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Why Consult A Professional Aromatherapist?

Written by: Regina Bauscher, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

The Growth of the Essential Oil Industry. Essential oils have generated a lot of buzz over the last few decades. These oils are typically sourced from a variety of plants whose compounds are extracted through pressure, steam, or the use of solvents. Science and research have affirmed the therapeutic potential of many essential oils, some more than others.

A picture of essential oil with reflection.

The pharmaceutical industry has supported this research into essential oil constituents. Essential oils literally have hundreds of components, so to study a complete oil would be prohibitively expensive. This cost of chemical analysis through gas chromatography is why whole oils are not typically studied. So, the pharmaceutical industry focuses on those constituents that show the most promise. (i.e.: Linalool found in Lavender).


Essential oil usage has soared with the rise in interest of natural living, homesteading, homeopathic and naturopathic medicine. Hundreds of essential oil companies arose up with several multi-level marketing companies that “specialize” in essential oils, each claiming to offer only the “purest” oils on the market. The market literally exploded, and oils were touted as the cure-all for everything from asthma to attention deficit disorder, to cancer. Sadly, this also has resulted in many documented essential oil injuries and adverse reactions.


With hundreds of oils on the market, the average consumer faces a confusing/challenging decision on what, how and where to use essential oils in their life. With companies advertising “Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils”, consumers are drawn into a false sense of security.


What is a Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil?


Most consumers do not know that there actually is no such thing as “therapeutic grade”. A single certifying agency in the United States does not exist that analyzes or grades essential oils. Those words are simply a marketing term that is very common and widely accepted without question.


Gas Chromatography (GC) analysis is a scientific test run on essential oils to determine if they contain the expected constituents. This test also can detect any adulterations or synthetic additions to a natural oil. When purchasing an essential oil, the buyer is within their rights to request the results of a GC analysis. Most responsible suppliers are more than happy to provide the results of an oil analysis to secure the consumer’s trust. However, a GC test still does not guarantee or prove any therapeutic potential in an oil. A GC analysis shows the specific constituents in oils and can illuminate if there are any synthetic substitutions or adulterations with other undesirable compounds.


Professionalism in Essential Oils


In 1990, the founding members of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) worked together to create an organization that sought to separate fact from fiction, train essential oil professionals and offer the public a trusted source through which education would be possible. In effect, NAHA sets the guidelines for trained aromatherapists to follow.


NAHA is now a respected institution offering certification programs for professionals seeking to specialize in the use of essential oils. In the United States, there are two levels of Certification. Level 1 is for individuals wanting to learn about essential oils for their own personal use. Thirty hours of essential oil training are necessary. Level 2 is much more intensive for those wanting to practice aromatherapy as a profession. This level means at least 200 hours of study are required including the study of physiology and anatomy, the completion of multiple case studies demonstrating proficiency in blending essential oils, a complete understanding of what constitutes essential oil safety and the passing of a final exam. Yearly continuing education courses are required to maintain certification.


Before making any recommendations on essential oil usage, a professional aromatherapist will discuss the client’s lifestyle, health concerns/needs and reasons for wanting to use essential oils.


Essential Oil Safety


Understanding the contraindications of various oils is critically important. The components of essential oils are found in many pharmaceutical medications and an overdose situation may inadvertently occur. For example, a trained Aromatherapist knows that a cancer patient should not use essential oils for 48 hours after a chemotherapy treatment.


Unfortunately, problems do arise when a person with little or no formal training gives off-the-cuff essential oil advice, dosages, and methods of use. Essential Oils are incredibly potent chemicals from nature. Just because it comes from nature, does not mean they are inherently safe. In the hands of an untrained amateur, essential oils have the potential for harm.


Visualize this. An essential oil salesperson operates four separate diffusers continually in her booth at a gift show. She also carries an infant in a swaddling wrap hanging from her shoulder. The baby is in the booth for over 2 hours. Salespeople are trained to sell. So, what is wrong with this picture?

  1. Essential oils should not be used around infants under a year old

  2. Essential oil constituents that are inhaled get into the bloodstream within minutes.

  3. Children’s immune systems are not fully developed and chemical exposure at a young age has lasting effects.

  4. Repeated, excessive exposure can lead to allergies, particularly in children. 5). Diffusers should never be left on continually or for long periods, regardless of age.

Essential oils do not affect everyone the same way. Depending on a person’s immune system, the benefits can be amazing. They can also be minimal to non-existent. They do not work for everyone. Excessive exposure does lead to side-effects.


Unfortunately, the responsibility for safe usage, falls on the consumer. to research oils before use. The internet is not a reliable source of essential oil information, yet that is where many consumers go looking for advice. Consumers fall victim to polished marketing presentations and broad-based advice.


Consulting a trained aromatherapist will protect you and your family from over-exposure, will help you make informed, healthy choices for which oils are beneficial, and even train you to recognize the best oils regardless of marketing hype and sales tactics.


Reach out to us with questions at info@HoneySweetieAcres.com or visit www.NAHA.org to find a certified aromatherapist in your area. It will be a wonderful learning opportunity for you. Helpful links:

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or visit my website for more info!

 

Regina Bauscher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Regina Bauscher has worked in the clean skin space for over 20 years. It began in making "clean" products for her family while raising her children. With education in chemistry, advanced certification in Soap-Making, Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, her goal is to create products that do no harm, create for those who are sensitive skinned and help people find comfort in their skin. Regina is a Level 2 Certified Aromatherapist.

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