Essential oils have been used for thousands of years, for cosmetics and even medical purposes.
Parents in the modern era now use these oils distilled from plants to help their children with autism through their daily routines.
Western Mass News spoke with local experts on this popular method.
For children on the autism spectrum navigating transitions and the unexpected can be tough. Many parent are turning to essential oils, to help guide their children through changes in routine.
One parent we heard from, Shannon Coconis says, “There are so many of us, thousands of us parents across the world that are treating our kids with autism. I recommend them immensely.”
She goes on to say, “Ritual and routine, both my son and I have that…where we kind of need things to be the same way and to do things in a predictable way."
John Robison is an acclaimed author, advocate and an adult with autism.
"Anxiety is a big problem for autistic people," he says.
Robison finds comfort under the hood of a car, as the owner of a car service company for luxury vehicles.
"I think what you see with essential oils and touch therapy is a return to a more natural way of soothing ourselves to make ourselves better,” he adds.
To cope with anxiety, Robison recommends meditation as well as massage therapy.
"It's again not so much that the oil is a magical chemical as it is the technique is a calming technique," he says adding, “lemon, lime, sweet orange, we have red mandarin bergamot."
As the owner of the Herbarium Jonathan Evans says that citrus oils are helpful for those on the autism spectrum.
"Citrus reminds you of warmth and sunshine and you feel good, the chemicals in actually smelling it, the molecules just in portions of the brain causing chemical cascades throughout the body making you feel good," explained Evans.
There are many ways to use essential oils but one of the most popular is an inhaler. You can carry it in your pocket, when you need it simply twist hold up to your nose and sniff.
You can use it as many times as you need. The oils can also be diffused in a humidifier or placed in moving water.
"It can be very helpful for bringing the kids out, helping them feel more comfortable more grounded."
Evans cautions that parents do their research before purchasing oils. He says they are not to be consumed, and to look for the Latin name of the plant on the bottle.
"Something as simple as a citrus oil. Or any of the oils. They come back and they see a change in their child there is no amount of money that can make up for that," Evans adds.
A medical center with Ohio State University is studying the use of essential oils to help with the emotional and behavioral challenges that children with autism face.
That study will be taking place over the next two years.
Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.