An educated look at all things aromatherapy.
When I first encountered essential oils a few decades ago, I would smell the little bottles in the health food store and be disappointed that they smelled nothing like the artificial fragrances I was used to. I had no idea that essential oils had therapeutic properties, or that they were not used for fragrance alone.
Fast forward through the period when I became very scent-sensitive and could hardly stand any scents (including my beloved perfumes) to when I thought I would give essential oils another whiff. Fortunately, I found I could tolerate the smell of most essential oils! I learned that they were used for therapeutic purposes and, wanting to rid my life of toxins to improve my health, I started to use essential oils. I loved the potential they held and decided to become a certified aromatherapist so that I could work with essential oils clinically and help others in a safe and educated way.
My education as a clinical aromatherapist includes the history of aromatherapy and how aromatic matter has been used throughout time, human anatomy and physiology, essential oil chemistry, therapeutic properties of essential and carrier oils, methods of application, responsible use of essential oils, safe use at various ages and stages of life, medical contraindications, and knowing when a situation is beyond the purview of aromatherapy. I am required to carry liability insurance, and be a member in good standing and abide by the code of ethics of my professional organization to practise as a Certified Aromatherapy Health ProfessionalTM. I am always learning and fulfil my required continuing education hours.
Before your first appointment with me, you are required to complete your full medical history so that I will have the time to thoroughly research potential contraindications. This is important as some essential oils can adversely affect how medications work, or exacerbate certain health conditions. I am here to help you, not harm you! As this can take some time, it is best that I work on your information before your appointment. When you arrive, I will go over your intake form with you and determine which oils will be best for your session. I will discuss the blend with you and allow you to smell the individual oils before blending them into the massage oil. I will not use blends sold by other companies as I will have no idea of the amounts of the individual oils used, nor will I use a blend created for another client. I will reassess your situation at subsequent visits, and update or change your blend as needed.
I won’t leave you hanging at the end of your appointment! Depending on the type of appointment you had, I may send you off with a personal inhaler, roller bottle or massage oil with the blend we created that day. I will also make recommendations on how to maintain the benefits from your appointment. I am not a doctor or a psychologist, and I cannot diagnose or treat any disease. I can only support your body in regaining and maintaining a desired level of health. Aromatherapy is a gentle integrative modality that works with other therapies. If at any time I feel that I am treading beyond my training and liability, I will have to suggest you consult another professional. Once you have a proper diagnosis, please come back to me so we can work on achieving your wellness goals in concert with your other practitioners.
It is important that you ask questions whenever somebody gives you advice about using essential oils. Ask them about their education and credentials in aromatherapy, and if they are insured to be making their recommendations or performing treatments using essential oils. This includes massage therapists, healthcare professionals and salespeople. Training and conferences put on by essential oil companies are not equivalent to certification in aromatherapy. And be aware that the internal use of essential oils should only be recommended by a professional with several hundred hours of training in aromatic medicine.
When you visit a certified aromatherapist, you can expect to be treated with compassion and dignity. Our main goal is to support you on your wellness journey safely, responsibly and professionally. We love to help people be healthy and happy in our own special way!
Shannon Bachorick is a Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional in Regina, Canada. Her focus is on emotional healing for those living with and at risk of developing autoimmune disorders, and the safe and responsible use of essential oils at all ages and stages of life.