What is an Aromatherapist…

and why does it matter?

Aromatherapist, Certified Aromatherapist, Clinically Certified Aromatherapist or Aromatherapy Practitioner. The amount of titles available regarding training is almost as high as the number of essential oils you can purchase. In the United States, the use of essential oils is a loosely regulated industry. Mainly focusing on the use of essential oils as a fragrance generally in cosmetics.

An aromatherapist is a person that has invested in an extensive course of study. Generally, 200 or more hours is required before receiving a certificate of completion. These courses require detailed study covering topics such as chemistry, anatomy and safety. As well as the emotional and energetic properties of the plant material. Generally, they will also cover the FDA regulations and provide information about the limitations.

According to Learn.org “Aromatherapists are alternative healers who use essential oils to promote healing and wellness. They meet with patients to discuss their symptoms and health goals, and they develop treatment plans based on their needs.” An important note regarding this definition, unless the person also has medical training they will not view you as a patient. Many aromatherapists study essential oils and other holistic healing modalities due to challenges they experienced from the traditional “allopathic” medical field. Many times, aromatherapy will be an added modality to a practice such as massage therapy, cosmetology, or even nursing.

Although unregulated, a license is not required in the US, both the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists (NAHA) and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) have worked to establish some educational guidelines. These ensure people operate with safety and ethics in mind. So, if you are interested in exploring the incredibly diverse nature of essential oils do some research into who can guide you safely. AromaWeb has a great guide of questions to ask anyone suggesting you use essential oils.

 

Aromatherapy – My definition

Combining materials
Combining materials

Over the last several decades we have seen the emergence of marketers utilizing fragrance to sell products. Also, the emergence of several large multi-level marketing companies selling essential oils. This growth has made aromatherapy a recognizable term. The down side is most don’t know what it truly means.

The term aromatherapy came about in 1937 when Rene-Maurice Gattefosse used it in his book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy“. At that time, the term was used to describe the use of essential oils for their therapeutic actions. An essential oil is the aromatic essence of the plant that is generally extracted through steam distillation. They are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way.  A true essential oil will offer valuable psychological and physical benefits. To learn more visit AromaWeb.

“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same” Helen Keller

Throughout my study of aromatherapy for both people and animals my definition has expanded to include the use of fragrant plant materials in many forms. When using essential oils topically we are always combining them into a plant based carrier, such as coconut oil. Hydrosols or hydrolats have taken up much of my aroma tool kit due to their gentle nature. I am also constantly turning to herbal preparations and flower essences to help my clients.

As more practitioners are studying the safe and effective uses for essential oils we are learning that there are other options. Beyond the essential oils we also have absolutes, CO2s and hydrosols. The carriers that are used to dilute essential oils also carry therapeutic properties and many have a wonderful fragrance on their own. So for me aromatherapy is no longer just about essential oils, but about combining many aromatic plant materials.

 

Exciting New Chapter

Anna Pageau Certified Aromatherapist
Anna Pageau Certified Aromatherapist

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”

Albert Einstein

I have taken a lot of time off from my blog. I dedicating 2015 to receiving certification training in aromatherapy. In December 2015 I became a Certified Aromatherapist. This journey also had me studying herbs and a variety of natural healing methods. We are blessed to live in a time when some many options are available. I plan to share the benefits of practices like yoga and meditation which have become daily rituals. I have been learning about the importance of balancing everything around us. This helps to ensure that we balance what is in us.

 

The first 6 months of 2016 has been dedicated to starting my aromatherapy practice. Finding a structure that fits within my family life while being an entrepreneur. I enjoy teaching workshops focused on the wide array of uses for essential oils. My teachings also contain information about the safety considerations and the environmental impact of harvesting plants for essential oils.

 

For the remainder of 2016 I plan to continue growing my workshop offerings, and working with people one on one. I enjoy helping people explore essential oils without having to invest large amounts of money in oils they may not love. If you are considering booking a workshop feel free to contact me or fill out this form. I am looking forward to continuing my education and research and sharing much of that knowledge on my blog.

 

Natural Health, Holistic Health Definitions

Sage
Sage

As more and more reports come out about the state of our health and the safety of our health care system people are looking for different options on how to stay or get healthy. This has led to a booming “natural health” industry. What are all these terms though, naturopath, homeopathic, allopathy, herblist, aromatheraphy and holistic. These are all words that you will see if you start looking into natural health, but the amount of information available can be overwhelming.

So let’s break down all these terms to help you determine which may be the best for you. We will start with a naturopath. This is someone that has adopted a philosophy that encompasses the whole life. A naturopath will encourage a health care approach that takes all aspects of life into consideration health, spiritual, mental and so on.

Homeopathic or homeopathy is a school of healing that uses very dilute natural “medicines” of a disease that will help cure that same disease. An example of a homeopathic medicine would be belladonna, this is a perennial shrub that has toxic properties, but in the right preparation can have healing properties. The concept is loosely based on the theory that “like cures like”. This concept is similar to a flu shot where we are introducing the flu to our system so that our immune system knows how to fight the disease.

Allopathic is a term that until I researched this article even I was using incorrectly. Many people have used this term to distinguish regular medical practice from homeopathic concepts. It is actual a system of treating disease by inducing a pathological reaction that is antagonistic to the disease being treated. The above example of a flu shot would be a true example of allopathic medicine.

An herbalist or herbology is the concept of using herbs to promote healing. Drinking teas that are made from a specific herb or flower can help to improve a particular health concern. Also, utilizing specific herbs such as garlic and onions during cold season is also a form of herbology.

Aromatherapy is a concept that is definitely heating up in the market. There are several multi-level marketing companies that have become popular selling essential oils. Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant oils in baths, as inhalants, or during massage to relieve stress and treat skin conditions. Essential oils are a highly concentrated portion of plants and should be used with caution because they can be harmful if used improperly and should never be used internally unless working with a trained aromatherapist or medical professional.

Holistic is the last term I will define. Holistic health is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account the mental and social factors not just the physical symptoms of a disease. When you take the time to look into these different modalities of health you will discover that they are all a part of holistic health.

I am grateful that I live in a country with good health care, including all the immunizations that we are offered. I also think that it is important that we take responsibility for the quality of our life. I have chosen to use many of these concepts including herbology and aromatherapy to help maintain the health of my family. Eating a diet of natural foods (not processed) is always the best way to improve your health, but these are great ways to enhance your life as well. Take a moment to look into them and discover what is right for you.

Marijuana – Yes or No

Today I am writing about marijuana and the ongoing debate in our country about its use for medical purposes or personal enjoyment. I would imagine that some of my readers would assume that because I study natural medicine and use many herbs and aromatherapy to keep myself and family healthy that I would be a supporter of legalizing marijuana. This question is one that plagues me on a daily basis though. I am definitely in support of using a plant for the positive medicinal qualities that it may have, but when it comes to using it for recreation I do not see the need, but how do you separate the two.

Over the last several years there have been many reports about marijuana being addictive or a gateway drug. Having never tried marijuana or tobacco for that matter I can’t speak to the addictiveness of either of these substances. I recently read that marijuana use leads to dependence about 9-10% of the time, while tobacco is the highest at 30%. The child of two lifelong tobacco smokers I have witnessed firsthand the challenge of trying to stop and unfortunately neither of my parents have succeeded yet. When it comes to marijuana use I become very confused about the true affects it has on the body and why with all the legal ramifications would someone continue to use it if they aren’t addicted. Unfortunately I have seen people that continue to get arrested for possession of marijuana or paraphernalia and face fines yet they still use. If this drug is not addictive then what affect does it have that becomes more appealing then freedom? Why do people risk both personal and financial freedom to keep using marijuana?

I have tended to stay on the right side of the law in the choices I make. I will admit that I drank while underage once and the experience was so unpleasant that I didn’t drink again until I was 25. Now I drink the occasional beer or glass of wine, but I did experience a short period in my life where I started to binge drink to avoid things that were upsetting me. For me this became a turning point, I could either keep drinking and getting hangovers and generally feeling like crap or I could face what was going on in my life and make changes. This is how I feel about recreational marijuana use. If we legalize it are we giving people another substance to use to hide from problems?

In our current society we have so many prescription drugs that are being used to treat countless numbers of physical and psychological problems do we really need one more or maybe marijuana would help us to get rid of some of the synthetic drugs. In conclusion I will say that for medicinal purposes I would support the use of marijuana, but for states like Colorado and Washington that are allowing it for recreational use I am scared. I think that people really need to just slow down, enjoy nature and each other and they may find that they don’t need drugs, alcohol or nicotine to enjoy themselves. The debate is definitely complex and one that I believe will continue on for years. What are your thoughts?