This discipline relies on a greater understanding of the chemical structure and the pharmacological/toxicological effects of essential oils, to suggest safe dosage levels and contra-indications for use.Developing from the domain of beauty therapy, we can see a particular "dogma" has evolved, one that is "gentle" and oriented from an "energetic" perspective towards both "low-dose" applications and the avoidance of internal and other "high-dose" applications.As such, I suggest that this particular bias has served as the "philosophical base" on which many of the common statements regarding essential oil toxicity are based.
In this presentation, I will explore the range of recommendations made and address the validity of each, especially addressing the underlying assumptions and reasons for these statements.
Practitioner training, even up to the present day, has tended to concentrate more on massage and other application methods, than on an in-depth understanding of essential oils from both the chemical/pharmacological viewpoint and their full history of use in traditional medicine. Maury also stated her own preference to avoid the more "medical" applications of essential oils, including internal use.
Such applications, she felt, were best left to medical practitioners. Maury, the growth of "Holistic" Aromatherapy continued primarily in England by those influenced by her, such as Marceline Arcier and Daniele Ryman.
I have personally been involved in the both the practice and the business of Aromatherapy since arriving in Australia in 1986.
Having always approached the therapeutic use of essential oils from the "radical" French "Aromatic Medicine" perspective, I have long noted the many incongruous and exaggerated statements regarding essential oil toxicity.
Over these past twelve years, through my involvement with various government and industry bodies, I have specifically focused on this topic of "essential oil toxicity" as one area of study, given the potential "poisons scheduling" of various essential oils by the Australian National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee.Three reasons appear to me outstanding - that of "philosophical" differences, the lack of knowledge amongst practitioners and authors and the fear of public misuse. Daniel Pénöel's concept of the "Aromatic Tryptic" (1), we can characterise "Holistic" Aromatherapy as fundamentally "energetic" in nature.In contrast, we can say the French "Aromatic Medicine" approach that has developed most strongly amongst French medical practitioners (as well as naturopathic and herbal medicine practitioners) since R. Gattefosse's work in the 1930's, is more of a "physical" approach.This "French" approach often utilises comparatively high doses of essential oils both topically and internally, to realise dose-dependent pharmacological effects.Originally developed by Maugerite Maury in France during the 1930's (2), this approach has become the dominant form of Aromatherapy practiced in English-speaking countries.Employing relatively low dosages of essential oils (generally 2.5% or less in massage applications), the majority of therapeutic effects noted appear to be primarily of a secondary "energetic" or "terrain" nature, as in the case of acupuncture or homeopathy, for example, as well as working via the olfactory sphere."Holistic" Aromatherapy originally developed primarily in the domain of beauty therapy.