Holly Swinton: dyslexia speaker, trainer, author and assessor » News » Rosemary and Lavender: your kid’s two new best friends!

Rosemary and Lavender: your kid’s two new best friends!

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We all know that smells can change your mood, but these two can change your brain…

Diffusing organic essential oils is cheap, easy and has been shown to have effects on the body, brain and the nervous system.

It’s as easy as:
a) get an ultrasonic diffuser (£10-£30 online depending on how pretty)
b) fill it with water
c) add a few drops of organic lavender essential oil
d) watch everyone relax and fall asleep (including your pets)
c) add a few drops of organic rosemary essential oil
d) watch homework and revision speed up.

NB: there is some debate about whether rosemary is safe for pets. It’s possibly still safer than air fresheners, but you might want to avoid diffusing this if your pet can’t escape outside.

Quality really does matter because oils are so concentrated – you need to buy organic or you can end up breathing in an entire field or orchard’s worth of pesticides.

Want to start simpler? 

You could combine a few drops with a carrier oil (e.g. organic olive oil or coconut oil) and massage their feet or pop it on their pulse points.

Bringing their stress levels down

I also like frankincense (which oxygenates the brain), vetiver (the “oil of tranquility”) and lemon balm (for stress) and roman chamomile (to knock kids out).  Aromas get processed in a different way from all other senses and so have the ability to instantly calm us.

Help for exams or school anxiety

You could try creating some scent anchors (e.g. a few drops of favourite essential oils on a pencil case, cushion, pillow, stuffed toy, scarf). You want your child to repeatedly smell a particular scent when they are feeling particularly calm or happy,  Then their brain will eventually associate that smell with a particular desirable feeling.  In time, you may be able to use that smell to immediately change their mood for the better.

I love combining belly breathing with essential oils.  Breathing works particularly well for fear (and anger, which is usually actually fear). Everyone will tell you to breathe this slightly differently, but the experts seem to agree that you have to breathe in through your nose and that your belly should go out as it fills with air. Some people imagine breathing in and out different colours, very slowly. On a stressful day I try to do this for one minute once an hour and breathe in essential oils (spritzing a blend or popping it on my pulse points or on a pencil case or pillow).

Click here for more calming brain breaks.  

Finally and incidentally, lemon essential oil can get sharpie off ANYTHING!

Remember, people can have intolerances to even the highest quality essential oils – my son and I can’t have orange in any form, for example.  But a great medical herbalist/aromatherapist (such as Nicky Lewis) may be able to offer some tailored advice about exactly which ones would work best for your child.

Need a plan for school to pinpoint exactly how to help?