10 Aromatherapy Safety Rules You Should Always Follow
Aromatherapy is a useful practice to take on when you’re ready to expand your existing health or supplement care, but even if you just want to experiment with aromatherapy for relaxation and tension relief, here are some safety rules you should follow.
1. Discard old oils
Like all products, essential oils have expiration dates. Some oils last longer than others, so it’s impossible to make a blanket recommendation about how long you should use any particular oil. If you notice your oil smells “off,” the color has changed, or you experience a reaction, it’s time to discard that oil and replace it. You can use old oils as an insect repellent in the garden, or to fragrance cleaning water for gardening tools.
2. Don’t ingest essential oils
Some essential oil names will sound familiar to you from use in the kitchen, including rosemary, lemon and orange. These essential oils are different than the rosemary herb, and the lemon and orange fruits. Never try to “season” food with essential oil, even if it’s just a drop in a pot of gravy. Essential oils are for external use only.
3. Be on the lookout for reactions
Not everyone can safely use all essential oils. Some can have a reaction to one or more. To be on the safe side, test a patch of skin with a drop of essential oil diluted with a carrier oil like vegetable oil. Circle the area with a marker and wait 24 hours to see if there is any reaction. If none occurs, you’re good to use that oil.
4. Avoid low quality oils
Some companies sell cheap versions of what they label “aromatherapy oils” that consist of inexpensive cooking oil with added chemical fragrance. Used in aromatherapy, these oils can do more harm than good. Many chemicals that produce synthetic fragrances are harmful to our health. Never use low quality essential oils in aromatherapy, especially in a diffuser. Look for distilled or cold pressed essential oils.
5. Pregnant women should consult their physician
There’s some debate whether essential oil is safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, consult with your obstetrician before any use of aromatherapy. Certain oils are beneficial for treating some uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy, but use any essential oil only after clearing it with your physician.
6. Consult your doctor before using on children
Babies and children are more sensitive to everything than adults. They haven’t had enough time to build up their immune system. Since essential oils are extracted from natural sources, their use on babies and children may cause unexpected reactions. Essential oils may relieve your child’s symptoms of cough, congestion, rash and itchiness, but don’t use essential oils on a baby or child without first consulting your pediatrician.
7. Choose a diffuser with an auto shut-off feature
Diffusers use a mixture of essential oils and water to spray a fine mist, which spreads the essential oil molecules, so you can reap the benefits when you breathe the air. Diffusers need to be periodically refilled with water. To avoid the risk of fire or malfunction, always purchase a quality diffuser with an auto shut-off feature. This will ensure your diffuser never keeps running after the water receptacle is empty.
8. Keep out of reach of children
Children are naturally curious and will be attracted to the pretty little bottles of essential oil in your collection. If they can manage to get the child proof lids off and smell the enticing aromas, they’ll be further drawn to them, possibly ingesting them or pouring the liquid onto their skin. To ensure your child’s safety, essential oils should be kept out of their reach and hopefully out of sight. For best results, keep your oils in a locked box. This will also keep your oils lasting longer, since they’ll be away from UV light.
9. Don’t use near an open flame
Many crafters who lead a holistic lifestyle, enjoy making homemade candles fused with essential oils. This is a great way to add essential oil use into the home, but the essential oils should be in the wax of the candle, not on top of it. Essential oils are highly combustible, and contact with an open flame could ignite the bottle.
10. Start small and go bigger
Essential oils aromatherapies have powerful healing properties. Many people are taken by surprise at how fast and potent results are, especially if aromatherapy is new to them. The safety rule of thumb when practicing aromatherapy, is to start small. Don’t use too much oil in your formulation. You could cause a negative outcome. Use the smallest quantity possible to achieve the results you seek. If you need a more powerful effect, add a bit more essential oil at a time, until you get results. One good idea is to keep a journal and record how many drops you use for a treatment. This can become your personal aromatherapy recipe booklet.
These safety tips about using aromatherapy will ensure you get the most benefits out of your oils without any setbacks along the way.