If you spend any time at all on the internet, (and don’t we all spend more time there that we should!) you will no doubt have seen all sorts of recommendations for using essential oils.
Or lists of essential oils that are safe… or not safe.
Which essential oils you should use for particular conditions, or illnesses.
“Which essential oils are safe for children?”
“Can you use essential oils around your pets?”
“Can I use essential oils when I am pregnant?”
If you ask an aromatherapist these questions. Or ask what essential oils they recommend for a particular condition; you will often get an answer something like – “Well it depends….”
That is because there is one big point, the missing link, that these recommendations tend to miss.
And that is the fact that WHICH essential oils you use is only part of the equation.
HOW you use those essential oils has a massive part to play in whether those essential oils are going to be safe, or effective, for the particular reason you want to use them.
How you use essential oils, means such factors as
- how much essential oil you use
- the method of use
- whether you need to dilute the oil and if so by how much
- how often you use the essential oil
- how long you are intending to use it for) i.e. how many treatments or uses)
- who the blend is for – do they have any complicating factors such as their age, state of health, medications, allergies etc etc
But essential oils are natural, aren’t they? So, aren’t they always safe?
When used in accordance with normal best practice guidelines, essential oils are very safe for most people. But (and this is a big but!) that does not mean that you can use as much as you want, as often as you want, and however you want without there being potential consequences.
And this is not just about safety – getting the method, dosage etc right means that you also get better results – the essential oils are more effective.
An analogy I sometimes use is this –
Paracetamol is a commonly used remedy for pain. It is considered so safe it is recommended for children.
But this is provided you use it in accordance with the directions.
If you have a headache, and, instead of swallowing the tablets, you put them on your forehead, they are not going to work (obviously!) They have to be assimilated into your system to be effective. The method of use matters.
How much you use also matters. If you only take a tiny bit of one tablet, it is unlikely to be effective. But taking more than recommended can be extremely dangerous. Paracetamol overdose can cause liver damage along with symptoms including drowsiness, coma, seizures, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Which is why there are different dosages for adults and for children. Those dosages include how many to take on a given occasion, how often to take them and how long you can continue to take the medication before you should see your doctor.
Likewise, essential oils can be very safe, but can also be harmful if used incorrectly.
And if you do not choose the most appropriate method, the essential oils may not work at all – in which case the essential oils would have been wasted.
I commonly see people introduced to a particular method of use when they first encounter essential oils and continue to use ONLY that method from then on. They might have been gifted a diffuser. Or perhaps taught how to make up Roller Ball Bottles (These are 2 of the most common first experience people report.) But by continuing to use ONLY that one method for everything, they may find that the essential oils are not always effective, even if they are, in theory, using the most appropriate essential oils.
A diffuser is great for general mood effects. Or for low level air purification etc. It is not likely to have a much effect if you have a very stuffy head from a cold, in which case you may be better incorporating essential oils into a steam inhalation.
Likewise, a Roller Ball Bottle is ideal for applying small amounts of (diluted) essential oil to the skin, so is ideal for spot treatments, perfumes etc. They are also very portable, making them a practical way to keep your treatment with you. But if you are using essential oils for say, stress or anxiety, I recommend an aroma inhaler – equally portable and inhalation is generally a more effective method than applying to the skin for their mental or emotional effects.
So next time you go to use your essential oils, consider how you use them as well as what you use. It can make a massive difference to the safety and efficacy of the essential oils.
And if you are not sure how to use your essential oils in the most appropriate way, contact me for a consultation and we can work on how to tailor your essential oil use for the very best results.