Health, safety and storage of essential oils
Safety involves a state of being free from risk or occurrence of injury, harm, or danger and qualified, professional Aromatherapists understand that client or patient safety is of utmost importance. In having the right training and education Aromatherapists uphold the trust of individuals through ensuring they following their training and the guidelines of best practice as determined by their education.
Professional or lay person, individuals who practice aromatherapy need to be aware of the safety issues involved with using essential oils in order to avoid potential adverse effects. A professional qualified therapist will conduct a full consultation with a client before the client receives any form of treatment, this approach ensures that the clients welfare and safety is at the centre of the treatment programme that will be agreed.
According to Burfield, “Although many essential oils are potentially hazardous materials, if handled in the appropriate manner, the risks involved in their use can be very small. So therefore, most commercially offered essential oils are safe to use for the purpose intended in a domestic/ professional or clinical environment.”
The informed use of essential oils may create occasional irritation or minor discomfort, but it is extremely unlikely to create serious injury or lasting physical problems, particularly when basic guidelines are followed. A professional qualified Aromatherapist
• The following essential oils must be completely avoided unless you have undertaken professional, clinical advanced advice and/or training. More detailed information is available at: Source: National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy
• This warning to avoid these essential oils is due to their containing certain potent compounds that can be lethal in high doses.
• Bitter Almond, Birch, Bold leaf
• Calamus, Yellow camphor, Cassia
• Cinnamon, Chamomile Moroc, Fennel bitter
• Horseraddish, Mugwort, Pennyroyal
• Rue, Sage, Sassagras
• Spikenard, Savind,Tagettes,
• Tansy, Thuja, Turpentine
• Wintergreen, Wormwood, Wormseed
General Safety Precautions
1. Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
2. Do not use or recommend the use of photo-sensitising essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client stay out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photo-sensitising essential oils were applied to the skin.
3. Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils.
If there is dermal irritation do not apply more base oil and seek medical advice. An oat poultice can help to soothe skin irritation.
5. Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin, unless otherwise indicated.
Points to consider:
• Essential oils are highly volatile and flammable
• For this reason it is important to ensure safe storage as well as use.
• Storage: dark glass, bottles with stoppered tops.
• Kept in cool, dark place in upright position.
• Out of sight and reach of children.
• Do not store in plastic containers as this will lead to perishing of oil and container.
• Stored correctly essential oils will last about a year; citrus oils not as long.
• When mixing and blending essential oils do so in glass or ceramic containers.
• Take care not to splash into eyes rinse with water (but milk has been known to have better effect and seek medical advice)
• Wipe spillages up with tissue and dispose outside in a bin.
• When smell testing oils do not sniff directly from the bottle but from the lid, or a drop on a test strip.
• When mixing and blending essential oils make sure you have plenty of fresh air and good lighting.
• Because essential oils are concentrated it is important to blend or mix essential oils with a carrier or base oil.
• This dilutes the essential oil to make it safer for use.
• Please remember to check safety data for each essential oil as there are medical conditions that can be affected by the essential oil
• If in doubt seek advice from a qualified Aromatherapist and medical practitioner
• There are many ways to use essential oils but in massage they are blended in carrier oils, base creams, butters and gels… all make good base products for blending essential oils into.
• Essential oils are measured in drops; so into 1 teaspoon of carrier oil which = 5mls = 2 to 3 drops of essential oil. Dilution is crucial to ensure safe use and application to the skin.
• Other safety aspects are the consultation process, reading individual essential oils safety data, seeking medical approval and the advice of a qualified Aromatherapist.