Join me at the IFPAroma conference in London this September!
I’m delighted to announce that I will be speaking about skin safety at this year’s one-day IFPA conference on September 2nd in Regent’s Park, London. I will also be presenting a one day post-conference seminar on September 3rd – see below for details.
Julia Graves, Angela Green and Anita James will also be sharing their wisdom at the event – I hope you can join us!
Saturday, 2nd September
Essential oil safety – avoiding adverse skin reactions
1 hour lecture
Phototoxicity, irritation and allergic reaction are the principal types of adverse skin reaction that can occur from the topical application of essential oils. We will explore what they look like, how to distinguish them, what actually takes place in the skin, how to avoid them, and what to do if an adverse reaction does occur, based on current evidence. Through understanding the management of risk, and maximum dilutions for specific oils, you will also know how to advise others on the safe use of essential oils.
Sunday, 3rd September
Essential oil chemistry and pharmacology – beyond functional groups
Full day seminar, 9am to 4pm
Functional Group Theory (FGT) is based on the idea that specific chemical families have specific effects – for example monoterpene alcohols are stimulants, ketones are neurotoxic. It was first proposed for essential oils in 1990. Many regard it as an established theory, and it is often used as a teaching tool in aromatherapy education. However, current evidence is not very supportive of FGT.
We will discuss why learning the effects of single constituents makes more sense than learning FGT – and subsequently unlearning much of it. And we will explore new research, which offers some fascinating insights. These often support known effects for essential oils, but intriguingly some of them suggest new, clinically untested effects. One relatively new research area involves cellular receptor sites.
Constituents do often interact with receptor sites, and of particular interest are transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. These used to be considered simply as detectors of temperature or irritation, but we now know that they are also therapeutically functional. For example, the “cold” effects of menthol are due to activation of TRPM8, which not only impacts menthol’s analgesic action and risk to infants, but also suggests therapeutic effects in prostate disease.
We will explore how to meaningfully apply the knowledge of single constituent action to the safe and effective use of whole essential oils, especially in regard to TRP channels. Understanding the real power of constituent action allows us to make optimal use of essential oils as therapeutic tools.
- Understand the basic principles of functional group theory and why the evidence does not support the theory.
- Appropriately apply knowledge of single constituent action to whole essential oils.
- Retain a basic understanding of transient receptor potential channels, their functions, and their relevance to essential oil therapy.
- Apply knowledge of single constituents and their TRP effects to the safe and effective use of essential oils.