Musings On Motherhood and (Hopefully Helpful) Aromatherapy Tips

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Essential Oil Safety

I’m a firm believer in researching everything to death. I make no important decisions, especially about my family’s health, without reading everything I can find on the subject. I encourage everyone else to do so as well, but many people just take the information they are given from a single (sometimes biased, sometimes simply ill-informed) source, and believe it as 100% truth. This leads to misinformation spreading, and when it comes to your health, the results could be disastrous.

I love essential oils–the way they smell, the way they can sooth my stress. I’m going to tell you a little story about how I’m an idiot. DON’T BE ME.

Pictured: an accident waiting to happen.

For me, there are few things more relaxing than a hot, hot, SUPER HOT bath. And some Peace and Calming oil, which is both peaceful AND calming, so whoo hoo, win, win and triple win.

So I gleefully spiked my bath with a liberal amount of the oil and hopped in. All was blissful until I noticed my skin was…burning…just a bit. Then a bit more…I got out of the tub to find that I was covered in red splotches. Yup, I had overdone it with the oil, which contains both orange and tangerine oils (which are a bit acid-y, hmm?). The proper response to this situation is to rub yourself down with a carrier oil (V-6, in my case) and hope for the best. I did, and all was well.

If you believe something has the power to help you, you must also believe it has the power to hurt you (I read that somewhere, it’s a quote from someone smarter than me, although I can’t remember who), so for the love of your baby-soft skin, be careful and know what you’re doing.

A few points:

  • Dilute every oil in a carrier oil–I use V-6 oil, but olive oil or sweet almond oil work well. Only a few gentle oils such as chamomile and lavender should be used directly on skin, although obviously if you’ve been using oils for a long time and are used to them, you may find several that you can just slather on without a problem.
  • Check for allergic reactions by mixing a single drop of the oil with a carrier oil and rubbing it into your skin. Let it sit for about 24 hours and check for any kind of reaction–red, itchy bumps, hives, etc. Better to find out with a tiny bit of oil and a mild reaction than to go around pouring it over yourself with abandon and having your entire head swell up until it’s the size of a prize-winning pumpkin (that’s how allergies work, right?).
  • You only need a drop or two, mixed with a carrier oil, to see results. Essential oils are highly concentrated, and using only a tiny bit blended with a carrier is the safest way to use them and saves you money. I like to use Young Living’s V-6 carrier oil and put several drops of each oil I want to use right in the V-6 bottle to make custom massage oils.
  • Keep them out of your eyes. Seriously.
  • Use common sense when deciding if you should ingest an oil. A couple drops of orange or lemon oil in your tea? Sure. A little cinnamon bark in your coffee? Absolutely. Eucalyptus? No way–it can be toxic if taken internally. There are people who swallow oils all willy-nilly and never have a problem, but I prefer caution, because when you’re taking something for your health, it really sucks if it kills you. When in doubt, take a second to look it up online, or call¬† your doctor.
  • I use lavender oil on my whole family, as I’ve mentioned, but don’t just start using your kids as Mommy’s Little Oil Tester. Every good mother wants what’s best for her children, but many people make the mistake of thinking that natural equals safe. Please remember: If you are going to use essential oils for their medicinal properties, or for any reason, you MUST TREAT THEM AS MEDICINE, and remember that they have risks.
  • If you have certain conditions, such as asthma, epilepsy, or heart problems, consult your health care provider before using the oils.
  • Keep your oils away from open flames, and never burn pure essential oils.

I believe in the power of essential oils 100%, and I also believe that when used properly they can enhance your life greatly. I hope you all have wonderful experiences with them, and I hope that perhaps I’ve helped to clear up some of the questions you might have.

Have a beautiful day all,

Loretta

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