Essential Oil & Massage – Toxicity and Contraindications

Today, we are all aware of the use of essential oils in massage. However due to the popularity of essential oils and massage it seems that everyone is suddenly an expert or ‘couch professional’. Many people who have not undergone professional training in the use of these potentially toxic oils recommend and sell them on to the general public….this is extremely dangerous and here I wish to enlighten you on the importance of obtaining oils and receiving treatments from qualified professionals.

Modern scientific research has now pin-pointed most of the therapeutic properties of herbs and oils in the form of specific chemical components, deepening our understanding of how each oil or herb works in the body. Essential oils work on many levels and individual oils have a number of uses. Like herbal remedies, an essential oil can cover a wide variety of activities, stimulating certain systems in the body whilst sedating and relaxing others. In order to fully comprehend the therapeutic use of essential oils, their uses and actions, one has to understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body as well as the pathology of certain diseases, how the chemical components affect each of the systems within the body and interact with disease. Hence aromatherapy professionals have to be trained in the different systems in the body, their workings and inter-relatedness in order to practice publicly and call themselves qualified specialists.

There is a reason people are specialists in this world – no one person can know it all about everything, hence people choose a specialization or a few and either get training or work experience to be able to provide a comprehensive service to the public – ‘everyone has a role to play for the greater good of the whole’. One is not going to consult a doctor about fixing the suspension on their car but consulting a mechanic would be a correct choice. The same can be said for massage, which can done by most people however when it comes to certain health conditions and injuries, knowing how to massage correctly and knowing when not to massage or use certain oils, professional training is essential.

The stories I have heard from people being recommended oils and giving massage without professional training is astounding. I’ll share a few of these gems with you…. one lady told me she gave a deep tissue massage to another lady with a swollen leg – ouch dangerous – any trained professional massage therapist knows that deep pressure on swellings leads to all sorts of complications; another person made a bath blend for someone with sensitive skin using skin irritant oils; another used deep pressure directly on the spine to release pain without first discovering the reason behind the pain was due to a trapped nerve after a car accident; someone else made a toxic oil blend for a child’s eczema; another person recommended lavender oil for a pregnant lady in the first trimester (a popular misconception that lavender is always a safe to use oil) – the stories go on. A true professional will say ‘no’ to providing a massage or recommending oils if the client’s condition is contraindicated and will not benefit from such practices.

Qualified health professionals have to belong to professional organizations who provide the therapist with liability insurance and monthly newsletters containing information on contra-indications, new uses for products and treatments. All the training and professional organization’s membership fees cost money hence professional treatments are reflected in the price – a trained aromatherapist will not mind to show you their diploma certificates.

For your information and the added information for those that sell on and do not have the professional qualifications, please consult a qualified aromatherapist to ensure you, your family and clients are getting the correct information and not harming themselves or others through lack of correct up-to-date information.

‘Your health is your greatest wealth’ Hippocrates

©Article by Caroline Evans of Heaven On Earth Herbals

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