Aromatherapy has become a favorite de-stressing trend and with it came the increasing demand for essential oils not just for use in aromatherapy clinics and wellness centers but also for the home.
Although these oils are handy to have around the house, there are safety guidelines we should remember when using them.
. Do an allergy test before applying liberal amounts of oil on your skin. Apply a small, diluted amount in the crook of your arm or the back of your neck and wait for at least twelve hours. If irritation occurs, try diluting the oil some more or look for a suitable substitute.
. Read instructions and warnings on the label before using. Only use the recommended dosage unless advised otherwise by a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
. Be extra careful in using essential oils that are irritating to mucous membranes. Avoid using oils near the ear and eye area.
. Remember to wash your hands after handling undiluted essential oils.
. Some essential oils are photosensitizing and will result to an uneven pigmentation of the skin if immediately exposed to ultraviolet rays after use. Only apply these oils at night, or if you cannot avoid using them during the day, wait at least four hours before exposing yourself to sunlight.
. It is not advisable to immediately apply essential oils to the skin after heavy perspiration.
. Store your essential oils in a place where young children will not be able to get hold of them easily. This will prevent cases of accidental poisoning or irritation.
. Don't use the same essential oil for long periods of time; sometimes this might cause certain chemicals to accumulate in your system and cause harm. Experiment and alternate with different oils.
. DO NOT ingest essential oils without proper medical supervision. Essential oils are usually for external use only.
. Take extra care in using essential oils with elderly people or those afflicted with serious health problems such as heart disease.
. Consult with your doctor first if you are pregnant. There are certain essential oils that must be avoided if you are with child. Make sure you know what are and aren't safe to use during pregnancy.
. If some oil accidentally gets into your eyes, or if an undiluted amount spills on your skin and it gets irritated, just wash off immediately with lots of water. Check with your doctor if the irritation persists. Head to the nearest hospital or poison center if it is accidentally swallowed.
. It is important to be very familiar with the effects of the oil you are using. There are certain oils that are sedatives and must be avoided before doing certain activities such as driving or drinking alcohol (certain oils can intensify drunkenness). There are also other oils that have the opposite stimulating effect and must be avoided before bedtime to prevent sleeplessness.
. Remember that essential oils are flammable. Be cautious when using candles. Do not place oils near open flame.
. Certain oils mustn't be used if you are taking prescription medications or if you have a health condition such as high blood pressure or if you are prone to epileptic seizures. Check with your doctor first.
. Just remember to use any essential oil in moderation. Overexposure could lead to skin irritations or even nausea and light-headedness. Getting lots of fresh air can usually cure excessive inhalation of these oils.
Caution: It is best if you use these essential oils as recommended - or under the supervision of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Essential oils are highly concentrated. Moderation is the most important thing to keep in mind.
Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils to:
1) help create and maintain a healthy body and mind
2) assist the body in healing itself both physically and emotionally
3) ease levels of stress and anxiety
4) act as beauty aids and toners
Essential oils may be:
1) Applied directly to the skin
2) Applied to the skin after being diluted in a base (carrier) oil
3) Inhaled directly from the bottle
4) Diffused into the surrounding air
5) Added to a bath (neat or blended with base oil)
6) Massaged into the body after blending with a base oil
Always remember to use 100% pure and natural essential oils when practicing aromatherapy. Use of any diluted or adulterated oils will not have the positive benefits associated with true oil.