Qualified Aromatherapists, the General Public, and General Guidelines

Posted by Lauren Bridges on

I'm going to dub this week "No Filter Week" and share my thoughts freely.

Plainly and simply, aromatherapists understand (or should) aromatherapeutic applications in a way that the general public does not.

Huge hunk of truth here: I love the general guidelines. They are fantastic, and they allow the public in most cases to safely navigate essential oil applications. But the dilution charts and other usage guidelines so many cling to are not the inarguable, absolute limit of what can and cannot be done - nor were they intended to do be. This is easily seen if one explores other recommended applications from the same safety resources (do a search and check out wound care - you may be shocked), but many fail to realize this. I blame the dogma that pervades our community for this, but that really isn't a surprise.

But as a result of this misunderstanding, we run into issues on par with what we've discussed over the last couple of days - such as the unprofessional community blasting professionals over "doing it wrong" or being "unsafe," or people who need help being left without options that actually can be done safely under the appropriate care.

On the flip-side we come across reps and well-meaning individuals in the, for lack of a better term, safety community giving misplaced advice on use. In the case of those selling a specific product in their recommendations, illegal advice.

I've said before that we need to have a better understanding of what really is unsafe use and then "not for home use." But in this day and age of the internet and DIYing all the things, we're left with a large crowd that often thinks they can just find the answer through a Google search and manage and that they can do it as well as an aromatherapist.

I can't tell you how many times I've see that perspective crumble (in humble beauty) and then people's understanding transform once they get professional help.

An aromatherapist's job and guidance is not defined by a chart. Now, very often the recommendations within these can be effective in therapeutic situations. But sometimes they aren't. And you're going to have to pry a bottle of something that is over a 1-2% dilution intended for improving the quality of life of a child who suffers from pain - for whatever reason - out of my cold, dead hands before I stop speaking out about the kind of nonsense we see leaving vulnerable populations suffering.

Ineffective "treatment" isn't aromatherapy. It doesn't matter if one "stuck within the guidelines." It's wasting natural resources rather than using them correctly if it doesn't get the job done. And if the general guidelines can't get the job done, you need more qualified help.

We have to step outside of the bubble where people believe a chart or other guideline will resolve their issues without fail. If you have had success there, please understand how very lucky you are. Because there are people who do not see success within those parameters, and more often than not they are given the perspective that aromatherapy isn't an option for them anymore if what they require doesn't fit on a chart. I see it daily.

NO. Not the case. Never will be the case. Never has been the case. In rarer circumstances, yes, aromatherapy is not an option for some people. But their need not responding to something like a chart has never been the reason for that.

This is why we have aromatherapists. We understand things beyond a chart. We can help you weigh the risks and benefits of what you want to do to make INFORMED decisions about how you want to proceed. And when the general guidelines don't serve you, we can safely address your needed applications beyond what you may have thought possible. Sometimes this may mean pointing you toward therapeutic options other than aromatherapy. Sometimes it simply means approaching your application differently.

Sometimes it means going beyond the public's perception of what is "safe."

This does not mean that what is being suggested no longer qualifies as safe; it means that that word doesn't necessarily encompass the restrictions the public thought. But the public doesn't always realize this. Why?

It's simple. Dogma prevails. People have bought into the lies and misunderstandings of the masses. But you can't learn everything online or through books. Aromatherapists have an education that goes beyond these, and it's time that this was more broadly understood - for the sake of everyone who needs more help.

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