If you have ever heard of essential oils, you have probably heard the opinions of many different individuals and how they use them. Often times, we find that there are a few different opinions on what company's essential oils you should use, how you should "always" use them, and even how you should "never" use them.
Why are views so differing within the aromatherapy community?
There a few reasons for the variances within the aromatherapy community. The biggest reason involves money. That is right. With a few companies, there is such a push to get the next sale to earn a commission that it sometimes supersedes the need to help others in a safe and balanced way.
Another reason that opinions differ so much on how to use aromatherapy is due to lack of education or unbiased training. If you have ever seen someone placing essential oils like clove, peppermint, or any other hot or potentially phototoxic essential oil directly onto an infant without dilution, you know what I am talking about. There are so many things to consider in aromatherapy that it truly does require a little more education and research to really be able to weigh the risks against the benefits.
This next reason is a little more complex and is a combination of money and some viable training, but not enough. While there are many great schools available to learn the basics of aromatherapy, not all of them teach a balanced approach to things. Also, they may not provide enough information to help an individual fully be able to weigh the risks and benefits when working with others. This individual may practice aromatherapy and want to help others, but in the rush to make a profit, they take what knowledge they know and unfortunately it can lead to serious concerns.
An additional reason has a lot to do with fear mongering. This tends to happen a lot when individuals do not agree with something another individual says. For example, in aromatherapy there is a very large divide on ingestion being safe and being unsafe. In one camp you may see an individual from company "Y" saying it is safe to add essential oils to drinks. In the next camp you may see an individual with some or no training say it is never safe to ingest. The reality is that while ingestion can be utilized in a safe manner, it does not typically include adding essential oils into a glass of water. Furthermore, it should also be noted that ingestion does include the use of rectal and vaginal preparations made by someone trained in aromatic medicine. So, is there a balance somewhere?
The Art of Balanced Aromatherapy
There is indeed a balance to all the varying opinions. The use of essential oils in a safe manner where you are weighing the benefits and risks of their use is not something that can be described in a few sentences. They absolutely can help you emotionally, mentally, and even physically. However, they should not be used casually as they do deserve the same respect that any medicine would. For example, if you are told to take a type of medication for a certain amount of time, would you take it longer just because you could?
Knowing when and how to use essential oils in a balanced manner takes patience, knowledge of medical conditions and medications, knowledge of the individual that would like to utilize aromatherapy, knowledge of chemical constituents that may pose risks depending on their application, and understanding that there is no black and white answer to any one condition.
Here are some things that highly trained or well researched individuals may consider when choosing essential oils for themselves or others:
- Is it necessary?
- How can it help?
- Is the means to an end one that requires short term or long term attention?
- How does the individual's age factor into the use of essential oils?
- What is the best method for application?
- What are the potential risks?
- Is the condition one that requires traditional medicine or diagnosis from a licensed doctor or is aromatherapy as a complimentary treatment acceptable?
The use of essential oils in a safe and balanced manner can be an amazing benefit to most individuals. I encourage you to reach out to individuals who practice in this manner if you are looking to learn a more balanced approach to the use of essential oils.