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Warning given over children using complementary therapies


I heard this news item on the Today Programme on BBC Radio4 this morning and based on the facts as presented, the practitioner was clearly acting outside of their sphere of competence. In particular, the giving of high level Vitamin D supplements which according to some reports were above the maximum recommended adult dose. (The actual dose isn’t mentioned in the BBC report.)    For my own practice I am reminded of the importance of asking about not just conventional medical treatment but also any complementary/alternative therapies my clients might be taking.

Why is this important for aromatherapy? Well, partly because in an holistic practice I need to make sure I am not working against another therapist with my approach but also because just as some conventional medical treatments can cause side effects that can be exacerbated by some essential oils, the same is true of some complementary therapies as well. An example of this is skin photo-sensitivity. When using the oils that can cause it I always caution about not using sun-beds for twelve hours afterwards or going out in strong sunlight for the same length of time. (In practise none of my clients has yet admitted to using sun beds and at this time of year, in UK sunlight is unlikely to cause a problem unless the client has a particular sensitivity to start with.)

I also ask clients to tell other practitioners whether conventional or complementary/alternative about my work with them. Openness is I strongly believe the best way to avoid problems and to discover them. While if used according to professional association guidelines, essential oils are low risk, there is always the possibility of there being an interaction with a drug that has not been noted before.

As a practitioner of a therapy whose advocates have been less than diligent in scientifically researching all the claims made for it, perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this but while a search for,”camel milk” + “Autism” produced hundreds of results, I did not find any that provided what I would allow as evidence of its efficacy in treating the condition. Similarly, while I have no doubt that essential oils can have a psychological effect and that this may be helpful with some specific problems with some with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, I would never claim that Aromatherapy was a cure ofr Autism or anything else!

So if you are looking for cures, don’t phone 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com

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