Balance is something we all strive for. We are working moms, stay at home moms, young professionals, retired grandparents all looking for the right answer. Balance is created through conscious effort. It will not just happen. The hardest part is trying find the balance.
When it comes to the aromatherapy world, I'm definitely seeing a lot of extremes. Aromatherapy is not a black and white modality. There is a lot of gray. It is ever evolving. Things that we have seen as absolutes are now maybes. We are learning more about it than ever. So how can someone who is an aromatherapy enthusiast enhance their life without these extremes? Let's look at some claims and see where we can find the balance.
1. There's an oil for everything- I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again. If someone says that there is an oil for everything, they are trying to sell you something. Oils are not always the best thing for you. If you have digestive problems, you need to look at your diet before looking for an oil. While something like Roman Chamomile can support your digestive system, it cannot help with the underlying cause.
We are a society of quick fixes. I understand. Patience isn't my strong suit either. But it is important to realize that while an oil can help with symptoms, it does not cure or treat. You need to look at the underlying issue first. Saying there is an oil for everything is just another way companies get you to buy more oils. You get the instant gratification of soothing symptoms. But you are missing out on helping the cause. In which case, you will never get better.
2. You can use natural methods instead of going to the doctor- I love natural remedies. It is usually my first choice. However, if myself or my child need medical intervention, I will not hesitate to go to a medical professional. People are always shocked when I suggest that someone goes to the doctor instead of customizing a blend for them. In fact, if you are my client, I like to work WITH your doctor. Just because I am an advocate for natural health, doesn't mean I am against medical intervention. How about balancing both? Realize that sometimes, you can support your body naturally, and sometimes medical intervention is what's needed. There is no need to choose sides. Choose both! Be intergrative!
3. Essential oils should never be ingested- This comment should read that essential oils should not be ingested without proper supervision of a certified aromatherapist with extensive training in aromatic medicine. We cannot go to the extreme that they should never be ingested. I recently graduated from a fascinating course in aromatic medicine. Trust me when I say that is is NOT a simple process. Proper formulation and dosage are of the utmost importance when it comes to internal use.
Essential oils should not be ingested by the "lay person" on a casual basis, even when formulated by a company. They should not be dropped in water as a flavor enhancer or for detoxing. They should not be ingested as a preventative. There are times when ingesting can be beneficial. But it is extremely important that this is done with proper guidance of an certified aromatherapist with training in aromatic medicine. I cannot stress that enough.
3. Oils should not be used with children under 2- It should absolutely be avoided with newborns. I also recommend oils should not be used topically with children under two if possible. Are there times when essential oils could be used topically on children under 2? Yes. Hydrosols are my #1 choice for topical use for these little ones. But if hydrosols aren't cutting it, then a properly diluted oil in certain scenarios may be necessary. The key is start with the most gentle modality first and assess from there.
Diffusion is generally safe for children once they are six months old. Diffuse for 15 minute increments with a long (meaning at least 2-3 hours) break in between. Diffusing can be a beneficial way to help support a child when support is needed. Just be sure to use child safe oils and to limit their exposure unless necessary.
4. Diffuse all day/Never diffuse- It's easy to fall in love with essential oils when you first start. But there is no need to diffuse all day, every day. Continuous diffusing will not keep you healthier. In fact, intermittent diffusing is more effective. Those who suggest constant diffusion want you to use up your oils quickly so you buy more.
But there is also the extreme of never diffusing without a therapeutic purpose. Well, sometimes, I just want to smell something to uplift my spirits, bring back a good memory, or I want to make my house smell better. As long as you are aware that diffusing oils is more than "just a pretty smell", then you are fine. Just make sure to diffuse oils that are safe around children and pets if you have them.
5. Aromatherapists should never give free advice- I am a professional who does consultations. I paid a lot of money for my education. I have worked hard to get where I am today. I do believe that others should not expect me to give them free advice all the time. Aromatherapy is my career. My fees help put food on the table for my children.
But if someone comes to me to ask how to help soothe their child's diaper rash, I am not going to ask them to come to me for a consultation. That is not necessary. I will point them in the right direction and they can decide what to do from there. I got into this industry to help others. Sometimes that role looks differently for different situations. So if an aromatherapist believes you need a consultation, respect their expertise enough to accept that. If they give you free advice, express your gratitude.
Bringing a balance to your aromatic life can be conducive and worthwhile. Respect that essential oils are powerful yet enhancing. Knowing your limits and finding a good balance can make aromatherapy a powerful ally in your life.