French Aromatherapy

Schools of Aromatherapy & Internal Use of Essential Oils

I know at some point every single one of us has heard “Taking oils internally IS NOT SAFE”. Makes me kind of chuckle and kind of cringe all at once, and at the same time it makes me want to recommend books, studies & courses for these people to check out because when using a quality therapeutic grade oil, many of them ARE safe to take internally!

Let’s talk about the three schools of Aromatherapy:

-The German school emphasizes inhalation (aromatic use) as the best way to receive benefits of Essential Oils.

-The English (aka the British) emphasize topical use (massaged on the skin) with carrier oils as the best practice for aromatherapy. They also practice diluting heavily-using only 2%-5% of Essential Oils with the rest being a neutral carrier oil. In other words, they recommend using 2-5 drops of EO per every 100 drops carrier oil.

-The French emphasize taking essential oils internally, but in practice they utilize all four methods of administration, including using oils applied neat directly to the skin. All four ways are valid methods and each have advantages and disadvantages.

As you learn more about oils, it’s important to take into consideration that you will read contradictory statements regarding use and safety. This is due to the distinctions between the different schools of aromatherapy. For example, if you are reading from a book/source that is written by an author who follows the protocol of the British school, then you will read that it is NOT safe to take oils internally. However, if you are reading from a book/source that is written with the French school in mind, then you will find that it is both safe and effective to use oils internally.

Why are there such distinct differences in the different applications between the different schools?

In 1950 Madam Marguerite Maury came to Great Britain and along with her came Aromatherapy. She was a biochemist who had studied the oils in Paris. She focused on non-medical usages and established a model of diluting oils for massage and beauty applications. The British came to emphasize “aroma” more than “therapy” because of leading early advocate Madam Maury, who was neither a health professional nor a therapist. The British depend on scientific research on animals, often using oils that are perfume or food grade & usually only applying isolated compounds from essential oils rather than the whole oil. Thus, there is a host of invalid applications of scientific data to the human use of oils. There is a HUGE difference between pure, therapeutic grade essential oils & perfume/food grade oils. More on that later 🙂

Aromatherapy in France started in the 1920s and was developed by medical doctors. Unlike the British, the French depend on scientific research with people using whole oils of therapeutic grade quality. Jean Vanet was a French therapist and medical doctor who wrote the first modern book on the practice of aromatherapy as a healing art. These key differences in the rise of aromatherapy in different countries contribute to the vast difference between the uses of oils depending on what school of aromatherapy is being followed.

What method of use you choose to follow is ultimately up to you, and research is your friend! I encourage everyone to do their own research and form their own educated opinion on what method(s) of aromatherapy may fit your family’s needs best. If you are new to using oils, then prior to reading this you may not have known the differences between the different schools and seeing conflicting statements regarding safety may have confused you. If you use them topically, aromatically & internally then you are following the methods of the French school. I personally follow the methods of the French school 🙂

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