I just returned from a weekend where I participated in a health and wellness fair. It was a great experience to get to meet people and, more importantly, understand how they want to improve their health.
I found the majority of people wanted to incorporate products that are natural, green and less toxic into their life. When people stopped by my booth some of the first questions they asked about my products were, "what are essential oils, is it good for me, does it have bad stuff in it, what can it do for me".
Most people understand that essential oils/aromatherapy smells good, but don't always understand the benefits that it can have. People who stopped by my booth ranged in their understanding of aromatherapy. I found that people generally fell into 1 of 3 categories: (1) I have no idea what aromatherapy is, (2) wanting to understand how they could incorporate essential oils/aromatherapy into their every day life, and (3) some people were like me, essential oil junkies. Throughout my discussions I found most interesting that many people were unaware of the safety issues in using essential oils. I mean "it's natural" isn't is good for me. I have two answers for that, yes AND no. When essential oils are used within their safety guidelines they can be very helpful and therapeutic. It is when people start using an oil without any understanding of it's chemical properties that it can become a problem.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to squash all essential oil lovers out there. I just want to point out that just because it is natural doesn't mean it is okay to use it without education and understanding. Essential oils are driven by their chemistry. Each oil contains a unique set of chemical components that contributes to their therapeutic effectiveness. It's great that an oil smells good, but it is more than that. For example, it is the azulene in chamomile that gives an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect. Each body responds to these components differently. Children, elderly and those undergoing treatment for medical conditions are more sensitive in their response to essential oils/aromatherapy. Extra caution should be taken when using them on this group.
What is my point in saying this? Education and knowledge is the key. Do your homework, there are a couple good safety books and websites out their that can help you understand essential oil safety. Robert Tisserand's Essential Oil safety or Lea Harris website discussing safety issues: http://www.learningabouteos.com/
Continue on in your enthusiasm for essential oils and use of aromatherapy products that use them. Empower yourself to learn about them and be safe as you use them!!