What is Animal PsychAromatica?

Aromatic herbs and essential oils for dogs

APA philosophy

Animal PsychAromatica is an holistic animal healing system that has developed out of my years working with animals and aromatics. It addresses  the state of the psyche to increase health and well-being throughout the body.

When I first trained in animal aromatherapy I was working with problem horses. My focus was on using the aromatics for behaviour and stress management, but I quickly noticed that physical problems also cleared up when horses and dogs took oils. To me it  was clear evidence of how the psyche influences the body: as the stress reduced the body could heal.  I also came to understand that if oils were offered and environmental stresses were not removed the aromatics were much less effective.  So off I went and studied up on stress and how it effects the body, and “Wow” it all made sense.

The foundation of the Animal PsychAromatic philosophy is my belief that most of what we call disease could be prevented if we take care of the early signs of stress in the body or mind. To reduce stress, we must understand what causes it in the body and mind, create a healthy environment for that animal and prevent illness before it happens. The tools we use to do this are:

  1. Essential oils, hydrosols and herbal oils (aromatics) using animal self-selection (zoopharmacognosy) to relieve stress and re-balance body and mind
  2. 5 Element theory, which is an holistic way to understand the individual needs of an animal, balance the bio-system and understand the root of dis-ease
  3. Understanding the mechanisms of stress and how to reduce stress in the domestic environment
  4. Basic ethology and understanding the evolutionary development of animal behavior, their species appropriate needs and how can provide them.
  5.  Empowering humans with deeper understanding of their animals and simple tools they can use with their animals at home (aromatics).

Exploring the APA tools

1. Aromatics

Aromatics are a safe and effective solution for many common health and behaviour problems in domestic and captive animals, such as:

  • Stress, Allergies, Arthritis, Cushings Syndrome, Excema, Hormonal Problems, Metabolic Syndrome, Sweet itch, Skin problems, Laminitis,  Aches and Pains, Injuries, Immune disorders, Sarcoids, Warts, Aggression, Disobedience, Phobias & Fears, Separation Anxiety, Spookiness, Stereotypical Behaviour.

The aromatics we use are essential oils, hydrosols, and herbal oils. Each natural aromatic extract has its role and offers a wide range of healing solutions. We offer the aromatics for an animal to choose, using their instinctive ability to select what it needs to self-medicate (known scientifically as zoopharmacognosy). This supports the animal’s natural ability to self-heal.

As an added bonus, when you come to your dog/cat/horse/guinea pig and offer him a choice of aromatics, you are not just influencing the chemistry of mind and body, but reducing his stress levels. Working together with your animals in a way they instinctively understand, enhances the bond of trust between you.

2. Traditional Chinese Medicine for animals

TCM is a holistic method that looks at the body as a unique eco-system that has its own seasons and climates, which need to stay in balance; it uses acupuncture, herbs, diet and physical exercises to help maintain this balance. The emphasis in TCM is on keeping the body healthy so that the question of illness does not arise. APA uses several of the principles of TCM, such as the importance of a balanced diet and free movement of energy within the meridians, but especially the 5 Element Theory.

The Five Element Theory is a way of understanding the causes and manifestations of physical and emotional problems in humans and animals. Understanding each Element and how it manifests at ease and in dis-ease, helps to give a clear idea of which essential oils, nutrition, and home environment will be most suitable for your animal. The Five Elements can be used to give insights into the root of pathologies and resolve many problems before they even begin.

Understanding physiological and mental stress

Stress, in the way we mean it here, is a natural response that helps to keep us all alive. The fight/flight response triggers a chemical cascade within the body that gives us the best possible chance of survival in the short term. Once the stress is removed the body returns to homeostasis and all is well. If the stress response does not turn off (chronic stress) there are all sorts of physical and psychological repurcussions in the body. For example, itchy skin, anxious behaviour, indigestion, incontinence, inflammation, slow healing can all be symptoms of stress.

Domesticity is often stressful for the animals we share it with. The most basic stress is not to have control over your own life. Add to that inappropriate food and lack of company and the stresses are building. APA shows you how to understand the mechanisms of stress and  what stress looks like, so we can reduce it. This immediately increases well-being.

Basic Ethology and species appropriate management

The first step to reducing stress is recognising the evolutionary requirements of an animal. Each species evolved over millions of years to become what it is today, their digestive system, their social behaviour and physical needs are all based on this. Domestication is a very short part of evolutionary history, so many of the demands of domestication such as diet, how we ask our animals to live, and our alien social customs, can cause mental or physical stress.

APA educates and advises owners how they can provide an ‘as natural’ lifestyle for their pets, even if they are living in a city apartment, thereby reducing many of the stresses which are the cause of illness and behaviour problems.

Essential oils for horses

What makes APA different?

APA is for those who seriously want their animals to shine with health. It also aligns with other healing modalities to take them even deeper. It is not human aromatherapy translated for use with non-humans, but a system that is designed specifically for domestic and captive animals, based on a deeper understanding of their needs and how they naturally interact with aromatics in the wild.

APA thinks that the animal guardian should be empowered to care for their animals, not rely on outside experts, so an APA practitioner guides the animal parent in the safe use of the aromatics, and how to interpret the responses they are seeing. This often leads to healing for both human and non-human as they work together and humans learn to listen to and trust their four-legged friends, who then feel heard and respected. For me, this is the greatest joy of this system.

Many problems with animals are just a matter of perception. Sometimes humans interpret natural behaviour wrongly, or do not understand the message the behaviour is trying to convey. An APA practitioner in a consultation can help you understand what your animal’s behaviour means and give you simple solutions to every problem.

If you would like to learn more about how APA can help your animals check out our online courses. There’s one for every level of interest, including a Practitioner certificate course.

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