"If it works for you, it's fine."

Posted by Lauren Bridges on

This is one of the most careless statements I see regarding aromatherapeutic treatment.

Not everything is fine the way people portray it to be. Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s safe. And in many circumstances, we can take what may be an unsafe application and convert it into a reasonable dose form that reduces whatever risks were previously not accounted for. The statement itself is difficult in that there is an element of truth to it in the sense that sometimes a benefit may outweigh a risk. Depending on the struggle, a client and aromatherapist may decide that, for the course of individual treatment, something typically looked down on in the public area is appropriate for the circumstances.

Been there. But there is process to the reasoning that brings us to these decisions, and they are never reflective of what is appropriate for the general public.

I take an issue with the blasé pronouncement we often see with this concept because it dismisses that harm can come from certain kinds of usage. And the judgement of what is “fine” is often left to indiscriminate perceptions rather than a careful account of how things play out.

“Fine” can lead to an avalanche of potential issues. Not all harm or damage is easily apparent. Sometimes we don’t know harm has been done until it is too late. So, “fine” must be further qualified and—like most things with essential oil therapies—be based on the individual while removing blinders that allow for false judgements as much as possible.

A good (though cliche) example of this is the neat use of lavender. For decades this kind of use was viewed as fine. It “worked” for people. And no argument there. People saw results they were wanting for various things. But now? We have more and more people discovering they are sensitized to lavender and other “gentle” essential oils alike because *how* damage occurs from this kind of use can take far longer to manifest than thought in the past.

Next time you see someone say “if it works for you, it’s fine,” please take it with a grain of salt. Safe, effective aromatherapeutic care is subject to so much more than offhanded whims. To be fair, sometimes what the public views as unsafe is in fact justifiable under particular circumstances. But if you cannot yourself justify why this would be or if your practitioner cannot, take a moment to consider yourself worth more than an apathetic assumption, and seek a second opinion. And never justify something being “fine” for you to do because someone—professional or not—said so on the internet.

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