What Does a Professional Aromatherapist Do?

Jan 21, 09:10 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

This might seem like a ridiculous question on an aromatherapy site, but few people actually understand what a professional aromatherapist can help them achieve in terms of body/mind/spirit health. Most assume that aromatherapy is a feel-good, stress relief, and possibly airy-fairy sort of thing. Essential oils can and do provide a natural and cost-effective method of health maintenance.

Generally, a practitioner will work with their clients on a holistic basis, addressing both physical symptoms and their root cause. After a thorough health history and intake interview, a client usually receives some type of bodywork, and in the case of many European-trained practitioners (such as myself), this often involves a reflexology session using essential oils. Based on the interview and results of the session, the aromatherapist chooses appropriate esssential oils and creates one or more aromatherapy blends for the client to use at home. Results are generally seen after one to three weeks of regular essential oil use, and a client may be seen for several follow-up sessions if necessary.

The best way to explain what I do may be to offer some examples of recent and typical clients:

- I am currently working with two stage 4 cancer clients on quality of life issues. This involves the use of essential oils to manage the side effects of cancer treatment, such as chemo nausea, "chemo brain", maintaining skin integrity during radiation treatments, or combating depression and fatigue.

- One client had a mysterious appearance of chronic eczema and chose not to use her prescribed steroid medications. I developed a blend to successfully control the eczema, which was apparently hormonal in nature, and also created an aromatic skincare regimen to help manage her dry and newly menopausal skin.

- A regular client comes in for an emotional "tune-up" every 5 months. She originally sought my help for depression, which was due to her inability to cope with an unhealthy marriage. I worked with her on a psycho-spiritual basis to determine her most appropriate path of action toward wholeness, and developed several blends intended for long-term use. These dealt with repressed anger, co-dependent tendencies, mental confusion and chronic insomnia. Now divorced, she is using aromatherapy to manage the emotional highs and lows of this major life change, and to let go of her expectations in a new relationship.

- My most unusual client last month was a 130 pound german sheperd. She had been suffering for several years from an antibiotic-resistant ear infection that was crippling her immune system. Many veterinary treatments had been undertaken to minimal success. After a two week course of essential oils, she is finally rid of her infection and once again playing energetically with her owner.

- Another client, who is a deeply religious woman, was experiencing a spiritual crisis, and used essential oils during meditation for groundedness and clarity on her life path. With a new and clear direction, she is now in the process of founding a lay ministry for her church.

As you can see, aromatherapy has a potentially broad range of applications. It may be used by itself or as an adjunct to various therapies or treatments.

If you are interested in experiencing what aromatherapy can do for you, I have a private practice in the Dallas area and regularly see clients for consultations. If you are located in another area of the country, you may contact the Aromatherapy Registration Council. They maintain a searchable database of registered aromatherapists who have demonstrated a high level of expertise through professional education and successful passage of a board exam.

I hope this post has helped clarify any confusion you might have on the services that can be offered by a professional aromatherapist. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

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