The Brain is an Interesting Thing…
Quite possibly, we will never truly know the full inner workings of the brain and nervous system. In veterinary medicine, although there are a few “rules” that always seem to apply – the nervous system will make sure to provide us with cases that seem to make no sense. Sure, the nerves still don’t function in a predictable manner, so we are able to localize a lesion to the brain or “in front of” or “behind” the symptom of question. But, short of physical changes affecting the nerves, it can be difficult to accurately diagnose the exact cause of a neurologic issue at times.
These mystery situations seem to mirror themselves in the world of treatments, including essential oils. One treatment that may seem to really help one animal who may be experiencing seizures, may indeed be the same thing that seems to promote seizures in another animal.
This may leave us to a situation of “just try it”…to see if something is of benefit or not. NeuroBalance Diffusion Blend is often helpful to most animals, however, there are those few who have “imperfect results” from essential oil use. For example, we may see that with essential oils – diffusion may create different results from topical applications – and visa versa. Although in general, diffusion is a wonderful way to have a low and more continuous easy exposure to beneficial essential oils, there are those animals that seem to do better with topical applications alone. Then, there are animals who thrive on having exposure to both methods. We may also see situations that are a bit perplexing. Such as a dog who may have shorter and less intense seizures while using essential oils, but may actually (in terms of numbers) have more seizures. This is just the oddity of the brain and nervous system. And, medically, we decide which is better for the animal. A greater number of shorter, less intense seizures…or more severe seizures less often. My vote is usually in support of shorter, less intense seizures – even if they are occurring a bit more often. Naturally, not all animals will respond in this way, and a great majority of animals show marked improvement.
What is NeuroBalance?
NeuroBalance is the combination of the “extra” essential oils that are added to KittyBoost to create the topical product of NeuroBoost. NeuroBalance Diffusion Blend is only intended for Diffusion – and should not be applied topically. Read more about Water-Based Diffusion HERE.
The essential oils within NeuroBalance are a combination of the oils we saw benefit the neurologic system the most. Diffusion is a powerful and easy method to have a more continuous exposure and absorption of essential oils – and whenever possible – I try to have it be part of a regimen for any animal experiencing neurologic issues of any sort.
NeuroBalance is safe to diffuse for all animals, and even those without neurologic issues in a household, can safely benefit from the diffusion.
What Neurologic Conditions are Supported with NeuroBalance?
Clinically, there are many different reasons a neurologic issue may be present. With Spondylosis, Wobblers, or various other vertebral defects – the body may have a physical aspect – such as calcium or bone deposition, or even a tumor – pushing on the nerves creating the symptoms. This can be a far different scenario than strictly a “lesion” on a nerve. The immune system can attack nerves, there can be genetic or dietary predispositions to seizures, Epilepsy, trauma caused by an injury, viral or bacterial infections, idiopathic causes (meaning we have absolutely no idea what is wrong), and so many other reasons for neurologic symptoms.
In my veterinary experience, almost any neurologic condition can benefit from diffusion of essential oils. Cats with seizures, head tilts, vestibular disease, head trauma and more are definitely great candidates. However, it is fairly common to see Cerebellar Hypoplasia (an under-developed brain portion) in response to a Parvo Virus (feline distemper) infection in the mother cat during pregnancy. These kittens shake with “intention tremors” and often walk a bit “kitty-wampus”, wobbling, or falling over. These kittens are just fine really, and have no real handicap. Essential oils do not help this condition much, because there is truly a lack of the brain region that is responsible for their coordination. This will not return, however if inflammation or other issues are present – then essential oils can help to support the resolution of those signs. But, it is good to know what is realistic to expect or not. With cats – I would often use NeuroBalance Diffusion Blend along with NeuroBoost topical applications.
Birds and other exotic animals can also experience a wide range of neurologic symptoms and conditions. Almost every animal can suffer from seizures, in rabbits we can see head tilts secondary to bacterial infections, birds can suffer neurologic symptoms from PDD (Proventricular Dilatation Disease which may be connected with Bornavirus), and some birds even can display “toe tapping” and other behaviors believed to be neurologically connected. Water-Based Diffusion is one of the best ways for exotic animals of all sorts to be exposed safely to essential oils. Again, response to essential oil use in these situations, greatly depends on the cause of the neurologic symptoms – so working with a veterinarian to obtain an accurate diagnosis is very important. There have been many people who have confused Metabolic Bone Disease in reptiles as a neurologic concern – when it truly is not. Many of these animals can use both NeuroBalance Diffusion Blend as well as NeuroBoost. Please see the NeuroBoost page for additional information.
Dogs can also suffer from a wide range of neurologic conditions. Seizures (from a large variety of causes) and Vestibular Disease are likely the most common conditions we encounter – but really almost any neurologic condition can experience a benefit through essential oil use – even with basic diffusion alone. Conditions such as weakness of the hind end due to Spondylosis (boney deposition and arthritic changes in the spine) – are unlikely to change with diffusion as they are more of a physical ailment – and are particularly influenced by the actual impingement of the nerve. In these cases, diffusion is less likely to be seen as much of a benefit, and topical applications should be considered. Although it is never “wrong” to also diffusion NeuroBalance for a physical neurologic case, it is just unrealistic to expect huge results through this application. Working with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis is again important.
How fast should I see results?
Neurologic issues are among the slowest healing (nerves heal VERY slowly) – so it is important to recognize that we may be waiting a few months on a new regimen before we see changes. Most often – we do see results faster, but I never give up until I have tried something for at least 3 months – especially for more chronic conditions. If a dog has experienced seizures for 5 years, I will generally consider myself to have 5 months of really hard work and “body building” to start to influence the body towards a healing state instead of a state of symptoms. This will also include diet evaluation and changes, whole food supplements, and more – as described in the Foundation of Health.
Sometimes acceptable results to me also include the absence of “decline”. So if typically one of my patients required an increase in medications every few months, the fact that I can hold them at a steady dosage is a win in my book. This is also the case for symptoms. If an animal who was typically getting worse and worse – might now be holding steady is a huge victory.
What if my animal is on medications?
We have used NeuroBalance Diffusion Blend with animals on all sorts of different treatments – from potent anti-seizure medications to herbal preparations. We have never encountered a detrimental interaction through the proper use of essential oils in these patients, however it is important for your veterinarian to recognize that as natural support is given, less of a particular drug may be needed for an individual animal. For animals who are supported clinically with traditional medications, I would say it is rare for them to completely “get off” of medications. However, it is common that symptom severity improves, and less medication will be necessary. If animals continue to get too much medication when it is no longer needed – then we can see side effects related to the over-dosing of the medication.