What is an Aromatherapist?

Do you believe in alternative medicines? Can the oils of a plant really help to relax, rejuvenate, and revitalize your physical and mental aura? If you’re sick or feeling down would you ever grab lemon oil, thyme, tea tree, bergamot, anise, cinnamon, clove, henna, juniper, oregano, sassafras, or sage? An aromatherapist would.

Aromatherapy is a holistic part of the health care industry that uses the essential oils of plants to promote health and healing. It can potentially help reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve well being, prevent disease, control pain, enhance energy, improve memory, decrease hair loss, and help with skin care.

While many of aromatherapy’s benefits are unproven, many people do believe in the physical and mental benefits of aromatherapy. It has been around for 1000s of years.

Aromatherapy has three main applications – cosmetic products, massage, and olfactory. All three types utilize the essential oils of a plant to trigger the amygdala or hippocampus areas of the brain. When these areas are affected it can positively change the way the body functions.

Can you name an essential oil and what health benefit it holds? Peppermint is used for headaches, muscle aches, and indigestion. Eucalyptus helps respiratory issues, coughs, colds, and asthma. Clary sage is used as a painkiller. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties. Lavender heals wounds and promotes skin care. Lemon is uplifting. Geranium balances hormones. Roman chamomile eases sleeplessness and anxiety. These are all natural cures to balance and promote health.

An aromatherapist must be an expert at the different essential oils and how they are applied to help body, mind, and spirit. About 700 plants contain these essential oils. The oil is extracted from the roots, fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds, resin, bark, and wood. It can take about 100 pounds of plant to produce a single pound of oil. The quality of oil in a plant varies based on where and how a plant is grown. The purer the oil; the higher the quality. Aromatherapists steer towards oils that are therapeutic grade or marked FCC, food chemical codex. The grade verifies the percentage of pure oil and guarantees that carrier oils do not water down the product.

If aromatherapy sounds like an interesting approach to a healthy lifestyle, it’s time you learn more about its potential. Visit health food stores, talk with aromatherapists, contact aromatherapy organizations, or find an aromatherapist that will take you under her wing and show you the ropes. Learn what each oil does and how it can potentially heal.

Attending training courses at a National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy approved school is a good idea. Courses last 30 to 200 hours and usually cover history, physiology, essential oils, botany, chemistry, safety, and application. Look for an apprenticeship with a practicing aromatherapist. Eventually, plan on taking the national aromatherapy exam offered by the Aromatherapy Registration Council.

Currently there is no state licensure, but this may soon change as aromatherapy continues to gain popularity. Most practicing aromatherapists are employed at spas, salons, health care groups, or as consultants. Many combine aromatherapy with another profession such as nursing, massage therapy, or cosmetology. Depending on clientele, location, expertise, and reputation, an aromatherapist can make $25 to $65 per hour. Some clear over $100 per hour. In a typical year, an aromatherapist will make $25,000 to $45,000 per year.

Natural healing is a niche market that is constantly growing. There is amazing potential in the essential oils of plants that an aromatherapist can use to help people experience the healing power of nature. Is this the profession for you?

Quick Facts About Careers in Aromatherapy

Job Title: Aromatherapist
Office: Health and beauty spas
Description: Uses essential oils to promote health and healing
Certifications/Education: Attend an NAHA approved school
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of essential oils and applications
Potential Employers: Self-employed, Spas, Health food stores, Health care clinics
Pay: $25 to $65 per hour or $25,000 to $45,000 per year, $30,000 per year is average

Helpful Links:
Aromatherapy Registration Council
Alliance of International Aromatherapists
Aromatherapy Global Online Research Archives
National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy
International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy
Aromatic Plant Project
International Federation of Aromatherapists


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