Have you wanted to use essential oils but you are overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to use them effectively and safely? Do you have specific health concerns and you would like to explore aromatherapy as an option for support? In this post, we will explore the profession of aromatherapy, and how seeing a clinical aromatherapist can be beneficial for your overall health and well-being.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative health care practice based in both art and science. It refers to the therapeutic application and skillful use of high quality essential oils, aromatic substances, and other plant based products by qualified aromatherapy practitioners. Essential oils (and other plant materials) are used to harmonize and unify the mind, body, and spirit, as well as support the body’s natural healing process.
It is a multifaceted field with a broad spectrum of practice that includes many roles. For instance, an aromatherapist could be formulating natural care products, working in a hospital, educating, or providing consulting.
What Aromatherapy is Not
It is NOT the use of synthetic perfumes/soaps, scented candles or plug in products, or potpourri. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution to all of your problems. Aromatherapy is not intended to replace standard medical care.
However, aromatherapy IS a valuable addition to your health care modalities, and seeking a consultation from a clinical aromatherapist ensures that you are getting the best care within this modality.
What is a Clinical Aromatherapist?
Clinical aromatherapists are considered holistic practitioners who have completed a specific level of professional and formal education. As part of our education, we study subjects such as botany, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, blending techniques, safety, ethics, as well as a holistic framework.
Clinial aromatherapists also maintain active status and participate in ongoing professional development. One example would be maintaining membership with a professional organization such as the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) or the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA). Another example would be continuing ongoing education, professional training, and attending conferences with various experts in the field.
We are professionals who have a career in the field of Aromatherapy. We also may have additional education and licensure in other areas of health care such as nursing, clinical social work, or acupuncture.
What Clinical Aromatherapists are Not
We are not medical doctors diagnosing, treating, or prescribing prescriptions for diseases. We are not sales representatives for an essential oil company, and we are not “after your money”.
Why Would I See a Clinical Aromatherapist?
There are many reasons that people seek out professional aromatherapy services. Harris (2003) reports that the top health related problems people seek an aromatherapist are for: stress/anxiety, headaches, insomnia, musculoskeletal, hormonal, respiratory, pain, chronic fatigue, skin, and sinus problems. Aromatherapists have education and training to be able to provide guidance in exploring the use of essential oils as a complementary therapy to traditional Western medicine.
We can also provide education regarding professional education/schooling options, safety and appropriate use, and recipe design. The world of essential oils and aromatherapy is vast and wide, so consulting with a professional may provide assurance that you’re on the right track.
What Can I Expect From a Holistic Aromatherapy Consultation?
A consultation begins with a brief introduction and a review basic guidelines, rights, and responsibilities. The aromatherapist will complete a biopsychosocial assessment and review your health history with you from the forms that you have completed prior to the consultation. This would include things like allergies, acute and chronic health conditions, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Overall health goals and concerns will be discussed to create an overall health and wellness plan.
The aromatherapist will help you to explore your essential oil and aroma preferences. They will also provide education regarding the safe and effective use of essential oils for your particular needs. Your qualified practitioner can answer questions you may have in regards to purity, application methods, dosage, contraindications, and any possible interactions between the essential oils and any medications you’re taking. If the aromatherapist has additional licensure or training, they may also include this during the consultation time (i.e. healing touch, mental health, clinical social work, massage, or nursing).
After your consultation, the aromatherapist will create a custom product for you to be picked up at a later time. The aromatherapist will educate you on safe and appropriate use, and also provide a short follow up which usually takes place over the telephone or email.
Are Aromatherapy Services Long Term?
Some issues are acute and may only require 1-2 visits. Other issues that are chronic may require several visits or ongoing support.
What Else Should I Know?
It is important that you inform your entire health care team that you are utilizing essential oils and aromatherapy services. If you have any adverse reactions to the use of aromatherapy products, stop use immediately and consult with your aromatherapist and health care providers.
How Can I Schedule a Consultation?
You can schedule your Holistic Aromatherapy Consultation online or call NECA at 612-399-6322.
Harris, R. (2003). Anglo-Saxon Aromatherapy: Its Evolution and Current Situation.
International Journal of Aromatherapy, 13(1), 9-17.
Jen Shepherd, MSW, LICSW, CCA