Aromatherapy, in tandem with massage, aesthetics, and spa treatments, is taught by many technical colleges and private colleges as part of their curriculum. Some provide aromatherapy as continuing education units. Despite all the research and findings that point to the wide effects of aromatherapy, there are no licensing laws in any state to control its use. There is also no legal definition of the term ‘aromatherapy.’

Since there are no definitive rules or laws controlling aromatherapy, anyone can use essential oils in any way they choose. However most people appreciate some guidelines on how to practice safely and there are many books to help with this. (See book list)

If you are just beginning on the aromatic road, here are a few pointers to help you.

Find a reliable source of pure essential oils at a reasonable price.

If a company is selling under a multi level marketing banner then you can expect to pay a lot more for the products.

If the company is reliable, it will be able to tell you the source of its products. It will provide evidence that the raw plant materials are grown in organic or pesticide free conditions The company may have a certificate from a ‘soil association’ which will verify this. You can ask for details of harvesting and production of the products. The best essential oils are produced quickly after harvesting. Some companies keep the dried herbs or flowers in warehouses for years before the distillation process takes place.

Having found a supplier with integrity you will then need to stock the following:

• A selection of pure essential oils
• A selection of pure essential oil blends
• Pre-blended essential oils in a carrier (an un-perfumed oil or cream)

Some companies sell a pre-blended lotion but once on the skin the water content evaporates quickly and causes the skin to cool.

If you wish to make your own aromatic massage oil then a 1 to 2% blend is safe and effective. You can do this by adding 25 to 50 drops of your chosen essential oil or mixture of oils to 1oz of carrier oil or cream base.

For example if you wanted a very soothing, cooling massage oil you could add 25 drops of lavender to 1oz of grapeseed oil, which would give you a 1% blend. Or you could mix lavender and chamomile in equal proportions of 15 drops (making 30 in all) and add this to the carrier to make a blend slightly higher than 1%

As you learn more about oils, you can have fun mixing them. There are many books which give tried and tested recipes that are safe to use and a good way to learn.

Always remember to check with your client that they like the aromas you have chosen. If they do not, they will not enjoy the treatment and its therapeutic value will be lessened.

It is advisable not to diffuse or burn essential oils in your treatment room, as preference for smells is very individual. It is almost impossible to clear the air between each client.

If you are interested in customizing your aromatherapy massage for your clients here are a few suggestions:
Speeding the flow of lymph: Juniper, Lemon, Geranium
For aches, pains, and mobility: Basil, Pine, Eucalyptus citriodora
Improving poor circulation: Clove, Marjoram, sweet thyme
Clearing nasal and chest congestion: Eucalyptus Radiata, Rosemary, Cajeput

Essential oils for skin care (can be added to lotion, cream, or oil)

Lavender for cooling and calming
Chamomile for soothing and tension
Rose for dryness
Rosemary for oiliness
Frankincense for aging skin

Hand and foot care
Peppermint for improved circulation
Tea Tree to alleviate nail fungus
Lavender for hot, sore conditions

To create an aromatic ambience at your front desk or check in area, diffuse your favorite blend of essential oils. Keep the same aroma for your marketing materials and you will have added another dimension to your aromatic brand image.

In his book ‘Whiff,’ C Russell Blumfield states, “Nearly every industry can benefit from the strategic use of fragrances in the presentation of its products and services.”

In aromatherapy, we are already one step ahead. We have the aromas to help make a difference in our clients’ lives. Now we can use them to make a difference to our business as well.

Recommended Book list:
A to Z of Aromatherapy by Patricia Davis
The fragrant mind by Valerie Ann Worwood
Aromatherapy 101 by Karen Downes
Aromatherapy A to Z by Connie and Alan Higley and Pat Leatham

Elizabeth McGinnes has been involved in Aromatherapy for more than 25 years and has a postgraduate qualification in clinical aromatherapy.

She holds a postgraduate certificate in education and is qualified in Spa and Salon Management, Counseling, Psychotherapy, Reflexology, Hypnotherapy, Trichology, Electrolysis and Laser hair and skin treatments. She is also certified as a cosmetologist, Massage therapist, and esthetician. She incorporates aromatherapy into all her practices.

She is the Principal of the European Institute of Complementary Therapies, the President of the European Spa and a pure aromatherapy products distribution company named Absolute Essentials.