Aromatherapy is a pseudoscience based on the usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being.[1] It is offered as a complementary therapy or as a form of alternative medicine, the first meaning alongside standard treatments,[2] the second instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.[3]

Some essential massage oils may make their way into the placenta, an organ in your uterus that grows along with your baby and helps to nourish it. It’s not clear if this causes any problems, unless you take toxic amounts, but to be safe, it’s best to avoid certain oils if you’re pregnant. Those include wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure.
Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils. So you may need to dilute them more. And you should totally avoid some oils, like birch and wintergreen. In even small amounts, those may cause serious problems in kids 6 or younger because they contain a chemical called methyl salicylate. Don’t use essential oils on a baby unless your pediatrician says it’s OK.

Aromatherapy, today, is described by the Federation of Holistic Therapists as the 'systematic use of plant essential oils for therapeutic purposes.’ Essential oils, that are extracted from aromatic plants,  have properties which can trigger healing effects in the body. As a complementary therapy, aromatherapy is used to help people restore their health and wellbeing, naturally encouraging the body to heal itself. If you visit an aromatherapist the main treatment will usually comprise of a full body massage, using essential oils diluted in a vegetable base oil. There are also various safe and effective self-care techniques that you can use at home. So, how do you get started?
The thing to check is that the essential oil is good quality and pure, and not a synthetic fragrance: this is where most people get confused. Essential oils are extracted from a single botanical source by distillation or expression; they are pure plant extract. This is what gives them their powerful therapeutic benefits – it is no good using synthetic fragrance oils.
In the era of modern medicine, the naming of this treatment first appeared in print in 1937 in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé [fr], a chemist. An English version was published in 1993.[11] In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.[12]
The information provided on this Web site, through its social media networks and in supporting materials and communications is intended for basic, general informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and it does not include all possible precautions, side effects, or interactions that may occur. Neither AromaWeb, LLC nor its founder take responsibility for how you use the information provided. Statements contained on AromaWeb have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should conduct thorough research via multiple sources and consult directly with a qualified doctor before using any essential oil or product. Information on AromaWeb must not be relied upon for medical, legal, financial or other decisions.
^ Kuriyama, Hiroko; Watanabe, Satoko; Nakaya, Takaaki; Shigemori, Ichiro; Kita, Masakazu; Yoshida, Noriko; Masaki, Daiki; Tadai, Toshiaki; Ozasa, Kotaro; Fukui, Kenji; Imanishi, Jiro (2005). "Immunological and Psychological Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2 (2): 179–184. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh087. PMC 1142199. PMID 15937558.
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Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils. So you may need to dilute them more. And you should totally avoid some oils, like birch and wintergreen. In even small amounts, those may cause serious problems in kids 6 or younger because they contain a chemical called methyl salicylate. Don’t use essential oils on a baby unless your pediatrician says it’s OK.
Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils. So you may need to dilute them more. And you should totally avoid some oils, like birch and wintergreen. In even small amounts, those may cause serious problems in kids 6 or younger because they contain a chemical called methyl salicylate. Don’t use essential oils on a baby unless your pediatrician says it’s OK.

While some advocate the ingestion of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, licensed aromatherapy professionals do not recommend self-prescription due to the highly toxic nature of some essential oils. Some very common oils like eucalyptus are extremely toxic when taken internally. Doses as low as 2 mL have been reported to cause clinically significant symptoms and severe poisoning can occur after ingestion of as little as 4 mL.[37] A few reported cases of toxic reactions like liver damage and seizures have occurred after ingestion of sage, hyssop, thuja and cedar oils.[38] Accidental ingestion may happen when oils are not kept out of reach of children. As with any bioactive substance, an essential oil that may be safe for the general public could still pose hazards for pregnant and lactating women.[citation needed]
A 2014 systematic review conducted at the University of Minnesota evaluated 15 quantitative studies, including 11 randomized controlled trials that examined the effects of essential oils on sleep. Researchers found that a majority of the study findings suggest a positive effect of oils on sleep deprivation and disturbances. Lavender oil was the most frequently studied oil and of all evaluated studies, no adverse events were reported. (20)
Another researched essential oils benefit is their role in aiding and improving digestion. Some oils help to relieve upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, stomach spasms and even conditions of the gastrointestinal system, such as IBS. Oils can also aid your digestion by helping to stimulate digestive enzymes that make it easier to break down and absorb the nutrients, fats and protein that you need.
Disclaimer: We do not endorse, nor do we encourage anyone to implement Aromatherapy or any suggestions contained within this site without the consent of his/her medical doctor. We also do not take any liability for your implementation of any oils, recipes, or anything else available through this site, from any book or company recommendation, or available on any site linked from Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC

DO: Learn to compare apples to apples when shopping for oils. Anise, Lavender, Bay, Cedarwood, and Eucalyptus are examples of the common names of plants used to create essential oils. There, however, are different varieties of each of these plants. To differential these varieties, the botanical name (also referred to as the Latin name) is used to tell them apart. For instance, two different oils are referred to as "Bay essential oil," yet they come from two different plants. The properties and aroma of each oil do differ as does the general cost between the two. It, therefore, is important to pay attention to the botanical name. In the case of Bay, the common botanical names for the two oils used in this example are Pimenta racemosa and Laurus nobilis. For more information, read AromaWeb's Guide to The Importance of Using Botanical Names With Essential Oils.


Shown to the right is a bottle with a rubber dropper top. It's okay to use a bottle with dropper top to store essential oils that are blended with carrier oils at very low dilution for a few months or less. However, do not store pure, undiluted essential oils in bottles with rubber dropper tops. The rubber will turn to mush and ruin the oil. It's okay if the bottle has a plastic orifice reducer (euro dropper) insert inside the bottle as the material can withstand essential oils.
Evidence for the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating medical conditions is poor, with a particular lack of studies employing rigorous methodology.[19][20] A number of systematic reviews have studied the clinical effectiveness of aromatherapy in respect to pain management in labor,[21] the treatment of post-operative nausea and vomiting,[6] managing challenging behaviors in people who have dementia,[22] and symptom relief in cancer.[23] However, some studies have come to the conclusion that while it does improve the patient's mood, there is no conclusive evidence on how it works with pain management.[24] Studies have been inconclusive because of the fact that no straightforward evidence exists. All of these reviews report a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of aromatherapy.[17]
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