Aromatherapy is defined as the controlled application of essential oils in a conscientious way to maintain health and enliven body, mind and spirit. However, if the oils are misused, abused or used inappropriately by an uninformed individual there can be potential hazards. Education is the first key to successful phytotherapy and there is much literature on the subject. The following are a few guidelines of the appropriate use of essential oils.
Essential Oils are very concentrated
It is advisable to dilute all essential oils before applying to the skin. Some Essential oils, such as Lavender are regarded as safe to apply directly to the skin. Never apply more than 1-2 drops of undiluted, or “neat” Essential Oil to your skin. Patch testing is always advisable. Test oils diluted if working with sensitive skin.
Some citrus oils such as Lemon and Bergamot should not be used just prior to and during sunbathing because they are phototoxic (may produce a change in skin pigmentation on exposure to ultra-violet light).
Dermatitis, skin allergies and sensitivities can be treated effectively with properly diluted oils that have been recommended for the condition. A 1% dilution is safe and effective or contact a professional for a suggested treatment. Suggested dilution for children 3 years and older is 1%. For example, 1 tsp of chosen carrier oil and 1 drop of essential oil, this can be halved for children under the age of 3.
In pregnancy there are many safe oils that when applied correctly in massage or baths can relieve many discomforts such as nausea and back pain. Extra care must be taken with essential oil use during this time and it is advisable to consult a professional aroma therapist or research suggested use of oils.
Keep Essential Oils away from EYES and Mucous Membranes
Do not use Essential oils directly on the eyes and in compresses use at a low dilution.
If an essential oil gets into the eye area, do not rub it.
Saturate a cotton ball with whole milk or vegetable oil and apply to affected area or flush persistently with tepid water for at least 10 minutes.
Steam inhalation should NOT be used by, or administered to, Asthmatics.
If using Homeopathic it is best to check with your Doctor when using Essential oils. Many oils are thought to antidote this type of therapy, such as Black Pepper, Peppermint and Eucalyptus.
Contamination of some essential oils may include pesticides especially with expressed citrus oils. Adulteration of essential oils may include synthetic compounds. Thus there is a high potential that otherwise safe oil may be toxic.
Overexposure to Essential oils, especially in confined areas, could well produce symptoms of dizziness, nausea, light headiness, headache, blood sugar imbalances, irritability, euphoria. When exposed to high levels of essential oils make sure to keep the room well ventilated.
Seek Essential Oil Guidance
When choosing to work with Essential oils for therapeutic results it is advised to seek the counsel and guidance of a trained professional Aroma therapist. We also suggest you only buy essential oils from reputable companies.
Remember ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’. Larger doses, as well as proving a danger, may negate the possible therapeutic effect that can be had from a recommended dose. This is a ‘subtle’ therapy.
When using oils therapeutically over an extended period it is advisable to take a break for 24 –48 hours and drink plenty of water to aid in elimination of toxins.
Know the difference between a Fragrance oil and an Essential oil. Certain oils do not exist in nature such as Honeysuckle. Likewise many oils are highly adulterated, such as Melissa. Some oils are diluted. Know what you are paying for.
As with other medications keep Essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
Oxygen, Heat and Light will all affect the validity and potency of your Essential oil. Store Essential oils is a cool, dark room and always keep your oils tightly sealed.
How to do a proper skin patch test
Begin by washing and thoroughly drying the area chosen to apply your prepared scented or therapeutic massage oil or pure Essential oil. Areas preferred are the crook of your arm, your forearm or behind the earlobe. If testing massage oil a small piece of gauze or cotton is needed.
Apply a small amount of the massage oil to the forearm area. Cover with your gauze or cotton. Leave for 24 hours, unless irritation is noticeable before, in which case a cotton puff dipped well into whole milk or vegetable oil and wiped over the area, will usually subside any minor reaction. As well, thoroughly wash the area once again with soap and water.
With a pure Essential oil you can merely place a small drop in the crook of your arm, close your arm with a hand to shoulder movement and wait 3-5 minute. If there is any sign of stinging immediately use your saturated cotton puff with milk or oil and follow with a thorough washing to the area.