Providing Animal Aromatherapy Consultations and Essential Oil Therapy Education for Animal Owners and Carers
When used with care and knowledge and with the full support of your veterinary surgeon, Essential Oils and Aromatherapy can provide huge support to both our animals and us in times of difficulty.
Animal Aromatherapy or Essential Oil therapy is the use of essential oils to help enhance physical and emotional well-being. It is believed that we all know on an instinctive, perhaps even cellular level just what it is that we need for our physical and emotional health and our animals are probably even better at this that we are. This is demonstrated so well when you offer an essential oil to a horse. Usually it will sniff it intently, first with one nostril and then, if interested, with the other.
The right side of the brain is connected to the left nostril and is responsible for "feel" and more emotional responses while the left side of the brain is connected to the right nostril and deals with "rational thought" and all things "cerebral". The sense of smell is linked directly to the Limbic system, which acts as a message relay to many of the body's vital systems, and so any information carried from the nose is passed on, processed and acted upon.
Smell is a very powerful sense and a single scent may instantly re-kindle memories of a particular event, place or person whether pleasant or otherwise and this ability too may be harnessed for our emotional well-being. For instance, when I look at the picture alongside I can immediately smell the heady scent of bluebells and am transported to a sunny afternoon in May 2002 when I took my dogs out for a walk in the woods beyond my home to take this picture of the most prolific show of Bluebells I have ever seen...smelled!
Due to the volatile nature of essential oils, a small amount of vapour will be inhaled and in the ideal conditions of the warm and moist nasal cavity, some of the active components of the oils will have a direct route into the bloodstream via capillaries very close to the surface. Essential Oil Therapy for animals is normally given either by inhalation of the oils, or by allowing the animal to ingest the oil orally whilst topical application is normally reserved for the treatment of physical problems such as wounds and disorders of the musculo-skeletal system.
Whatever method you use, the most important thing is that the animal, be it a cat, dog, horse or rat, has the choice to either accept or reject the oils and they should only be administered in the correct dilution and with care, respect and knowledge.
Oils also have purely physical properties. Many stimulate the immune system and can also be used to treat a variety of conditions such as mud fever, sweet itch, cuts, bruises, skin irritation etc but it should be emphasised that although careful use of oils is fine for minor first aid or treatment of previously diagnosed conditions, you must always get a veterinary diagnosis and permission to use oils if you feel your horse has a physical problem or that a behavioural one has a physical cause. It must also be remembered that although many oils are totally mild and safe in use, some have to be used with care as some, such as Nutmeg can build up to toxic levels in the body with prolonged use.
It is strongly advised that you consult a qualified Essential Oils Therapist for Animals and or human Aromatherapist and get yourself a good reference book to thoroughly inform yourself on oil safety, application, blending and contra-indications.
I am particularly interested in the question "are we like our animals or are they like us? "It's a terrible cliché I know, but I have been consistently finding that the oils my own and my friends horses choose are often the same ones that we are using on ourselves. Working from that view, if we try to look at the horse and handler as a whole, why not extend this to treatments such as aromatherapy? Just as a physical problem in the rider can be mirrored in the horse, so can an emotional one. It is worth remembering that if we are not feeling "safe" emotionally, we can't expect our animals to feel "safe" with us, and a person who is not in balance with their own feelings and emotions is like a loose canon around animals. They do not appreciate being the butt of our emotional swings and if we can try and take a step back from our problems before we step into our horses' space, life is much better for all of us. A more relaxed owner makes a happier animal!
With careful, informed and responsible use, essential oils are a wonderful tool to enhance the well-being and health of both our animals and ourselves and brings yet another dimension into holistic animal-care.
What is Essential Oil Therapy?
Essential Oil Therapy (EOT) uses pure plant essential oils to help re-establish the balance of the body and so restore and maintain good health.
It can be used to help a variety of issues from emotional trauma, to physical injury to supporting behavioural re-training as well as palliative care for those animals nearing the end of their lives. The welfare and needs of the animal are always paramount and because the owner is directly involved in administering the treatment it also helps with feelings of helplessness and disempowerment that people often experience when their animals are ill or suffering emotionally.
How does it work?
Essential oils are very volatile and can evaporate through the nasal cavity of the animal when inhaled. The active parts of the oil pass easily into the blood stream via a rich supply of blood vessels in the nasal cavity and are transported around the body. The chemical constituents of the oil are also processed by the Limbic system which links the sense of smell to the brain and as a result messages are passed to the various parts of the body that are out of balance.
Animals are adept "self-medicators" and seem to know just what they need to maintain optimum health and so it is vital that they are given the choice to take the oils or not. By offering the oils to an animal to inhale and or lick if it wishes, and applying topically to areas of pain or injury if necessary, essential oils can gently encourage the body to trigger it's own healing systems.
What does a consultation involve?
When you book a consultation I will normally visit your home so that I can meet your animals in their usual environment.
I will take a full case history and ask you some questions about your animal and its management including diet, exercise and any aspects of your family life that may have a bearing on the situation to help me to build up a picture of anything that may be influencing the condition.
I will also show you how to offer the oils and fill in the record sheets, discuss safety issues, the duration of treatment and take some photographs as well as a small hair sample from your animal.
I use a method called Kinesiology (also known as muscle testing) to locate and assess weaknesses and strengths in the energy systems of the animal's body according to the diagnosis of the clients vet. Kinesiology is then used as an assessment tool to select the appropriate oils for the condition to then offer to the animal for final self-selection.
Are there any conditions that can't be treated?
While many conditions and states respond positively to EOT, there are certain situations where it would not be possible to use oils straight away.
When working with emotional/behavioural issues and many physical ones it is important to find the underlying cause and rectify it to give your animal the best chance of reaching a state of balance once more.
It may be that during the consultation we identify some issues that need to be formally diagnosed and resolved by an appropriate professional before the use of essential oils is appropriate eg. back pain or saddle fit and dental problems in horses, potential pain issues in any type of animal or certain training, and handling and environmental issues. If this is something I am unable to help with then I will either refer you back to your vet or give you a list of recommended practitioners as appropriate but once the situation has been diagnosed then EOT can help support you and your animal through the changes.
Essential Oil Therapy and your Vet.
Currently, Essential Oil Therapists for Animals are allowed by law to carry out an assessment of your animal according to veterinary diagnosis by your vet. On completion of treatment I will be happy to supply a full report for your vet or insurer if requested. I am not allowed to treat your animal myself or to offer a diagnosis but I am allowed to educate you how to offer the oils to your own animal to support its recovery. Therapy for Animals must comply with a strict code of conduct and a copy of this is available on request or through the GEOTA website at www.geota.co.uk
I am a qualified Essential Oil Therapist for Animals and studied a diploma course with GEOTA. I also have a qualification in human aromatherapy.
My formal background is in agriculture and I passed my National Diploma in Agriculture at Hartpury College, Glos in 1989. I worked in the dairy industry for the next 12 years until a spinal injury leading to two back operations led me to re-think my career options and my approach to illness/wellness.
My interest in complementary therapy and taking the "bigger picture" when dealing with so called "behavioural problems" in animals meant that I could take advantage of the enforced time off work to study animal behaviour and various training methods as well as courses in aromatherapy, Flower remedies, basic counselling and Reiki energy healing. I became a Reiki Master/Teacher and a member of the Reiki Federation and now specialise in teaching people who share their lives with animals.
As a lifelong rider and animal owner, I currently have 3 horses, five dogs, three cats, three rats and work part time with my husband on our 560 acre organic farm on the Cotswolds, which we rent from The National Trust. We have a 70 cow beef suckler herd, a breeding flock of 350 ewes and grow arable crops.
I also have a contract with the National Trust to help with the management of their herd of conservation grazing cattle which are used to manage limestone grassland sites in and around the Cotswold hills for the benefit of their rich plant and invertebrate communities and this has been an ideal opportunity to see "self-medication" in action.
How to book a consultation
I am available for consultations in Gloucestershire and the Hereford/Oxon/Wilts/Worcs borders in person and will accept clients from anywhere in the world by post although it is important that overseas clients make sure that they comply with the veterinary law regarding use of complementary therapies for animals in their own country if applicable.
If you would like to book a home consultation please call or e-mail me to arrange an appointment and to discuss obtaining veterinary permission for me to do an assessment on your animal.
Please Click here to view a printable consultation form.
Please Click here to download the consultation form (66Kb) in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.
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For postal consultations please fill in the consultation form with as much detail as you can. The more you can tell me the more accurate picture I can build up so please spend as much time as you need to think about the problem and include anything you feel may be helpful, however trivial it may first appear!
Send the form to me along with a recent picture of your animal (digital pictures are fine, either printed off or sent via e-mail) and a piece of your animals' hair loose in a separate envelope and marked with the animals name and the date you took it. The hair sample only needs to be approx. 3cm or so long and the thickness of a pencil for most animals and even just a few hairs for small animals such as rabbits, hamsters etc. is fine.
Please include a cheque made out to Pauhla Whitaker for £50 for dogs, cats and other small animals and £55 for horses.
Paypal is the most convenient and simple method of payment and is free for you. Please note the only other payment methods I can accept is payment in Sterling by bankers draft or by cheque drawn on a UK bank account or by direct transfer to my bank account. Please contact me for my account details if you wish to use this method.
I feel it is important to state clearly my fee structure and what you can expect from me. I charge £50 for dogs, cats and other small animals and £55 for horses, which includes the initial consultation, the assessment by kinesiology and any oils and topical treatments indicated by this. Travelling is charged at 45p per mile but there is no travelling charge for consultations within 10 miles of my home.
Your animal may go off the oils after a period of time and if the condition has not resolved this is often an indication that those oils have done their work and a different selection will now be more effective in which case it will be necessary to do a further kinesiology assessment. The charge for this is £30 with further oils and topical treatments priced individually according to content but advice and support is free and unlimited!
AnimOILS Essential Oil Therapy Workshops
I run regular one-day "Introduction to Essential Oil Therapy for Animals" workshops for groups, or on a one-to-one tuition basis, for people who are interested in learning how to use essential oils safely, for the benefit of their animals both large and small. Workshops are held on our organic farm on the Cotswold Hills near Gloucester and are designed to be informative, hands-on and fun and include practical work on a variety of animals and an opportunity to make up a set of oils for you to take home for the animal of your choice. More in-depth two-day courses are available on request and cover a further range of essential oils plus a more in depth introduction to kinesiology (muscle testing) to help refine the selection of appropriate oils for the individual animal. Please note that these workshops are an introduction only and you may only legally treat animals you own. The information given in workshops is not intended to be a replacement for proper veterinary diagnosis and care.
What do the Workshops Cover?
Workshops are held on our organic farm on the Cotswold hills near Gloucester and are designed to be informative, hands-on and fun and will cover the following...
The course fee is £75 and includes tuition, refreshments, lunch and a comprehensive course manual plus a certificate of attendance.Please contact me for an information pack, booking form and list of available dates.
Talks and Lecture/Demos
I am very happy to take bookings for evening or daytime talks to groups and for half day informal "taster" lecture/demos at livery yards or for dog training clubs, riding clubs and other organisations as well as more informal talks for groups of horse or pet owners. If you are interested then please contact me for more information.