I remember when I first discovered aromatherapy several years ago. I was fascinated by essential oils and excited to try using them. Not only can they be fun to experiment with, but they also provide many benefits, such as easing stress and anxiety, cleaning and antibacterial properties, inflammation reduction, pain relief, and many more.
Here are some tips that can help you begin your aromatherapy journey.
1. Buy One or Two Aromatherapy Books
Choose just one or two books to start your aromatherapy library. Select books that are general resources, which will give you some basic information and help you discover the areas in which you have the most interest.
2. Join Aromatherapy Discussion Forums
Facebook Groups, Instagram, Reddit, and other forums are great resources for aromatherapy newbies. Read past discussions, ask questions, and learn from others.
3. Choose Five to Ten Essential Oils to Begin
Though you may be tempted to buy more, try to begin with just five to ten different essential oils. Essential oils can be quite expensive, so you may want to experiment with a few at first. Then, you can invest in more if you decide to pursue aromatherapy further.
4. Make Sure to Buy 100%, Pure, Unadulterated Essential Oils
When you buy essential oils, choose a well-known and reputable manufacturer. Synthetic, fragrance, and perfume oils are not essential oils; they contain man-made chemicals and have no aromatherapeutic value.
5. Buy at Least One Carrier Oil
For nearly all topical aromatherapy applications, you will need to dilute essential oils into a carrier oil. Good all-purpose carrier oils include coconut oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil, among many others. Buy cosmetic grade carrier oils and use only a few drops of essential oil(s) per ounce of carrier oil.
6. Store Your Oils Properly
Essential oils should be stored only in dark glass containers. Since essential oils are volatile, meaning they could evaporate when exposed to the environment, keep the vials tightly sealed. Essential oils and carrier oils should be stored away from heat and light. Carrier oils will go rancid eventually, so it’s best to buy smaller quantities.
7. Learn How to Do a Patch Test
When using essential oils topically, it’s important to keep in mind that some essential oils can cause adverse reactions due to allergy or sensitization over time. A patch test helps to determine whether you might react to a particular essential oil. Learn how to perform a skin patch test on yourself with each new oils you want to use topically.
Pro Tip: Citrus oils contain a compound called limonene, which is derived from their peels. This compound can commonly irritate one’s skin and may even cause severe allergic reactions. Tingling, redness, burning, and blisters can all occur when exposed to skin, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis is possible. Always dilute any citrus oils and be extra conservative with the amount you use.
8. Don't Use Aromatherapy with Children or Pets
Until you are thoroughly familiar with essential oils and their associated safety issues, don't use them on children or pets, or while pregnant or breastfeeding. Cats, in particular, may be adversely affected by essential oils. Make sure essential oils are kept out of the reach of children.
9. Don't Ingest Essential Oils
Though you will read conflicting information about taking essential oils internally, you should avoid doing this. Some essential oils that are fairly safe to use topically may be quite toxic if taken internally. In addition, some essential oils may interact with prescription or over the counter drugs.
Always be diligent in researching the types of oils you choose and the safest ways to use/apply them. As you experiment with and learn more about aromatherapy, you will become more confident using essential oils. There is so much to explore, so be safe and have fun!
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