Aromatherapy is not black and white, or an always or never modality. What do I mean by that? A quick visit to social media groups can leave you dizzy with information, some of it is erroneous; hearing statements like never use on babies, never take internally, and always dilute are commonplace.
There are times when scientific fact is misunderstood, taken out of context, and times where being overly conservative comes as a result of learning information that may instill fear or uncertainty, especially on the Internet and social media. And while it is true that we should all (myself included) work from a space of education, knowledge, experience, and comfort level, knowing the facts is equally important.
Aromatherapy would not be where it is today if it were not for what some call vintage aromatherapists, those that have been in the field for decades. Were vintage aromatherapists practicing aromatherapy differently than it is today? That is a big question, not a simple yes or no answer. One thing we do know, there are absolutely differences in the realm of safety, as we simply did not know then what we know now. Just as in the allopathic model of medicine, new technologies and advances are constantly being made. Doctors consistently need to keep current on their education in order to not be left behind by the up and coming who are learning the latest and the greatest. It is equally important to keep learning and evolving in our education and our practice, learning never stops.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have deep heartfelt gratitude for every vintage aromatherapist out there. A few have been personal mentors of mine. These professionals have been incredibly gracious with me in my quest to learn all that I can. I relish in the various views and outlooks within aromatherapy. The breadth and depth is truly awe-inspiring. I would love to spend time with each and every one of them to absorb all that they have to offer me.
I have seen people treated unfavorably in the past as well as recently for their efforts. Just as we should not discredit a vintage aromatherapist who may have done some things differently 20 years ago, we should not discredit someone making a valiant effort to learn aromatherapy as it is today.
But hang in here with me to this very important point:
“You should not make up your own rules because you are not in the know about something” OR “Not be willing to be open with how things are constantly changing.”
Facebook is not the place to go for an aromatherapy education or consult. I do not want to rock the boat here, but there are some who are uneducated/undereducated giving incorrect advice. There are also some who have varying levels of education giving the same said advice, and others still who are making up their own rules. If you really want to know about aromatherapy: use, safety, esoterics, energetics..all of it….you must apply yourself to gain that knowledge. A home user should work within their realm of experience, as should a new student, an experienced clinical aromatherapist, and so on and so forth; but the “recommendations” or “facts” do not change.
There are plenty of myths being perpetuated, widely varied levels of education, and many opinions out there. If there is one thing that we do know, it is that aromatherapy is a holistic modality, case by case basis, risk vs benefit, beautiful in all of its many facets, therefore will never be a one size fits all. It simply will never be “never take internally”, “never use oils on babies”, “always dilute” and my favorite “there’s an oil for that”. But we can say “not recommended for the essential oil enthusiast or home user”, “not recommended unless you work with a professional”, “not recommended without further education” or something of the like.
Even the big guns will tell you, and they often do, that the guidelines are just that, guidelines. Recommendations. A starting point. You MUST do your own research and obtain your own education beyond this.
I want to assure you, for those that are not familiar with my work, my niche, I am big on safety. I have also stepped up my education and will continue to do so in order to know as much as I can. My bookshelves are heavy. I am humble in knowing there will always be more to know. I try to always take the stance of “Yes you can use do X, but you really need to know how, when, and where it is appropriate”. I will not use the words always and never. I will also not give these types of details on Facebook. I will continue to do my best to keep essential oil enthusiasts safe, that is very important to me, but what you see me say and do on Facebook is not necessarily what I would be saying/covering one on one. Why is that? In regards to Facebook…I do not know your medical history, if you are taking medications, your constitution, or even your likes and dislikes. Not the place for a consult. What I don’t do is change the “recommendation” at the basic level.
What does this all come to?
The need for higher education standards.
The need for “self” regulation.
The need for the industry to be on the same page.
To BE professionals others can look to CONFIDENTLY for help.
I have begun an effort to do these very things.
Let’s begin taking the necessary steps to get there.
Like so many practices in life I encourage you to become educated on the proper use of essential oils. When using them, please do so cautiously, understanding that there is often misinformation on the internet. You can be assured that I support only educated and proven resources. While essential oils should not be feared they should be respected and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them.
Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.
Aromatherapy is not black and white, or an always or never modality. What do I mean by that? A quick visit to social media can leave a home user dizzy with information, much of it is erroneous; hearing statements like never use on babies, never take internally, and always dilute are commonplace.
I understand that some professionals are making attempts to keep the home user safe, as well as keeping children from being exposed to neat oils at a very early age among other things. Let me assure you, I share in that concern, as they are valid. However, the fear that is being instilled in statements like “Oh my, you should never do that”, is not helping anyone.
To be fair, it can be a difficult task to find quality, reliable information on the Internet surrounding the art and use of aromatherapy. I have taken to speaking about safety often for this very reason. I have extended knowledge in my field, and to some, my education may not have even scratched the surface. If you have been considering using aromatherapy in the home, I have created a menu on my site called resources. It is a great place to get your feet wet.
There is one that that I am sure of, that the professionals in the field of aromatherapy have a few things in common:
- We want to help you. We decided to go into the field of aromatherapy as we are healers in our own right. This is our passion, and our mission statements may vary, but have one common thread: “First do no harm”.
- Learning is ongoing. We do not have all the answers but are always seeking them. We all want to be experts in our craft.
- We all believe in the magic and powers of essential oils, and have seen firsthand how they can help in a variety of situations.
Now our approach may not all be the same. And even more importantly, our education is not all the same: different institutions, different amount of hours, different focus among other things. This can be problematic. Therefore, it is important for you, the end user, to do your own research. At the very least ask the aromatherapist what their credentials are, and ask for resources to back up what they are telling you. When my clients ask for these things, I am more than happy to oblige. I would expect you to do the same thing if it were a pediatrician or psychologist. Every single one of us in every aspect of our lives is “practicing”, whether we are a professional, a parent, or a friend. A good rule of thumb is utilizing what works and discarding what doesn’t.
My first example of a “never” statement is telling others to NEVER take oils internally. This is not helping anyone. What should be discussed is how to do so safely and when does it make sense to do so. For the record, it is not in water, or neat under your tongue. Follow this link for more.
Another example is NEVER use essential oils on babies. This is not looking at the big picture. Some will tell you no oils before two, no oils before 10, and everywhere in between. Based on scientific research (key term here) this is what we do know:
**Oils should typically be avoided topically for infants and small babies under a few months of age. The reason for this is their integumentary system (skin) does not mature until then, and using oils topically (even when diluted) can increase the risk for adverse reactions and set them up for possible sensitization.
**There is a pretty extensive list of oils that should not be used “dermally” under two years of age. This does not imply the statement above of “no oils under two”. See how those two statements are different?
(Please reference Robert Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety 2e for the details)
**Babies and children ARE much less equipped to handle certain essential oils topically, due to immature livers and detoxification systems (their livers do not mature until approximately 8 years of age). Less is more, the gentle way first utilizing herbs, are things that I agree with. This is the reason why many recommend speaking to a professional. It should not be to induce fear, but to empower you to know the right way, period.
**Last example in regards to children: NEVER use eucalyptus essential oil under the age of 10. This is a fear based statement and not all that accurate, BUT there are precautions to know about and be cognizant of. This oil (not all species) should be kept away from the face for children under 10 years of age, especially for those children that are susceptible to issues such as seizures or have other CNS weaknesses. This does not mean NEVER, it means you need to know what you are doing.
ALWAYS dilute. On social media this may be the best way to keep the general population safe as SO MANY are recommending neat use. It is not an always statement. All aromatherapy professional know that there can be a time and place for undiluted oils. A better statement would be: It is very important to know when and where to apply oils undiluted, and to know which oils carry a high risk of irritation/sensitization. If you do not know how to safely navigate this for yourself, you are better off diluting. This is especially the case for children. Please do not take this kind of advice from someone that is not educated. Sensitization is real, it does happen, and it is ugly.
Aromatherapy is simply not black and white, and nothing is always or never. Safety should always be the first consideration, and everyone has his or her different way of handling it. If you can do one important thing here for yourself, it is to do your due diligence and find out the facts, with CREDIBLE resources. While essential oils should not be feared they should be respected, researched, and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them.
Like so many practices in life I encourage you to become educated on the proper use of essential oils. When using them, please do so cautiously, understanding that there is often misinformation on the Internet. You can be assured that I support only educated and proven resources. While essential oils should not be feared they should be respected and used properly to ensure the safety of the individuals using them. Please note that I am not a medical practitioner. The content of the website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should is be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical health condition. If you have, or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. By using this website, you assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.