Most people think that usage of essential oils (EO) are safe because they are natural. For the most part they are very safe but I have learned through my journey toward certification as an Aromatherapist that there are precautions needed.
Topical: As a rule, if being used topically EO's should be accompanied with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is usually vegetable based, i.e. Coconut or Jojoba Oil. Do not apply “neat” which means that the oil is applied on it's own. This can lead to sensitivity and once that happens you can never use that oil again. If in doubt, do a skin patch test first and wait 24 hours to rule out sensitivity.
Diffused: Be sure to use only essential oils with the diffuser and purified water. Also, DO NOT use a blend with a carrier oil or add carrier oil to the diffuser.
Oral: In most cases it is best to consult with your doctor before using any oil for consumption. Not all oils can be ingested. If you are going to experiment with this check the bottle for usage. If there isn’t an indicator do not ingest.
Age: Precautions for Babies and the Elderly need to be adhered to. Always double the dilution of adults to a 1-10 ratio. If you are in doubt whether the oil is safe or not defer to your doctor or an aromatherapist.
Medical Conditions: When we are recommending EO’s for a client submit a protocol and ask for doctor approval. If your doctor isn’t familiar with Essential Oils, enlist an aromatherapist with the process. We want to make sure there aren’t any interactions with medications or any contraindications that would make an already existing condition worse. If you are personally caring for a loved one, please ask their doctor for approval. There are oils that can harm certain conditions. Thyme for example is not recommended for individuals with high blood pressure. If you doctor doesn’t know, seek out the expertise of an Aromatherapist. Take into consideration any allergies: (I.E. I have a friend who is allergic to black pepper and coconut. I certainly wouldn’t recommend anything with either of those to constituents).
Medications and supplemental use: Beware of using oils on individuals on Coumadin, please get doctors approval for this one especially. If you have a client with an extensive health issue best to be safe than sorry. If in doubt do a small patch test and wait 24 hours to evaluate for a reaction.
Dosage: Most often, less is more in the EO world. Take lavender, it has sedative qualities but given too much will produce the opposite effect.
Purity of the oil: This is one of the most important aspects and I can’t emphasize it enough. Unadulterated oils have both the botanical name (which will convey its origin of growth) and its common name. Look for oils that are organic and that have passed rigorous testing for purity and proper extraction. Price is also an indicator. This is an instance when you get what you pay for. Do not skimp. A quality oil has a good shelf life if properly stored and goes a long way. Using adulterated oils can do more harm than good.
Duration of use: Oils leave the body after 4 hours. It is best to re-apply and use consistently until the issue you are dealing with has been resolved. EOs do not cure an illness, they support your body to do the work it was meant to do and heal itself. That is why EOs are so effective.
Essential Oils are a great supplement to any medical protocol and for support overall good health which is why becoming a certified Aromatherapist is our way of ensuring that when we are recommending these for therapeutic benefits that we thoroughly understand the responsibility and science behind them. They are precious and so are our clients. In no way do we want to compromise either.
For more information on the use of essential oils schedule a consult today.
By Fran Piekarski
President, CEO and founder of Living Life with Dignity and Life with Dignity. A Certified Professional Guardian, expert in Hoarding Disorder, published author and speaker. Passionate about assisting and educating families and individuals with Mental Health issues and Dementia to create holistic, comprehensive solutions for care. "I strive to help those in these under served, under resourced communities uncover and support the best approach of care for their individual needs."