Lessons Learned During My Hiatus: Essential Oils ARE Essential

Essential oils ARE essential. Well, at least in my book…and in my kids’ books…and in my husband’s book. Why? Because we just watched our daughter recover from challenges that were plaguing her for over a year in less than a month. If you had watched her transition, you would think they were essential too.

Our daughter, Jaylee, started confiding in us in May of 2013 that it was hard for her to fall asleep; and that once she did, “something” was waking her up.  After she woke up, she felt like her heart was going to stop, like she couldn’t take a breath in, and like she had to go to the bathroom so urgently she was unsure if she would make it. She also admitted that it had been happening for some time, and that it was making it hard for her to stay awake at school since she wasn’t sleeping well.

IMG_1179 I wrote about the challenging path we traveled to get her correct diagnoses in a previous post. She was/is diagnosed with:

  • Non-obstructive Sleep Apnea, which basically means that something was altering her breathing patterns and waking her during sleep cycles where she shouldn’t be waking, but that it was not caused by the traditional airway obstruction.
  • Benign Occipital Epilepsy of Childhood, which means that she was having seizures in her sleep that were not causing damage to her brain. Children generally present with this around the age of 7, and then usually outgrow them in 1-3 years after they begin. The general thought is that it has to do with growth patterns and the brain’s inability to keep up. There is a possibility they could be related to Jaylee’s drug exposure in utero.
  • Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, which means that Jaylee’s internal clock was misfiring, and she had a hard time falling asleep before 11 pm, and a hard time waking up and focusing her brain prior to 11 am.

We were told that our only two choices were to try powerful anti-seizure and sleep medications that have a host of potential side effects, or to wait the seizures out and hope they were the only cause of the sleep apnea. There wasn’t even a moment that we considered the medications. The seizures were not damaging her brain so there was no long-term risk, but we were still frustrated since the “episodes” were causing Jaylee a lot of anxiety and frustration, as well as making it harder for her to succeed in school and gymnastics…not to mention the stress it was causing us as a family since she was impossibly grumpy and moody most of the time. The only thing we were willing to try was Melatonin at 6pm every evening in an effort to help her fall asleep earlier and faster. It made her tired earlier, but didn’t seem to help with anything else.

And here is where my friend Debbie Burns comes in. I had met Debbie when studying to be a Health Coach, and she had been the one to introduce me to essential oils back in September. When we became aware of Jaylee’s issues, I had decided to take a hiatus from health coaching and felt I didn’t have time to learn about the essential oils I had just purchased. I felt that I needed to focus all my spare time and energy on helping Jaylee, and if I am honest with myself, I think I was skeptical that the oils would make any difference. I had bought them intending to make my own cleaning and skin care products, not to use them as part of our healthcare toolkit.  But, when Debbie found out about Jaylee’s diagnoses and heard how frustrated and overwhelmed I felt, she came to my house to give me the gifts of an aromatherapy touch technique that supports the body in dealing better with pain, stress, and immunity. She also gave me a resource book on essential oil usage, along with encouragement to look up how the oils may be able to help my daughter.

Those gifts changed our lives.

The aromatherapy session completely reinvigorated me…and I mean the way that a week-long vacation, by myself, on a deserted island that just happened to be equipped with a memory blocking device would reinvigorate me. She left, and I dove into that book. I just had to know how and why I felt so much better. I mean, if they helped me that much in one experience, maybe they COULD possibly help my daughter.

Breathe_15mlLavender_15mlI didn’t have all of the oils recommended for her conditions, but I had most of them. We started that night with this protocol:

  • Two drops of lavender on each side of her pillow and on her favorite stuffed animal’s head  (she turns from side to side, and I didn’t have a diffuser, so this was my workaround), and two drops rubbed into the bottom of each foot
  • PastTense_RollOnThree drops of a respiratory oil blend rubbed into her chest, and a little under her nose
  • A drop of tension oil blend rubbed behind each ear, and two drops rubbed into the base of her hairline at the back of her neck, layered with 1 drop of frankincense.

days-2Two nights later she had one of her “episodes,” but she said she didn’t feel as scared when she woke up, and that she was able to get right back to sleep after she went to the bathroom. She also had an easier time waking up then she had prior to the oils.

days-14Two weeks later, she was managing to fall asleep by 9pm instead of 11pm, she seemed rested in the morning, and she only had one episode that week compared to the 3-5 per week she was having prior to starting. Jaylee also started bringing her pillow out when she said goodnight so we could put the “sleep oils” on it. She wasn’t about to go to sleep without them.

days-21Three weeks later, we started to realize it had been a week with no episodes, and she was sleeping through the night. She was a happy, well-rested child during our annual Christmas vacation trip.

days-28The following week she didn’t have any episodes, and she hasn’t had any since. Watching her health improve right in front of our eyes was one of the best Christmas presents EVER.

The neurologist was very happy to see she “outgrew” the condition faster than usual, and seemed sincerely intrigued by my belief that the oils deserved the credit. In her defense, she did not dismiss the idea as she was aware of their proven effectiveness in some cases, though she also was not willing to give credit. 🙂

Jay-NikaSo, what about side effects? Oh, there were many. Let me name just a few:

  • The horrifically grumpy morning diva is gone and has been replaced by a cooperative, happy girl (well, most mornings)
  • Her math grades have improved drastically (math was the first class of the day, and therefore those grades had suffered the most, even though math is Jaylee’s favorite subject)
  • She looks forward to going to bed and no longer finds every excuse known to man to delay laying in a horizontal position
  • She was able to avoid her asthma medications almost all winter (the respiratory blend supports overall respiratory health)
  • She is far less anxious and reactive in unexpected situations (both lavender and the tension blend help with calming anxieties in addition to providing neurological support)
  • She is performing much better in gymnastics due in large part to having more stamina and breath control
  • I now have new tools that I am excited about incorporating into my health coaching work

I don’t know about you, but those are side effects I will happily live with.


To learn more about the cleanse options, supplements, or essential oils I recommend, contact me using the form below or at alicia@healthytangents.com to request information or to schedule a wellness consultation.

Disclaimer: I am not a Physician. I am a wife, a mom, a certified health coach, and someone who loves learning about natural wellness tools and sharing with others the incredible things I learn through my classes, research, personal experiences, and the experiences of friends and family. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Rather, they are intended to support your body in its efforts to restore balance and maintain health.

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