Great Expectations

Jan 23, 06:23 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

As aromatherapy continues to build in popularity, I am seeing an increasing number of disturbing posts in social media essential oil groups. Here is a sampling from the past 2 weeks:

I want to know if anyone has some good essential oil recipes for controlling high blood pressure. Would you please share?

My mother has cancer and I want to know the best oils to buy for her. I'm especially interested in frankincense and myrrh. She doesn't want to have any conventional cancer treatments.

I'm having persistent retinal bleeding and want to know what essential oils might be safe to apply around the eyes.

What are your opinions [on aromatherapy] for delayed speech in a 3 1/2 year old child?

What do all these posts have in common? They're from people who have extremely unrealistic expectations about aromatherapy. They're from people who buy into the "there's an oil for that" mentality. They're from people who believe that allopathic medicine cannot offer an appropriate solution to their very serious health issue, or perhaps that conventional medicine should be avoided at all times and at all cost. They're from people who want a free advice on a completely impractical solution to a complex and/or potentially life-threatening problem.

At the same end of this unrealistic spectrum, I cannot imagine why anyone would visit a social media group and expect to receive reliable, sound advice about serious, complex illnesses or developmental problems. Why would anyone think that hundreds of complete strangers, most of whom have been newly introduced to aromatherapy, could provide expert (or even remotely safe) advice? If Dr. Facebook, Dr. Pinterest and Dr. Google were real people, their medical licenses would have been revoked long ago.

My message to newbies: curb your expectations. There isn't always "an oil for that." If you're new to essential oils, concentrate on learning basic aromatherapy care for common, everyday ailments such as sunburn, headaches, seasonal colds, stress, PMS or laryngitis, to name just a few. Leave the more complicated stuff to the professionals. That's what we're here for. And for god's sake, if you suffer from a condition that may cause you to lose your eyesight or have a stroke, see a medical doctor pronto. That's what they're here for.

As you begin to use essential oils on a regular basis for simple, everyday health issues, you'll have some hits and misses. Everybody does; that's part of the learning process. Guided by some reputable aromatherapy books and a short class or two, you'll quickly get a feel for what essential oils can and cannot do.

Please don't live in the fragrant fantasy ethers. Get down-to-earth about your expectations of aromatherapy and your sources of essential oil information. Be sensible. Be realistic. Be safe. 




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