Aromatherapy is the art and science of using oils extracted from aromatic
plants to enhance health and beauty. Besides the physical benefits, essential
oils can have subtle effects on the mind and emotions.
"Aromatherapy is a nurturing experience," says aromatherapist Patricia
Hall. "Plants and their oils have been used to heal and beautify the body
since the dawn of creation. Whether the oils are absorbed into the body through
the skin or via inhalation, true plant aromas have a powerful effect on the
mind, body and emotions."
Aromatherapists use essential oils in their work, usually in the form of
a massage. Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile substances distilled
from aromatic herbs, flowers and trees. They are usually quite fragrant and
each scent triggers a different emotion.
Aromatherapists don't use medicines to treat illnesses. Instead, they believe
that essential oils, coupled with an aromatherapy massage, can relieve headaches
and muscular tension, help to alleviate depression and stress, stimulate the
immune system to fight off illness, soften dry skin, enhance relaxation and
Aromatherapists talk to their clients to diagnose problems, then choose
the right treatment to help them. They believe that massage helps the person
to relax and encourages the body to heal itself.
For every stage and type of disease, there is a corresponding combination
of plant oils to correct and balance that disease. The goal of the aromatherapist
is to create this balanced remedy for each client.
"Each essential oil has its own set of attributes and personality," says
Hall. "Aromatherapy incorporates the use of these oils to deal with the mind
and emotions, as well as afflictions affecting the skin and body. It will
nourish the body, mind and spirit in a vital and restorative way."
The oils may be used in baths, since water itself has a therapeutic value
that enhances the power of the oils. Or they can be used in a compress, inhaled
or used in a vaporizer. Natural perfume can be made by blending different
To work as an aromatherapist, you must:
- Care for people and want to help them
- Have strong hands
- Have patience
- Be fit and active with a lot of energy
- Be interested in plants and science
- Be able to find the cause of problems
An aromatherapist may work as a massage therapist, a reflexologist, a holistic
health practitioner, an esthetician, a salesperson, an educator, a health
care practitioner or in a spa.
Many work in the treatment rooms of health centers or spas. Most work 9-to-5
hours, but some have to work at night or on the weekends to accommodate clients.