Taking Aromatherapy With You in the Car
Since space is limited, and things can easily become lost under a seat or in the clutter that inevitably happens during long car trips (especially on trips with small children), a little organization and planning can help keep your essential oil necessities accessible and ready to use the moment they are needed. To keep them handy, you can:
- Place a few essential oils you may use in the car in 5/8 dram vials. Put these small vials in a small zip-top bag or small case. Keep this bag or case in the glove-compartment or in a convenient dashboard tray, seat pocket, or cup-holder for quick and easy access.
- Make several types of wipes or tissues and place them in small, zip-top bags, labeled with what they are. Place all of the smaller bags in a larger zip-top bag and place this in the glove-compartment, or a convenient seat pocket where they can be easily accessed.
- Make a car diffuser, or use a commercially available car diffuser, battery operated diffuser, or terra cotta air freshener to diffuse different oils throughout your trip.
Keeping the constant vigilance needed to safely drive and arrive at your destination requires an alert mind. According to the
Reference Guide for Essential Oils, by Connie and Alan Higley, peppermint, basil, lemon, and rosemary essential oils applied to the temples and bottoms of feet can help with alertness. Diffusing invigorating oils such as these in the car can also help. Carol Schiller and David Schiller also recommend in their book, 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy, using small 4 oz. spray bottles with an invigorating blend of essential oils (such as 110 drops peppermint, 35 drops cinnamon, 35 drops lime, and 20 drops patchouli in 4 oz. of water) to mist in the car to help keep the driver alert (being careful not to spray this mixture around the eyes) (pg. 86). If the driver is feeling very tired, they should stop driving and take a break.
In order to help alleviate the motion sickness that many people experience during car trips, Kurt Schnaubelt recommends using a drop of
peppermint oil placed on a sugar cube and then eaten. He also recommends scenting the air in the car with a few drops of peppermint to lengthen the stomach-calming effect of the peppermint oil (Advanced Aromatherapy, pg. 104). It can also help to keep looking outside, to open a window to get fresh air into the car, or to close your eyes until the feelings of sickness subside. Oils that help with car sickness are peppermint, ginger, nutmeg, and spearmint. Apply to feet, temples, and wrists. (see the Reference Guide to Essential Oils)
Staying Cool and Refreshed
While traveling during the summer months, especially when the car has been parked in the hot sun for a while, even a good air conditioner in the car doesn’t always work fast enough to keep you cool. Several essential oils that have a cooling effect include
angelica, citrus oils, eucalyptus, lavender, melaleuca, mountain savory, peppermint, Roman chamomile, and spruce (Reference Guide for Essential Oils). Diffuse these oils in the car, place a few drops in a small spray bottle filled with water to spray in the car (being careful not to spray close to people’s eyes), or create your own cooling wipes to use on the skin. You can also try adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to a glass or metal water bottle filled with water and drink slowly. If you don't have a glass or metal water bottle, try putting a drop of peppermint in your mouth, then as the oil fills your mouth, drink it down with water. Because some oils can break down plastic materials, especially thin plastics often used in making disposable water bottles, it is best to avoid putting oils in plastic water bottles.
Keeping Children Busy and Calm
Those who have traveled with young children know that it can be challenging keeping their attention focused on things other than how long and boring it is sitting in the same position for so long. Books, travel games, and portable video players are often used to help alleviate this boredom, but activities such as these that keep eyes focused on one spot inside the car can often lead to feelings of car sickness in many people. Some activities that can help keep young eyes focused outside the car and thinking about other things include:
- Wildlife Search: When traveling through areas where animals are likely to be seen, offer small rewards for the first person to see a certain type of animal. You can also offer a reward to the person who sees the most varieties of animals.
- Alphabet Game: When traveling through areas where there are many signs, try to find each letter of the alphabet in order. You can let children work together to see how fast they can complete the alphabet, or compete against each other to see who can complete their alphabet first.
- I Spy: This classic game works great when traveling through areas where there are many different things to see, but doesn't work so well when traveling through areas where everything is the same (like through a forest or through wheat fields). To play this game, have one player choose an object they see outside the car, then give a clue such as, "I spy something that is red." The other players then try to guess what the object is. The player who first correctly guesses the object gets to choose the next object.
- Trip Memory: This variation of a classic memory game works well when there are a variety of objects to see outside the car. To play, the first player chooses an object outside the car (such as a tree), then says, "On the way to (wherever you are going), I saw a tree (or whatever object they saw)". The next player then adds a different object that they see by saying, "On the way to Kalamazoo, I saw a tree, and a rock". Players continue to add to the list, saying each object on the list in the correct order, until one person makes a mistake. That person is out, and play continues until all players have been eliminated (or you can choose to start over as soon as one person makes a mistake).
- Car Bingo: Make simple bingo cards using objects likely to be seen on a car trip (such as a telephone pole, semi-truck, police car, tree, house, train tracks, etc.) in each of the squares. Have the children mark off each item when they see it. Offer small rewards to those who get bingo, or complete their entire card.
Other activities to divert young minds can include singing favorite songs, talking about what their favorite things are (favorite animal, food, movie, etc.), counting objects outside the car (such as trucks, cows, trees, etc.), or taking a nap.
If children are having a hard time calming down in the car, some essential oils that can help include
lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, myrrh, Roman chamomile, onycha (benzoin), tangerine, western red cedar, and ylang ylang. These oils can be used in a massage oil, a wipe, or in a personal inhaler.
- I always take peace and calming and lavender with me on road trips when I have my son in the car. Rub a little on his feet and he is content for the drive. Its hard to take long road trip with a 2 year old in the car but it has helped tons. - Nikki Hainline
- Always always have a small glass spray bottle of thieves with distilled water to clean hands and disinfect along the way. Especially after bathroom stops!!! - Jess Eddy
- I have a designated "Restroom bag" contents include Thieves foaming hand soap ( I do not trust the pink soap in bathrooms) Thieves hand sanitizer and spray, and a bottle of purification. I definitely leave a bathroom cleaner and smelling nicer than the way I found it. - Anonymous, Twin Falls, Idaho
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