Are essential oils safe? This is what you should know
Aromatherapy is the usage of essential oils for therapeutic purposes. There are several methods whereby the oil can be used. It can be through inhalation, topical application or ingestion.
One of the unparalleled powers of aromatherapy is to influence the brain in producing hormones that promote the well-being of an individual. And it does so by using its scent!
To influence the psychological well-being of a person, essential oils are inhaled using a variety of prescribed techniques. The aromatic scent of essential oils activates the limbic system and the emotional centers of the brain. This reaction brings forth the desired relaxing or stimulating effects to the person being treated.
Applying essential oils to the skin through massage activates the thermal receptors in the skin and produces instantaneous responses (warming or cooling). Although internal use (ingestion) of essential oils may stimulate and energize the immune system, it is prescribed only through the administration of a qualified practitioner.
But are the essentials oils being used in aromatherapy safe?
Although essential oils are safe when used properly, it is important that you practice due diligence in choosing and using them. The dosage, purity, application method used and possible drug interactions play a pivotal role in determining the safety of essential oils.
Dosage is by far the most important factor to consider. Laboratory studies show that using essential oils in incorrect doses or extremely high concentrations contributes to tumor development and other damaging bodily and functional changes in experimental animals. There are also indications that some essential oils, when used improperly, can be harmful to the skin, liver and other organs.
Since essential oils are so concentrated and so potent, please be guided that they need to be used in very small quantities and preferably diluted in a carrier oil.
The purity of the oil is also to be considered. Before buying any product, you should first check the labels. After all, you would be using the product, wouldn’t you? Essential oils are pleasant to use, and just a small amount can produce impressive therapeutic effects. It is sad to note, however, that manufacturers resort to adding inexpensive synthetic additives and fragrances to widen their profit margins. These adulterants do not produce the same effects as those chemicals of natural origin and could be potentially harmful as they trigger incidences of sensitivity, allergies, and asthma.
Synthetic fragrances smell essentially the same as those naturally occurring chemicals, so it is nearly impossible to spot or smell the difference. Some people can differentiate between the natural and synthetic fragrances, but it sure needs a lot of experience to be able to do this!