The Hardest Question for Me to Answer as an Aromatherapist

I am on the admin team for a large Facebook group. I frequent many other Facebook groups run by fellow aromatherapists. And the vast majority of posts look like this:

“I have _______________. What essential oil should I use?”

Sounds pretty innocent, right? You probably don’t think twice about asking.  There is nothing wrong with the question itself. You are asking a professional for advice. But to me, I feel like it's a loaded question. Because I don't believe that the answer is that cut and dry. Anyone who knows me on these pages know I ask more questions. I dig deeper. I won't give exact recipes. I give suggestions beyond essential oils. And ask more questions.


It’s not because you are asking for free advice. I would love to rattle off an essential oil to help you and it be the magic bullet for you. There are lots of essential oils that can help with lots of things. But how do I know it’s right for YOU if I don't know more about the issue itself?

Aromatherapy is a holistic practice. In the holistic health approach, symptoms are merely the body's way of telling us more is going on in the inside. If you want the problem to go away, then you cannot just stop the symptoms and expect the underlying problem to follow suit. You need to address the cause, the root, the source.  I work with the whole person. I look for a root cause. I had to study anatomy and physiology to become an aromatherapist and holistic health professional for a reason. Because everything is connected. 

If the client wants help to ease digestive issues, I look into what is causing the digestive issues. There could be a multitude of things that can cause stomach issues, and some of them are related to emotional issues, such as stress or anxiousness. The more I can dig deep to figure out the root cause, the better blend I can create to help and better plan of action I can recommend.

When I was a sales rep, I threw out suggestions all the time. I was taught to do that. I was taught that there was an oil for “everything”. I was taught that they were natural substances with no side effects. Any side effects were detox reactions. Sadly, I believed this marketing hype. I didn’t know any better.

Knowledge is power. After becoming a clinical aromatherapist, I now KNOW there are side effects. I, myself, suffer from sensitization due to overuse, improperly diluted, and neat use of oils. I have met people who have had asthma attacks triggered by certain essential oils. I have seen how certain calming oils can have an opposite affect on ADHD kids. I have seen eczema flare up worse with essential oils because the root cause was not considered when an essential oil was suggested to them. All of this could have been avoided with a simple consultation.

Does that mean I don’t give free advice? Absolutely not. Anyone who follows my Facebook page knows I love to share what I know with my followers. I share that Sweet Orange has been shown to help with dental anxiety or that Frankincense helps with meditation. Or using a certain carrier oil can help with inflammation. Or that this combination smells heavenly when diffused together. I will happily share what essential oils have helped support the body in my experience. However, just because that’s what research says or what an essential oil is known to do, or the fact that it worked for me, doesn’t mean it’s the best essential oil for you.

As I hinted early, some calming oils can have an opposite effect in some ADHD kids. So, while you may think, “Hmmm, she says Lavender is calming. I’ll try that with my son who has ADHD.” Then to find out that is makes your son MORE hyper. See the difference between general statements and customized professional advice?

I am proud of the Facebook group I help admin because we advocate that essential oils have cautions and are not always the answer. We give safety advice. We refer people to professionals when needed. We educate with a balanced approach to aromatherapy. We teach that...

You need to take free advice with a grain of salt. 

Here’s what you should do with free advice you get:

1.    Diffuser Blends- Unless you have small children, or are asthmatic/epileptic, free advice regarding diffuser blends is usually ok. The biggest concern is too many drops or suggesting it to be diffused for too long. If you are getting headaches or feeling nauseous, reduce the number of drops. Still not feeling right? Don’t use that recipe anymore.

2.    Topical Blends- If you are an adult, not on any medications, supplements, and without any health issues, I would double check with a professional aromatherapist for safety concerns. . *** Please remember that aromatherapists are professionals who have invested a lot of time and money into their education. Respect their choice whether or not they charge you for their advice. Just like you don’t expect doctors or lawyers to continue to give you free advice, do not expect other professionals to do as well. *** If you do have any health conditions, are on any medications or supplements, or are pregnant, nursing, or using it on small children, then a private consultation is in your best interest. Please refrain from asking for advice regarding medical conditions on the internet. If you are serious about getting better, then you need a private, holistic consultation that includes an intake form for the best possible results. 

3.    Internal Use- NEVER use free internal use "recipes" you find on the internet. Anyone with aromatic medicine training knows there are many factors to consider to ensure safety of the individual. This is a time where it is extremely imperative to seek a professional as most serious adverse effects involve internal use. 

4.    If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Essential oils can’t do everything. If you read a claim that this blend can cure cancer, dismiss it.

5.    Consider the source- What is the intention of the one giving advice? Is it to get you to buy more essential oils? Is it a qualified aromatherapist?

6.    If it says to ONLY use this brand of oils- It’s marketing. Move on. There is NO one brand of oils that is considered the best.

7.    You get what you pay for- If you are serious about essential oils, consider paying a small fee to attend a class taught by a certified aromatherapist. That is the best way to ensure that you are taught how to use essential oils safely and accurately and without the brand specific marketing.

So when you find out I’m an aromatherapist and I don’t answer your questions regarding the best oil for ________, please don’t be insulted when I don't give you a direct answer. I truly have your best interest in mind.


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