Do you love animals?
Is aromatherapy included in your massage sessions?
Are you looking for creative ways to expand your clientele and grow your massage business? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then learning about the safe use of essential oils for our animal friends may be an avenue you’d like to explore. (Learn more about animal aromatherapy by reading the related feature article, “Aromatherapy for Animals: Essential Oils’ Benefits & Contraindications,” by Kelly Holland Azzaro, R.A., C.C.A.P., C.B.F.P., L.M.T., in the November print issue of MASSAGE Magazine.)
The majority of people have one or more pets as part of their family, and as a loved family member, they often will put their animal’s well-being as a priority over their own.
You may have experienced a client who breaks down in tears during a massage therapy session because her beloved dog recently passed away, or the client who is stressed because his dog has arthritis and is stiff upon getting up or when walking.
Another client has a horse and comes to you to keep her back muscles relaxed while horseback riding. She asks during one of her sessions if you offer any options to help her horse’s back—which is also sore from overexertion during a recent trail ride.
A Specialty of Its Own
Whether you already use essential oils as part of your massage practice sessions or not, animal aromatherapy is a specialty of its own and requires additional educational training specific to use with animals.
Since not all animals are candidates for aromatherapy applications, and not all essential oils that are used with human aromatherapy are automatically safe for use with our animal friends, it is important and well worth the time to invest in additional education to expand your aromatherapy tool box.
Over time, you will be able to assist your clients with aromatherapy for issues such as decreasing pain and stress, increasing energy levels, as well as supporting emotional balance and an overall sense of well-being.
This new educational tool will also expand ways for you to promote your animal aromatherapy services to people who perhaps you may have not thought to market to in the past.
The opportunity to help both your clients and their animal friends with the use of aromatherapy and flower essences for overall well-being is both fulfilling and rewarding.
A whole new career path may evolve for you that you never thought you would find yourself on—and who knows, perhaps you will also help some animals to find forever homes with the assistance of aromatherapy.
Market Animal Aromatherapy
Create a networking referral with veterinarian clinics, animal rescue/adoption centers, groomers and pet shops in your area. Bring business cards, brochures and marketing materials and ask permission to display.
Your clients and their veterinarians will want to know that you have the animal’s well-being as top priority and that you are qualified to use essential oils properly with animals—so be prepared to answer questions and provide educational literature if applicable.
Stop by your local veterinary clinics and introduce yourself, offer to give a brief talk at an animal rescue/adoption center, or donate your time/services to animals in need at a local animal control where those that may seem at the time to be unadoptable, could be just fearful; perhaps giving them an aromatherapy massage or even giving the dog a drop of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil on a tissue to inhale can promote a more relaxed and less anxious state of mind, thus showing the staff that this dog has the ability to become calm and therefore can be adopted.
Send new adopters home with aromatherapy tools to aid in the transition from a shelter to a forever home. Offer an aromatherapy outcall service for animals; options can include calls to vet offices, doggy day care, animal adoption centers, pet groomers and even working farms and horse stables—and, of course, directly to your clients’ homes.
Talk to others:
Offer to give a talk about the benefits of animal aromatherapy at civic groups and at your local connections, listed above.
Donate your time and services at a local animal rescue/shelter by offering to work with the animals that may have difficulty getting adopted due to behavior issues. Educate the staff on the benefits of aromatherapy to help soothe and calm animals that are afraid or stressed.
Set up a business fan page to let clients know about your new services/special offers and include a tip about aromatherapy with each new post.
Take some photos to share of your animal clients taking a whiff of an essential oil scent. (Be sure to ask your human clients for permission to post pictures of their pets).
Use a blog format to write about your newfound passion in helping animals with the use of aromatics. A blog is a similar to a diary, and there are free and user-friendly blog options such as Blogger.com to get you started.
Use Twitter to send a shout-out about services and special offers.
Clients for Life
Make your human clients happy by helping their animal friends and you will have clients for life—and before you know it, they will refer their family, friends and co-workers to you along with their animal friends, and so on. You will have developed a whole new niche within your massage therapy practice.
Kelly Holland Azzaro, R.A., C.C.A.P., C.B.F.P., L.M.T., is a registered aromatherapist, certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner and licensed massage therapist. She is a former president and current public relations manager for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved education provider. She and her husband, Marco, an acupuncturist, own Ashi Therapy, a holistic healing center.