Like any therapeutic tool, essential oils must be used with caution and respect. Basil, clary sage, juniper, rosemary, marjoram, fennel, clove bud, cypress, peppermint, cedarwood and lemongrass should be avoided during pregnancy because they may induce menstruation or have diuretic properties which would deplete fluid in the foetal sac. The citrus oils can cause skin photosenstisation to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and exposure to the sun should be restricted for no less than four hours after using such oils. People with high blood pressure, epilepsy, neural disorders or kidney disease need to be especially careful as oils like cypress, rosemary, jumiper and black pepper as they may aggravate their conditions. Oils should never be used undiluted on the skin and never contact the eyes or sensitive parts of the body as they can cause redness and burning. An unfortunate friend of mine once went crazy with a bottle of orange oil in the bath and suffered mild burns on her legs. If a stinging sensation, inflammation or burning does occur, apply a lot of carrier oil immediately. This will help to disperse the essential oils.
Essential oils are categorised by species, chemical constituents and effect. They are divided into three ‘notes’ - top, middle and base - in a similar way to the ingredients of perfume. Top notes are uplifting and refreshing, middle notes affect body systems and the general metabolism and base notes are sedating. They are mixed with a variety of carrier oils for massage, each with its own additional therapeutic value
Remember - - - 'STRESSED' spelt backwards! is 'DESSERTS'