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Holistic therapies and homeopathic remedies have been gaining in popularity and use in recent years. I will reach for essential oils as an alternative before taking over-the-counter medicines. Even some hospitals have started to diffuse essential oils to reduce workplace stress and promote natural pain relief. Teachers can use essential oils in the classroom to help with student productivity and mood.
Disclaimer: Even though essential oils are touted as "all-natural", make sure you get permission from your administrator and check with the school nurse for any allergies or sensitivities your students might have. TeachersPayTeachers even has a free download for parental consent to use essential oils.
When choosing essential oils, make sure the label says "therapeutic grade". This means that the oil is pure and has not been diluted with other oils (unless specified) or alcohols. At first, you may balk at the high price of some essential oils. But remember that essential oils are highly concentrated, and you will only need 1-2 drops for it to be effective. A 15 mL bottle contains about 250 drops. It takes about 1,000 lemons to make 1 pound of lemon essential oil!
Although some essential oils are safe to use topically on the skin, I would not recommend putting essential oils on your students. It is much safer to diffuse the essential oils in the air, and everyone will still reap the benefits! You can purchase an inexpensive diffuser from your local health food store or from Amazon.
Here are some essential oil combinations you can use all day long:
1 drop Wild Orange + 1 drop Peppermint
Both Wild Orange and Peppermint are used to energize you. This is a good combination to use in the morning when your sleepy-head students are walking through the door and they need a little perking up.
1 drop Lemon + 2 drops Rosemary
Rosemary is your go-to oil for enhancing memory and concentration. Lemon aids in alertness. This essential oil blend will help you and your students stay on task.
2 drops Lavender + 1 drop Vetiver + 1 drop Cypress
Lavender is known for its calming and relaxing properties. Combined with Vetiver and Cypress will give it an earthy aroma that will help ground and balance your students' mood. This blend will be especially good after an exciting P.E. class or after an assembly when energy is running high.
2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops Clove + 2 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Melaleuca (commonly known as Tea Tree oil)
During cold and flu season, you can diffuse this essential oil blend to help your class stay healthy. Cinnamon, Clove, and Melaleuca have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Wild Orange helps mellow out this spicy scent. You can also make your own cleaning spray by adding the oils to a spray bottle and filling it with distilled water. Just shake well before each use.
2 drops Grapefruit + 1 drop Spruce
Anxiety about tests can be a real struggle. You want to help calm your students' fears without making them drowsy. Grapefruit and Spruce help to bring down stress levels, but also motivate and boost confidence.
I truly believe in the amazing benefits of essential oils. And anything I can use to help my students succeed, I will try out. During this past school year's Common Core state assessments, I diffused some essential oils while proctoring the test. Afterward, one of the students came up to me and asked what the mist was and if that was where the smell was coming from. She said how much she enjoyed the aroma, and how great she felt about taking the test. She even asked where she could get her own essential oils to help her concentrate on her homework. It might just be the power of suggestion, but I will keep using essential oils in my classroom.