what is clinical aromatherapy

When You Think of Aromatherapy, What Comes to Mind?

For most, this would be something along the lines of a nice massage using essential oils. And this would be correct.

Aromatherapy massages are common treatments in most spas and massage therapists’ offerings. Quite simply they are a massage using a blend of essential oils. The choice of blends varies based on desire – relaxing / de-stress, energising, muscle aches etc and provide the client with an opportunity to spend some ‘you time’ in peace and quiet whilst receiving a bit of pampering – in other words, some well-deserved self-care.

So Why is Clinical Aromatherapy Different?

Clinical Aromatherapy is a much deeper understanding of essential oils, their safe use, the human body and how the human body and essential oils interact. It is the highest level of training around Aromatherapy that you can do.

Essential oils are powerful on their own, but when blended together that power can intensify. They have the opportunity to maximise their benefits and effects and work in synergy together, but there is also a risk they can become dangerous. For example – if a blend has too much of a chemical property, this can be overpowering and detrimental to the client.

Clinical Aromatherapy training is longer and more substantial than Aromatherapy due to the intensive depth of chemistry that is included. The studies look into the chemical make-up (elements, properties and constituents) of essential oils and how they interact together and with the body when blended to ensure maximum safety and effect.

Alongside this, there is a substantial period of study into a variety of ailments and conditions and using essential oils with them.

So What Does ‘Clinical’ Mean?

When qualified as a Clinical Aromatherapist, you are trained and (possibly more importantly) insured to use essential oils in a clinical manner. Supporting clients with conditions such as fatigue, headaches and sleep issues, emotional needs such as low mood, depression and grief and even in a supportive role for Cancer, Diabetes and Arthritis.

Essential oils are in no way a replacement for many medical interventions, but a Clinical Aromatherapist can work alongside Clinicians, GP and Specialists and use essential oils as a supplementary treatment alongside modern medicine.

Essential oils will never replace the power and need for Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy for a cancer patient, however, these treatments can result in many side effects that can be supported using essential oils. For example, nausea and sickness or fatigue and low energy.

What Else Can a Clinical Aromatherapist Do That an Aromatherapist Can’t?

This will depend on what level of qualification an Aromatherapist has, but sadly many Aromatherapists step outside of the remit of their training. Very often this is actually a lack of awareness from themselves as it is never fully explained to them what they can and can’t do.

Clinical Aromatherapy provides the knowledge, skills and confidence to create unique blends, skincare products and natural remedies for clients. There are certain organisations that will only certify you if you are a Clinical Aromatherapist as this is all they recognise.

In addition, there are so many books, online resources and companies that now promote essential oil knowledge without ANY formal and recognised training or qualifications whatsoever, but yet whom I frequently hear people impart ‘wisdom and knowledge’ from.

Aromatherapy is becoming (far too slowly in my opinion) more recognised in many areas of modern medicine and is known to be used for social prescribing in some areas as a first point of treatment. But this has to be with Clinical Aromatherapy training.

The Royal Marsden Hospital have a whole team of nurses who are all fully trained as Clinical Aromatherapists and who use essential oils with patients if they want to employ natural treatments alongside other treatments.

As an Aromatherapist, you are not qualified nor insured to work at a clinical level. In other words, you cannot support clients with any clinical condition or ailment – not even headaches!

So How Do I Know?

Simple – ask if they are clinically trained. If they do not understand the question or say no, then they aren’t and caution should be taken working with them depending on what support it is you are looking for.

Unfortunately, it is not a heavily regulated industry and as a result, there are many low-level Aromatherapist qualifications available. I have heard of people ‘qualifying’ in 8 hours online over a weekend for £25!

No case studies, no chemistry, no anatomy, physiology or pathology, and no hands-on blending training. And yet they get a certificate that says they are qualified.

Now that REALLY scares me!

When choosing to use essential oils, whoever you choose to work with is only for you to decide. All I ask is that you are aware of their level of training and therefore their remit of knowledge and ability.

You are truly a unique and special human put on this earth for a valuable purpose, and my hope and desire for you is that you honour this to the max and provide yourself with the highest quality and highest service you truly deserve.