Internal Use Statement
AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use.
Use of Essential Oils in Pregnancy
There are differing opinions regarding the use of essential oils during pregnancy, labor and delivery. AIA recommends that schools of aromatherapy include an educational component regarding the appropriate and safe uses of essential oils during pregnancy including patho-physiology, risks and benefits. This will include, but is not limited to, emmenagogue and abortifacient essential oils.
Including a safety-based educational component relating to pregnancy will prepare the qualified aromatherapy practitioner to determine safe oils for each trimester, appropriate dilution and a variety of uses of essential oils to complement routine maternity care. Aromatherapy practitioners will avoid using any essential oil when safety issues are uncertain.
Cautionary List of Essential Oils
There are certain oils that have been identified as highly toxic, carcinogenic or cause skin irritants. Here is a LIST of oils to use with caution. Since providing a complete list of essential oils is beyond the scope of this web page, a comprehensive resource is the book Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition, by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Is it safe to use essential oil “neat” (undiluted) on the skin?
Essential oils are concentrated substances, and because of this we do not recommend using them without diluting them first. Add essential oils to a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, almond, or others, before using. Diluting them in this way provides a measure of protection from skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even sensitization.
A general rule of thumb for diluting is to use a 1% dilution for children (aged 6 years and older); pregnant women; elderly adults; those with compromised immune systems, sensitive skin, or other serious health issues. A 2% dilution is acceptable for the average adult with no health issues. Higher dilutions can be used, depending on the situation and the health of the person they will be applied on. We recommend that you use the lowest dilution possible that provides effective results.
Note: A 1% dilution would be adding 3 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier.
Statement on Raindrop Technique
Raindrop Technique (RDT), Aroma Touch and similar techniques do not meet the criteria for safe practice, as defined by the AIA Standards of Practice. There have been reported adverse effects regarding RDT, in particular. These techniques are typically practiced as a one-size-fits-all technique, and may not be suitable for people with compromised liver or kidney function, those with heart disease, those on blood thinning medication, those with allergies to aspirin, and other disorders. Read more . . .Janice Gagnon-Warr has given AIA permission to reprint the paper on RDT.
Safety and Ethics of Undiluted Oils
This is a special paper written by Tony Burfield and Sylla Sheppar-Hanger in 2005. Sylla Sheppard-Hanger has given AIA permission to reprint this article. Click here to read the article.
General Safety Guidelines (Storage, dilutions, how used)
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and should always be diluted before applying to skin. It is important to be aware of the chemistry and the quality of the oils being used. Use only high quality oils from reputable sources. Store oils in a cool, dark place. Dosage is another important factor in aromatherapy. Too much of certain oils can irritate skin or cause other side effects. Essential oils are always applied to the skin in combination with vegetable and nuts oils, gels, lotions, butters, salts or other herbal ingredients. Always lower the dosage for children, elderly, pregnant women or anyone with serious health conditions.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a true holistic therapy, offering simultaneous healing possibilities on physical, emotional and energetic levels. Aromatherapy works by simply taking a deep breath: the aromatic molecules enter our blood stream and travel to all parts of our body. The wide range of aromas available can gently help any mood or emotion.
The essential oils used in aromatherapy are highly concentrated substances, extracted most commonly by steam distillation from a variety of flowers, herbs, trees, roots, and fruit. Each oil offers its own unique chemistry of healing qualities. Lavender, geranium, spruce, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon and myrrh are oils commonly used in aromatherapy.
Each essential oil has its own distinct chemical profile that offers therapeutic properties. Each is classified as stimulating, balancing, relaxing, or more specifically, as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, decongestants, analgesics, antiinflammatory, digestives, to name a few.
A typical example is shown by the use of lavender, one of the most versatile and widely used oils. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is known to soothe tension headaches, reduce inflammation and pain, cleanse wounds,aid in tissue repair for burns and cuts, and relax you to sleep.
Today, aromatherapy is widely used in various health care settings: in hospitals for stress, nausea and cancer care; in senior care environments for reducing agitation, improving sleep, and improving indoor air quality; and in massage therapy for relaxation and reducing body pain.
To begin receiving the benefits of aromatherapy-find an aroma you love and enjoy all the gifts provided by nature’s healing gifts.
How to use Essential Oils
Essential oils are a complement to conventional medicine. Always seek medical advice for serious health conditions. Essential oils are generally used in two ways: topical and inhalation.
Topical uses include: adding essential oils to baths and showers to refresh and cleanse; applying directly to skin for wounds, sprains, strains, muscle pain and tension; and making personalized skin care products for a wide array of common skin conditions.
Inhalation of essential oils molecules is the most common method for mood and emotional support, respiratory conditions, and cleansing and purifying the air. Essential oils can be inhaled from tissues or inhalers, dropped onto steaming water, added to vaporizers, diffused or sprayed.
Consulting with an Aromatherapist for oil selection, best application methods and concentration levels will ensure success.
What to Expect from Your First Aromatherapy Consultation
When choosing an Aromatherapists, it is important to consider their education. experience. and philosophy of care. Working with an Aromatherapist is similar to working with other Holistic Healthcare Providers. The more information they have about your health background, the better the practitioner can advise you.
Taking a healthy history covering basic information about chronic and acute healthy conditions, allergies and current medications in included in the first visit.
Depending on the Aromatherapist’s background and training, the therapist may also assess your emotional needs and energetic systems. The therapist will advise you as to which oils best fit your needs and how to use them to their fullest potential.
The Aromatherapist skillfully blends together selected oils, synergistically combining them to enhance desired properties and aroma. A follow up visit is important to discuss your response and progress with your therapist, in case any changes are needed in your plan.