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General Safety Considerations for Essential Oil Use

(Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Copyright 1994,The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual)

  • Keep essential oils out of reach of children. Do not leave a bottle which has no fixed integral dropper where a child could take off the cap and consume contents.

  • Do not use directly on or near the eyes; ensure caution with compresses. Most diluted essential oils will sting the eyes; if accidents happen, flush with clean warm water; if NEAT oils get in the eye, immediately flush with cold full fat milk, or vegetable oil to dilute. If stinging is not alleviated, seek medical assistance.

  • Do not, unless otherwise advised by an expert, apply neat essential oil onto the skin.

  • To remove neat oil spills on hands, use cream or vegetable oil to dilute, apply soap, wash with warm water; may need to be repeated.

  • Never assume that an essential oil will have the same properties as credited to the whole plant from which it is obtained.

  • Ingesting any oil should only be undertaken under the supervision of a professional health advisor and never exceed the suggested amount.

  • Essential oils should always be used diluted over a large body area.

  • Excess (of EOs) can cause headaches, nausea and general feeling of uneasiness; drink plenty of water, get fresh air, take frequent breaks.

  • Do not drive a motor vehicle (or allow client to) immediately following a relaxation treatment or after using soporific oils (e.g., clary sage)

  • Regulate the frequency when using essential oils. If used daily over a two week period, give a week's grace before recommending treatment.

  • Reduce the chance of acquiring a sensitivity reaction from constant use of the same oil(s) over several years by varying choices. This gives the body a break from constant use.

  • If any kind of skin rash is observed when using a particular essential oil, stop using it immediately and try another oil.

When working daily with essential oils, follow these precautions:

  • Use only safe essential oils in dilution, avoid contact with neat oils (by wearing gloves when bottling)

  • Ensure adequate ventilation

  • Take frequent breaks

  • Tolerance increase with time

  • Avoid transferring oils to sensitive areas (nose, face, neck)

  • Vary the essential oils worked with (or diffused) daily

  • Avoid sensitizing oils if hands become cracked or sore