I remember when I first discovered aromatherapy several years ago. I was fascinated by essential oils and excited to try using them. Looking back, I realize I should have done a bit more research before diving into aromatherapy. I offer you the advice I wish I’d had when I was an aromatherapy newbie.
1. Buy One or Two Aromatherapy Books (or three, four, five............)
Choose one or two books to start your aromatherapy library. Select books that are general resources, which will give you some basic information and help you discover the areas in which you have the most interest. Then grow your library with books that delve into the topics you like more. Remember your library can keep growing and just because you start with a certain way to use your oils doesn't mean you can't venture into different areas later.
2. Join Aromatherapy Discussion Forums
Facebook Groups, Instagram pages and other forums are great resources for aromatherapy newbies. Read past discussions, ask questions, and learn from others. After you have done research to learn the basics, your next best source are other practitioners of the craft. You can learn and help others develop skills together.
3. Choose Five to Ten Essential Oils to Start
Though you may be tempted to buy more, try to begin with just five to ten different essential oils. Essential oils can be quite expensive, so you may want to experiment with a few at first and then invest in more if you decide to pursue aromatherapy further. Think about what you want to use them for, who will be using them, and if they are pet/child safe to help you choose the best starters for you.
4. Make Sure to Buy 100%, Pure, Unadulterated Essential Oils
When you buy essential oils, choose a well-known and reputable manufacturer. Synthetic, fragrance, and perfume oils are not essential oils; they contain man-made chemicals and have no aromatherapeutic value. I suggest you research the brands you are interested in and find out how they make their oils to ensure a high quality product.
5. Buy at Least One Carrier Oil
For nearly all topical aromatherapy applications, you will need to dilute essential oils into a carrier oil. Good all-purpose carrier oils include sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil. Buy cosmetic grade carrier oils, and use only a few drops of essential oil(s) per ounce of carrier oil. Depending on your recipe, make sure to dilute the essential oils properly. Depending on your usage for the oil, you can also consider olive oil, avocado oil, and other food grade oils for your craftings. They tend to be inexpensive options for the beginner.
6. Store Your Oils Properly
Essential oils should be stored only in dark glass containers. Since essential oils are volatile, keep the lids tightly closed. Essential oils and carrier oils should be stored away from heat and light. Carrier oils will go rancid eventually, so it's best to buy smaller quantities unless you plan to use them often.
7. Learn How to Do a Patch Test
Essential oils can cause adverse reactions, due to allergy or due to sensitization over time. A patch test helps to determine whether you might react to a particular essential oil. Learn how to perform a skin patch test on yourself with each new oil you want to use topically.
8. Don't Use Aromatherapy with Children or Pets
Until you are thoroughly familiar with essential oils and associated safety issues, don't use them on children or pets, or while pregnant or breastfeeding. Cats, in particular, may be adversely affected by essential oils. Make sure essential oils are kept out of reach of children. I highly suggest consulting with a pediatrician or veterinarian before using any essential oil on children or pets for the first time even if you have done ample research.
9. Don't Ingest Essential Oils
Though you will read conflicting information about taking essential oils internally, you should avoid doing this. Some essential oils that are fairly safe to use topically may be quite toxic if taken internally. In addition, some essential oils may interact with prescription or over the counter drugs. Always consult with your doctor or herbalist professional before ingesting essential oils.
As you experiment with and learn more about aromatherapy, you will become more condent using essential oils. There is so much to explore, so be safe and have fun! :)