The Safest Ways to Use Essential Oils

Photography: Getty Images

There are several factors that impact the safe use of essential oils. We spoke to some aromatherapy experts to find out the safest ways to incorporate essential oils into spas:

  • “The key to any successful treatment is actively listening to your guests’ needs and understanding specific ailments they may be facing and how to address them, so they still receive the most incredible experience. Using selected oils, formulated with ingredients of superior quality, following the strictest standards to prevent any type of allergy and which have been subjected to specific allergy tests, is really important. Selecting formulas that don’t contain tree nuts and are paraben-free, preservative-free, and hypoallergenic will satisfy all needs without risks.”—Hanna Ralston, education and aesthetic manager, Natura Bissé
  • “Guests with existing medical conditions can usually be treated with care, but a doctor’s permission is recommended. Some points to remember: Asthma: always ask the guest to smell a chosen blend to check that breathing isn’t affected; Diabetes: wait until two hours after a meal and/or taking insulin before giving a treatment; Epilepsy: avoid stimulating formulations; Cancer: a guest undergoing radiation or chemotherapy should receive medical approval before treatment; Pregnancy: choose only recommended aromatherapy products, delay treatment until week 14 of the pregnancy, and do not treat any woman with a poor obstetric history without a doctor’s permission; Babies and Children: use only recommended aromatherapy products, and never apply essential oils directly onto the skin that have not been diluted with a carrier oil first.”—Kimberlee Geng, director of education for the Americas, Aromatherapy Associates
  • “Proper dilution is one very important factor when it comes to safety with essential oils. Although some are gentle enough to apply directly, others  are so potent they can cause harm to the surface of the skin.”—Monique White, marketing project manager for aromatherapy and certified aromatherapist, Epicuren Discovery
  • “Having a staff that is well educated on the safe and appropriate uses of essential oils impacts the guest experience more than any other single factor.”—Laurie Berry, director of education, Body Bliss
  • “Their source, freshness, and quality are important and the knowledge of their use. Their therapeutic properties are for alleviating psychosomatic conditions wherein the condition originates emotionally and manifests physically. In other words, aromatherapy works because our mental state affects our physical state.”—Vivian Valenty, Ph.D., president, VB Cosmetics



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