collected as they accumulate on the surface. The water based hydrosols contain natural constituents but in a more diluted form. Other forms of extraction include CO2 and solvent extraction (absolutes), and expression or cold-pressing.
There is wide variation in shelf life of essential oils which is linked to their constituents, with citrus and pine essential oils having a shorter shelf life. Essential oils should be checked reglarly for oxidation, which can affect smell, viscosity and appearance (cloudy).
The concentrated essential oils contain the characteristic odour and chemical constituents of the plants, such as phenols, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes . The concentration of these constituents will vary depending on the essential oil. We are aware of essential oil sensitivities in cats and tailor our sessions accordingly.
Offering essential oils to animals allows them to have access to, and to self-select, constituents they may not have contact with in their domestic setting. Many essential oils have calming and relaxing properties, thus potentially reducing stress levels, which in turn supports and promotes physical well-being.
There are several types of diffusers on the market and the amount, and frequency, of essential oil that is dispersed into the environment varies with each of these. The two main methods of dispersing the essential oils are by using a nebulising diffuser, or an ultrasonic diffuser. The nebulising diffuser disperses the essential oil into the air in a fine spray and thus the oil is still in its concentrated form. The ultrasonic diffuser again disperses a fine mist, but the difference is water is dispersed along with the essential oil and this therefore dilutes it.
If using a diffuser with essential oils in the home your animal should not be left unattended. Only use for a limited amount of time (to ensure no build-up of vapours); with ventilation and the ability for your animal to leave the room at any and all times, necessities too.
Their behaviour should also be monitored whilst in the vicinity of a diffuser as they will indicate whether they like or dislike the oil - more information regarding this can be discussed at a self-selection aromatherapy session.
Cats, however, lack certain liver enzymes which assist in the metabolism of many essential oil constituents "But, a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat." (Tisserand Institute).
Nevertheless essential oils that contain phenols are best avoided around cats (particularly wintergreen, anise, birch, basil, fennel, thyme, clove, and oregano) which contain higher levels (50%+).
Biodiversity and nature’s healing gifts by Viv Anthony
Viv explains how biodiversity is under threat and why conservation is important to aromatherapy