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Essential Oil Discussion



Medical and Supplemental Aromatherapy Guidelines

Medical and supplemental aromatherapy is one of five main uses of aromatherapy. Understanding each use will ensure your body receives the maximum benefits. Medical aromatherapy is used to treat clinically diagnosed medical issues. It is based on the practices of Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who is known as the founder of modern aromatherapy. He was a French chemist who would massage patients with essential oils during surgery. It has become a well-known and popular way of utilizing essential oils today. Unless they are being used as a food additive, where the amount of essential oil contained within the entire meal is so minute, it is always advised that you consult your primary healthcare provider before making any dietary changes that involve essential oils.  As a general rule, if you decide to use essential oils as an oral dietary supplement, do not exceed the recommended daily dose indicated on the label, and use only for short durations of time.  It is important to take breaks when using essential oil as a dietary supplement. Do not use an essential oil orally as a dietary supplement for more than 3-5 days consecutively without a break of at least 3-4 weeks. (This does not apply if you are using essential oil as a flavor enhancer in your recipes.)  When using essential oils as a food additive, the essential oil will be diluted in the rest of the meal, such as a sauce, soup, smoothie, tea, coffee, etc. The dilution of the essential oil within the meal is much easier for the body to use regularly. It also adds robust and delicious flavors.  Ways to use essential oils as a dietary supplement:  Herbal Tea: Essential oils can be taken as an herbal infusion, either with a tea bag or loose herbs. Simply add 1-2 drops of the essential oil of choice to steeped tea.  Water, Juice, or Milk: Essential oils can be mixed into one tablespoon of water, juice, or milk for easier ingestion. Do not exceed one drop of essential oil.  Honey or Sugar: The essential oil can be added to a half teaspoon of honey or raw sugar. Do not exceed one drop of essential oil.  Cider Vinegar: The essential oil can be mixed into two tablespoons of honey blended with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of water. Do not exceed one drop of essential oil.  Vegetable Capsules: Essential oils can be placed into vegetable capsules with any safe carrier oil. Vegetable capsules are particularly useful if a combination of oils is used. Do not exceed three drops of essential oil.  You can learn more about aromatherapy classifications HERE and Olfactory and Psycho Aromatherapy HERE.

Essential Oil Discussion



Top 7 Spots for Massage Aromatherapy

Massage aromatherapy incorporates essential oils into a massage or a topical treatment. Typically, the essential oils are combined with a carrier oil, thereby diluting the essential oil before application. Massage aromatherapy is designed around the relaxing and soothing aromas that prepare the mind and the tissues for the massage technique to be applied.  This form of aromatherapy is typically incorporated into a professional massage offered through a licensed therapist. It is not uncommon for recipients to continue using the essential oils that were applied during the session in an ongoing topical approach without the specific massage techniques.  Topical aromatherapy is a popular method of using essential oils that is relatively safe as long as the essential oils are pure and used correctly. In general, spice essential oils such as black pepper, cardamom, cassia, cinnamon bark, clove, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, ginger, and juniper berry should be diluted to avoid dermal sensitivity.  Because they are photosensitive, citrus oils such as sweet orange, bitter orange, neroli, orange petitgrain, mandarin, lemon, etc., should never be applied topically if exposure to direct sunlight is expected within 12 hours. Many citrus essential oils contain furocoumarins, a specific constituent class that can cause the skin to react differently to UV rays. Free radicals and singlet oxygen are also formed during the process and can inflict damage on cellular membranes, organelles, and proteins. If exposed to UV radiation after topical application of photosensitive oil, the skin may become temporarily darkly pigmented, red, or irritated.  It is typical for essential oils such as peppermint or fennel to have a warming effect. This warming sensation would not be considered an irritation. However, if the area has any or all of the following sensitivity signs, additional dilution is recommended: sensitive to touch, raised, bumpy, red, and hot. Essential oils typically found within the flowers, leaves, petals, or blossoms of the plants tend to be relatively safe with mild to no adverse side effects and can be used with very little to no dilution. The oils include basil, bay laurel, coriander, cumin, fennel, geranium, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, marjoram, palmarosa, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tarragon, and tea tree, to name a few.  If you are new to essential oils, it is always wise to start with a sensitivity patch test. The sensitivity patch test is simple to do. Take the essential oil of choice and apply one drop at the desired dilution on the popliteal fossa (back of the knee) or antecubital fossa (front of the elbow). The skin in these areas is surprisingly sensitive. This patch test will allow you to determine skin sensitivity before applying the essential oil to larger areas of the body. If you experience irritation, continue to dilute the essential oil and retest until there is no noticeable irritation. Be sure to wash with soap and water, thoroughly dry the area, and wait ten minutes between each sensitivity patch test.  For further information about safely diluting essential oils, see our blog post HERE. Recommended massage and cosmetic applications  Apply directly to a sore muscle after a hard workout  Apply to the face for complexion and beauty regimens  Apply to the forehead, neck, and temples for headache or tension  Apply to the base of the skull for mood and emotional support  Apply to the abdomen for digestive support and comfort  Apply to the chest for help with breathing  Apply to the bottoms of the feet for whole-body benefits  

Essential Oil Discussion



Essential Oils and Phototoxicity

Few things are more enjoyable than a beautiful sunny day. Summer brings long days, short nights, and time spent at the beach. Warm autumn days are a surprise and a delight, and it’s hard to pay attention inside when the sun is shining brightly outside. And so, while we love the sun, it’s important to understand some essential oils do not.  What is Phototoxicity? Phototoxicity is chemically-induced skin irritation. It can resemble an exaggerated sunburn and can be caused by a reaction to something you put on your skin or ingest. If chemicals are photoactive, they absorb the energy from the sun and cause toxicity on your skin. Several things can cause this, and many cold-pressed essential oils are on that list.  Certain essential oils are labeled as phototoxic because they have chemical structures that absorb UV light, store it, and release it onto the skin (toxicity). Some oils stay on the skin up to 18 hours after application and can still cause sun reactions. To avoid phototoxic reactions, users should cover any area of the skin with phototoxic oil on it, or avoid those oils when you know you’ll be out in the sun.  Not all cold-pressed citrus essential oils are phototoxic, but if you’re concerned or wonder if a particular oil is, do your research instead of risking a reaction. Common Essential Oils that are Phototoxic (not necessarily a complete list)  Grapefruit (cold pressed)  Mandarin Leaf Rue Cumin Bitter Orange (cold pressed) Bergamot (cold pressed) Fig Leaf Lemon (cold pressed) Lime (cold pressed)