Aromatherapy use is growing exponentially these days in its reach to the general public. There is a groundswell of people beginning to see the real therapeutic benefits of using essential oils to help their overall well-being. They can help get you a good night’s sleep, reduce anxiety, and have many other benefits. The consistent problem however, is that there is so much misinformation out there spread by people trying to sell them that the real knowledge of how to use these oils in a safe way can be hard to find, especially on the internet. Here are a few guidelines to follow to help filter out the noise, and begin to use your oils safely, and with confidence.
1. You really can’t go wrong when you use essential oils via inhalation. The general consensus is that even if you inhale an oil or blend for long periods of time, the worst that is going to happen would be a headache, or possibly nausea. Inhaling through the use of an essential oil diffuser, or by placing a few drops on a tissue or cloth is always a safe way of use.
2. Using essential oils topically on your skin is where we start to see a lot of bad information out there. You should never use these oils directly on your skin. That can have some very negative effects, beginning with rashes, and ending with some extreme sensitivity issues, and even liver/kidney problems. When using them on your skin you should always dilute them in a carrier oil, like grape seed oil or jojoba oil. When diluted, topical use is also a very safe way to get the benefits they can provide. There is still a chance of dermal reaction, or rashes, so a good rule of thumb is to do a patch test about the size of a nickel on your inner forearm to test how your skin might react.
3. It is becoming common to see a lot of articles out there recommending the ingestion of essential oils in a caplet to help with various problems. It can’t be stressed enough that this is a very dangerous practice. Ingesting essential oils can lead to liver and kidney failure. Our bodies process these compounds very slowly, and can be toxic. Just as you wouldn’t use prescription drugs without a doctor’s advice, you shouldn’t ingest essential oils without expert advice. In the U.S. there is almost no one with the proper knowledge to use oils this way. If someone claims themselves as an expert, proceed cautiously. Ingesting essential oils can potentially be very helpful when used properly. Find a certified clinical aromatherapist if you are looking for help with this type of usage, and consult your doctor as well.