The dangers of aromatherapy are rarely mentioned. Aromatherapy can help ease stress, improve your mood and energy levels, and calm anxiety. Unfortunately, there are also some dangers that come naturally with essential oils.
Beyond making sure that your oils are pure and authentic rather than made in a lab with chemicals, there are some warnings that deserve your attention as a user of essential oils for aromatherapy.
While pure essential oils are natural products, they’re also highly concentrated forms of plants with the potential to impact the human body and mind in powerful ways. One of the biggest mistakes that new users make is to apply too much at one time. This is one case where you can get too much of a good thing.
Essential oils can go from refreshing and calming to overwhelming rather fast when you diffuse too many drops at once. This is important to remember when mixing multiple oils because they can become quite powerful together. Depending on the oils used and the concentrations applied, you may feel your eyes burn, start sneezing, or even have difficulty breathing.
If you diffuse a lot of oil in an enclosed space, you’re more likely to experience a negative reaction. You can avoid this by airing out the room when using the oils and making sure that you’re only using a small amount of oil. Just a drop or two is enough for most oils.
Each time that you invest in a new essential oil, take the time to do a bit of research. Read the label to see how it is intended to be used. Looking it up online will help you understand how the oil is made, the impact it can have on the human body, and how you can use it safely. For instance, some oils are safe for application directly to the skin while others require safer handling because they cause irritation without a carrier oil.
Most of the essential oil warnings put out by the National Poison Control Center have little to do with aromatherapy applications. Some oils can irritate or even burn the skin while others are toxic when ingested. If you’re using your essential oils only for aromatherapy, then these warnings won’t apply to you. If you eventually start exploring other uses for the oils, you will need to learn whether they are safe for direct skin application and if they are safe for consumption.
What you should take away from the warnings about the dangers of essential oils are the importance of storing your essential oils out of reach from children and pets. Even if you store the oils in a room where your children and pets don’t normally go, it’s best to put them in a cabinet or on a high shelf where they are completely out of reach. Pay attention to benches, chairs, and other items that may be used to climb up to the oils as well. Children are creative when they really want something, and many oils have scents that may make a child think they’re food.
Does someone in your home have asthma or any other medical condition that may make it more difficult for them to breathe? If so, introducing essential oils to the air that they breathe may make their condition worse. Children with asthma are often triggered into attacks by diffused essential oils, and you don’t want to compromise the breathing of someone who is already struggling. You should start with very little oil diffused for a short period of time if you want to try this around someone with respiratory issues. There are cases where it simply isn’t safe for some people, so you may need to limit your use of oils to your personal space.
You should never ingest essential oils when pregnant, but what about diffusing oils or adding them to aromatherapy jewelry? This is a controversial topic, and every expectant mother must decide where she wants to stand. Some people believe that diffusing most oils is safe because you’re not placing the oil directly on your skin or consuming it with food or drink. Others believe that it’s possibly unsafe because inhalation still places it inside your body where it may reach your developing baby.
There is no scientific research on the dangers of aromatherapy to sway your opinion in one way or another because this isn’t a widely researched topic. This leaves us all to guess at how much impact aromatherapy may have on a developing baby. It’s best to discontinue use of all essential oils for at least the first trimester, but after that it’s up to each mother to decide what is best for her body and her developing baby.
Once you have your baby, you have to consider the baby’s ability to safely breathe in the oils if you diffuse them in your home. You also may not know if your baby has asthma until they are a bit older. It’s best to keep the aromatherapy to spaces away from the baby if you use them in your home at all.
If you or anyone in your household has a diagnosed medical condition, you may want to check with a doctor before introducing essential oils even if they are just diffused in the air or otherwise inhaled. Here are just a couple medical risks of aromatherapy, but there may be others specific to certain medical conditions.
Some professionals also recommend consulting with a doctor before using any essential oils if you take multiple prescription medications or have a sensitive medical condition. This applies more to ingesting oils or placing them on your skin, but safe is always better than sorry when it comes to your medical condition.
We wanted to bring your attention to the potential dangers of aromatherapy so that you can use your essential oils safely. Now that you’re aware of the risks, you can adjust your aromatherapy sessions so that it’s as safe as possible for you and everyone in your living environment. Enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy!