Using Aromatherapy Essential Oils Safely

Although many people use aromatherapy in different ways, this form of therapy almost always means that essential oils are used for therapeutic purposes. While this form of therapy is generally safe for all ages (and even pets), it is important to understand that there are basic safety guidelines you should follow when using aromatherapy. The applications of use can vary depending on the person and the symptoms and if you decide to use a licensed practitioner, you should also know how to choose one.

There are many ways to use aromatherapy. The most common way to administer aromatherapy is through inhalation. These oils can be burned or heated and the vapors are then breathed in through the nostrils. Another common practice is through skin absorption. You can rub the oils into the skin, however, some question whether or not this is true aromatherapy since it is not inhaled. However it is used, many patients using this form of therapy report that after the treatment the feelings of relaxation or in some cases, feeling invigorated. The effects will differ depending on the type of oil and the application used.

In addition, when using aromatherapy and essential oils, you should consider the reasons why you want to use it. The use of essential oils as a health treatment should never take the place of medical treatment. If you are suffering from a serious illness, you will need to consult your doctor. Also, while rare, you should never use aromatherapy if you take other medications that might interact. This form of treatment is best used for accomplishing such things as soothing, relaxing, or healing but it should never be viewed as an alternative to traditional medicine, especially if the ailment is of a serious nature.

Another important thing to remember as a guideline to safe aromatherapy is not to use undiluted essential oils on the skin. This is never recommended because doing so can cause irritation to the skin and some reactions may be more severe than others. There are some essential oils that are safe to use directly out of the bottle. These oils include both lavender or tea tree oil. These can be used on burns, insect bites, pimples and other skin eruptions. However, be cautious if your skin is generally sensitive. Diluted oil used directly on the skin can have the same healing effects as the undiluted oil.

Skin irritation and sensitivity is another major concern if you plan to use essential oil on the skin. Also, check for skin sensitivity if you are considering skin application. Check the label carefully before you purchase any oils. Some people are not sensitive to pure essential oils, but are sensitive to synthetic versions of essential oils. It is important to find out which is the case. Some people may be allergic to say chamomile tea, but not necessarily allergic to its oils. If you suspect you have an allergy to a plant, you may not be allergic to the oil.

Another thing to remember is to be aware that some essential oils serve as irritants to the mucous membrane (the lining of the digestive and urinary tracks). Also, with the exception of tea tree oil and lavender, most essential oils should not be used on broken skin. Also, remember that most essential oils can be irritating to the eyes, so keep them away from the eye area. Essential oils commonly used in aromatherapy that are known irritants include allspice, cinnamon, savory, clove, spearmint, thyme and oregano.

Be aware that another safety tip when using aromatherapy is to not take essential oils orally for therapeutic use. There are exceptions, but unless specifically directed, you should always read and follow the instructions of the product very carefully. As a generally rule, essential oils should not be ingested in any way.

Those who are elderly, or those who suffer from asthma, epilepsy or heart disease should only use essential oils under the close supervision of a trained health care professional. There could be serious side effects in these patients when using aromatherapy, so it is best to always err on the side of caution.

Also, stay especially cautious about using aromatherapy as therapy during pregnancy. For those women who are prone to miscarriage, the stimulating effects of the therapy can be a hazard, especially for women in the third trimester. Lavender is one such example. Repeated use of lavender during pregnancy has been known to cause pre-term labor. If you are pregnant, be safe and consult your health care provider before using any essential oils.

Lastly, be aware of overexposure to aromatherapy. This includes using oils as an application to the skin or inhalation, which could result in nausea, headache, skin irritation, emotional unease or what is often called a ‘spaced out’ feeling. If you experience any of these problems while using this form of therapy, discontinue use by simply leaving the area where the essential oils are present in the air. If the oil is applied to the skin, wash the oil off of the skin. If you want to use essential oils and aromatherapy, you may find that you have very good results if you follow these safety guidelines.

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