True Aromatherapy - A form of medicine using the essential oils of plants known for their healing properties
Essential Oils - Concentrated aromatic compounds produced by plants. Essential oils are part of the plant’s immune system, created from the plant. They are very concentrated: 80-100 times more concentrated than most herbs. They are lipid soluble, which means they do not dissolve in water.
Safety - There are safety concerns with many essential oils. However, most can be used safely. Robert Tisserand is an expert in the field and recently published an excellent resource. For specific questions regarding pregnancy, children, medication interactions, contra-indications (reasons not to use a specific essential oil), phototoxicity, health concerns, and other safety concerns consult a certified aromatherapist.
- Essential oils should only be taken internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified Aromatherapy Practitioner. In European countries physicians and pharmacists and clinical aromatherapists are trained to prescribe internal use.
- Do not use essential oils on children 5 years of age or younger, and following the recommendation of a certified or clinical aromatherapist for children 5-12 years old.
- Use essential oils with animals only if trained or if purchasing from a reputable source.
- Follow safe dilution guidelines. These percentages vary greatly from one essential oil to another.
- Skin irritation may be caused if essential oils are oxidized. Oxidation happens if essential oils are old, or stored improperly.
- Neat use (undiluted essential oils) should only be considered after consulting with a certified aromatherapist. Most essential oils should not be used neat.
- If you get essential oil on you skin or in your eye, rinse with an oil like organic olive or grape seed, or jojoba, or cream or milk (not skim). Rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.
Choosing Safe, Effective Essential Oils - I believe it is absolutely necessary to know the details of each essential oil I use, especially for medicinal/therapeutic products.
- Essential oils and products should list both the common name and the botanical name: Name (Genus species). Example: Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) There are about 39 species of Lavender! It is important to know which one because they affect us differently. For instance, some are relaxing, while others are not.
- Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) testing assures purity and tells the exact chemical makeup of each batch of essential oils that I use. The companies I purchase oils from provide a GC/MS report.
- Organic? It is my preference to always use organic, or wild-crafted and unsprayed essential oils.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Inhalation - Often the quickest and most effective way to use essential oils for healing. When we inhale the essential oils send a message through our limbic system, which is the part of our brain governing emotions and behavior. This message has the ability to affect our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Essential oil molecules also travel through the mucus membranes of our nose, entering the blood stream, and then traveling throughout our body. Research shows that chemical components within the essential oils help many symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety and insomnia.
Topical - Application of essential oils externally on our skin, often for skin conditions and treating organs, muscles and tissues in that area. Topical use almost always includes inhalation as well. Essential oils are very potent and should be diluted in most situations.
Internal - Internal use of essential oils should never be done casually. There are many safety concerns with ingestion. Internal use interferes with the metabolism of everything else we ingest, including medicine. Contact a certified or clinical aromatherapist if you have questions about internal use.
Integrative Health - Integrative health techniques and practices, including aromatherapy, put your body in the best state to heal itself.
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