Let’s Talk Essential Oil & Aromatherapy Safety

Let's Talk Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Safety
September 20, 2018 Leave your thoughts

Respect and Aromatherapy Responsibly

Respecting aromatherapy and essential oil safety is imperative. As with anything you use, educate yourself about what you are using, why you are using it, how to properly use it for what you need and when to use it. With so many companies and brands in the marketplace nowadays, its hard to distinguish what real from what’s synthetic, or half synthetic. In addition to these quality conundrums, safety is also a big concern, as many people who have not received formal aromatherapy training may not be aware that there are numerous concerns, precautions and contraindications to know before you use. Aromatherapy is amazing and a powerful tool to help balance our mind, mood, emotions and physicality. However, as a clinical aromatherapists for over 15 years, please be responsible.

Essential oils can be up to 100 times more potent than its herbal counterpart, thus, much respect should be given and exercised. An important part of every class and course we teach, and during each consult we offer, we train our students and clients to use their scentillect™. Knowing what you need, is half of the equation. The other half is cross-referencing contraindications, allergies, sensitivities, health and skin integrity, age and precautions with precautions with the each essential oil and botanical ingredients you are using.

 

Safety Guidelines

For me personally and professionally in my phyto-aromatherapy business, I have adopted the safety guidelines presented by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.  To share some of the most important with you, I’ve included the list with some additional safety tips and added thoughts. You can see the full list at https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety.

  • Be responsible and educated.
  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of children, pets and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments.
  • Essential oils are fat soluble, not water soluble. Therefore, the best way to use them is to dilute in a fat-based carrier or emulsifier such as coconut or olive oil.
  • Keep a carrier close by when blending or using essential oils on the skin. If there is an irritation or if it splashes into your eyes, dilute in a fat-soluble base such as olive (or other vegetable) oil, Vegenaise™, milk form or avocado. Do not flush it out with water, as this can make it worse.
  • Use caution and avoid certain essential oils with those having a serious health condition such as heart disease or epilepsy. Refer to the Safety Data Sheet or Contraindication list (check out our Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide for a more detailed list).
  • Use caution with highly skin irritant essential oils such as cinnamon, clove, oregano and thyme.
  • Use caution with essential oil exposure during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester and in high-risk pregnancies. Make sure you are educated in the oils you are using, their properties, chemistry and contraindications. Avoid anti-galactagogues while breast-feeding.
  • Citrus essential oils that are cold-pressed are photosensitive or phototoxic. This means that they may cause pigmentation and discoloration to the skin when exposed to direct sunlight (we go into more details in the chemistry section). Therefore, it is recommended to avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds approximately 24-hours after topical application of photosensitizing oils to the skin.
  • Make sure the area you are diffusing oils is well ventilated, especially if you have pets, children or anyone with serious health conditions.

 

On The Topic of Ingestion: Safe vs. Not Safe

This is a very hot and sensitive topic, depending on who you ask. Since you are reading my blog, I’ll share my two cents.  I am happy to see that more health organizations and aromatherapy trailblazers, such as Salvatore Battaglia, are bringing a light and awareness to this important topic. The Queensland Health Organization in Australia sharing the importance of understanding about essential oil ingestion dangers. As a holistic health educator and clinical aromatherapist for almost 20 years, I get asked this question A LOT from family, friends, students, colleagues and aromatherapy enthusiasts. Inhalation of essential oils has been proven time and again to be the most powerful way to inspire, encourage, activate and balance physiological, psychological and biochemical shifts in the mind and body. Topical applications, as well, are a form of “topical ingestion”. Whatever you put on your skin, absorbs into the bloodstream.
 
Personally, in my own healing journey and helping others with their health journey, ingestion has not been a practice needed to promote and experience positive, effective and sustaining results. I don’t see the need to use essential oils internally on a regular basis (numerous drops every single day) since inhalation is a more powerful form of implementing aromatherapy. In addition, topical applications are a form of topical ingestion, thus it gets into your bloodstream and delivers a response within the body.  Not to say, there are some instances of a well-formulated and diluted tincture containing properly emulsified essential oils, that can offer some health benefit from well established integrative centers. There may be certain times, for very specific situations, when properly diluted essential oils may be used internally, such as a severe cough or laryngitis. You are responsible for you. If you choose to use essential oils internally, I recommend you get formal training or work with a highly trained, Professional or Clinical Aromatherapist, or Medical Professional.
With the increase of promoting ingestion of essential oils, I can only hope that one is highly educated and understands the risks and contraindications, as well as the current health state of their anatomy and physiology. Unfortunately, I know this is not the case quite often as the number of calls and emails to me and fellow colleagues have increased about the detrimental consequences one experiences after choosing an uneducated ingestion practice. For example, someone with compromised kidney function or failure, should heed extreme caution with any form of ingestion of essential oils, as the kidneys are an essential organ for excreting them (with all application methods). Not to mention we hold the emotion of fear in the kidneys, so this can be exasperated during times of kidney adn urinary system overload. 
 
Education is key. It is imperative and vital. Not ignorance or arrogance. Aromatherapy practices have been around for thousands of years, and have been done safely for health needs. When unhealthy practices overshadow the true health benefits, intended to enhance quality of life and living, this puts a black eye on the entire industry. For some of us, this is our business, our career, our life’s work and legacy. There is no way to “police” the ethics and standards one chooses to implement in their personal life and business practices. But hopefully, with more education and awareness from our “aromatherapy mentors” and “aromatherapy influencers”, we can change the tide to encourage and empower with education, certification and thorough understanding. Thanks Salvatore for shedding light on this important topic.

To get certified in aromatherapy, check out our certification programs. We also have a reference book available – JennScents Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide.

 

Disclaimers:

Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. It is recommended that if serious health issues exist, you consult a licensed medical provider. JennScents does not assume liability or responsibility for the use and/or misuse of this information.

The information shared was created solely by Certified Clinical Phyto-Aromatherapist & Aromapreneur™, Jennifer H. Pressimone. Copyright2018. No portion of this content may be reproduced, shared, or copied without written permission from the author. Any such reproduction in any form would constitute plagiarism.

References: This blog contains excerpts from JennScents Aromaversity Certification Courses and the JennScents Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back to Blog • Categorized in: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *