Essential Oils

Contraindications and Guidelines


Some of the most beneficial essential oils can be harmful under certain conditions. Essential oils are very strong and just because it is a natural product that doesn't mean that it's harmless. 


* Keep out of reach of children and pets
* Do not use on newborn babies
* Keep away from flame, heat and ignition sources -essential oils are flammable
* Do not apply undiluted (neat) essential oils directly onto skin. Dilute with a carrier oil first.
* Always conduct a patch test of diluted essential oil on the inner arm before using. Do not use if redness or irritation occurs
* Do not ingest(swallow) essential oils
* Keep essential oils out of eyes, ears, nose, mouth and any body opening.
* Never assume an essential oil possesses the same properties as its plant
* If you have sensitive skin, epilepsy, heart or kidney problems, or any serious medical condition, do not use essential oils unless advised by a physician or medical professional.


In Case of an Accident

*If essential oil gets into eyes: Immediately flush with cold milk or vegetable oil to dilute it. If stinging persists and seek medical attention.

*If essential oil gets on hands: Use milk or vegetable oil to dilute; wash with soap and warm water and repeat if necessary.

*If ingested (swallowed) call NZ National Poison Center on 0800 764 766

*If ingested by a pet contact a VET.


If you are pregnant avoid: Basil, Cedarwood, Clary, Coriander, Jasmine, Juniper,Marjoram. Oregano, Myrrh, Peppermint (which should also be avoided while nursing), Rosemary,Sage and Thyme. With all other essential oils check before using as some are best used after the first 4 months of pregnancy.

If you suffer from a seizure disorder, avoid Basil, Fennel, Rosemary and Sage.

If you have Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) avoid Geranium.

If you have High Blood Pressure avoid Pine, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.

Those with kidney problems should approach Juniper, Sandalwood and Coriander with caution.


The following oils can cause severe sun damage (photosensitivity) So best to avoid before sun exposure after using: Bergamot, Lime, Cumin, Mandarine, Lemon, Tangerine, Orange, Caraway, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle (absolute), and Patchouli. Consider any cold pressed citrus oil a potential photosensitizer. On the other hand, steam distilled citrus oils do not carry this same risk. 

Clary should not be used when consuming alcohol, because it can greatly increase its effects. Marjoram and Chamomile can cause drowsiness so also best to avoid.

Some common  essential Oils with a proven or suspected history of causing sensitization (allergies) are: Aniseed, Bay, Cardamon (suspect), Cinnamon Bark & Leaf, Citronella, Clary Sage (suspect), Fennel, Jasmine Abs. Juniper (suspect), Lemon (suspect), Orange (suspect), Pine (suspect) Rose Abs. (if used in high concentrations), Spearmint, and Ylangylang (in very high concentrations).


Tips for Massage Therapists:
Prolonged exposure to essential oils can cause headaches, nausea and a general feeling of uneasiness. Ensure adequate ventilation, drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks. 
Do not operate a motorized vehicle (or allow a client to do so) immediately following a relaxation treatment.  
If a given essential oil is used daily over two weeks, allow one week of rest before continuing use.
Vary oils to reduce the chance of acquiring a sensitivity reaction
Avoid sensitizing oils if hands become sore or cracked.