Aromatherapy can give you some big-time benefits, but only if you approach it the right way. Things like Facebook and Pinterest have given everyone a platform to share information — but, unfortunately, most people aren’t aromatherapy experts. That means they may be giving you advice that’s downright dangerous!
I’ve got formal aromatherapy training, and I’ve spent more than 15 years practicing as a certified aromatherapist. As a result, I know that some of the advice you see floating around out there can come with serious consequences.
Take lemon oil as an example. You’ve probably seen people spouting off all the benefits of it, but if you add even just a few drops into your water glass and drink it on a daily basis, it can burn your mouth, esophagus, and digestive tract! Yes, essential oils are all-natural, but their chemical composition can be toxic if you don’t use them the right way.
So, what IS the right way to use essential oils?
If you want to make sure you’re using your essential oils safely, stick to these 5 rules:
1. NEVER use an essential oil internallyThere is very special training that goes into legitimate internal essential oil usage, and most essential oil sales reps haven’t gotten it! Just because you know someone has some aromatherapy training under their belt doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gotten this detailed instruction. Before you ingest anything, make sure your expert really is an expert. Find out where and how he was trained because it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
2. NEVER apply an undiluted essential oil to your skinIf you’ve read any of my recipes for massage lotions and foot scrubs, you’ve seen that I always tell you to use a carrier oil . That way, you can dilute the essential oils so that they don’t burn your skin. Or, if you’re using your essential oils in the bathtub, you can get the same effect by mixing them with sea salts, Epsom salt, or milk first. That way, the oils won’t be able to float on the surface of the water and irritate your skin.
Avoid the following essential oils in the bath: basil, black pepper, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, marjoram, oregano, thyme, peppermint, lemongrass and orange.
In case of emergencies, you can use these essential oils undiluted: Tea tree, lavender, and chamomile Roman. They are all safe enough to use a SINGLE undiluted drop on a cut or burn to help prevent infection.
3. ALWAYS find out how long you can safely use and how to dilute a particular oilEven after they’re diluted, some essential oils can only be used on your skin for a short period of time. In most cases, this applies to the spicy oils — like basil, black pepper, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, marjoram, oregano, and thyme. If you’re getting a recipe from a legitimate aromatherapist, it will come with instructions as to how often and how much you can use the mixture.
4. NEVER use phototoxic essential oils on your skin before exposing it to the sunJust because they’re all-natural doesn’t mean that your essential oils can’t react with other things and situations. For example, some essential oils — including, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cumin, and bergamot — can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays. So, if you’re headed off on a beach vacation (or even just a trip to the tanning bed!), don’t use these oils beforehand.
The lesson here? It’s important to learn how your essential oils can react before you use them. This is yet another reason to only operate under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist, instead of random advice online!
5. ALWAYS be cautious when it comes to children and pregnant women
Some essential oils — including birch, carrot seed, cinnamon bark, fennel, hyssop, myrrh, oregano, and sage — should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
For the first 24 months of your kid’s life, you’ll need to do some extra dilution before you apply any essential oils to his skin. For kids between 3 months and 24 months old, you should use three drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil. Remember, your baby’s skin is much more sensitive than yours, so you’ve got to be extra-careful!
Bottom line — when done correctly, aromatherapy is something that your entire family can benefit from. By taking advantage of these practical, economical tips, you’ll be able to enjoy some great perks without putting your family at risk!
Whether you’re looking for the very best aromatherapy expertise or the very best essential oils, you’ll find it at Aromandina!
© 2015, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.