aromatherapist Seattle

What Exactly Is Scope of Practice For The Aromatherapist?

7:40 AM

I love this from AromaHead, although it really doesn't answer the age old question of this, "As a Certified Aromatherapist, what exactly does Scope of Practice mean?" 
As aromatherapists,we can fill an incredibly supportive role in helping people move through the challenges they face in their journey through life.  In my opinion, there are no blanket solutions for anything.  Instead we need to understand all nuances of the situation the individual is facing including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects.  While this can be a lot more work than just saying “oh you have a headache, use this lavender”, when one takes the time to consider all aspects of an individual, as well as their life situation and lifestyle, the synergy and protocol created are unique for that person, allowing incredible possibilities to unfold for them.
I also believe it is very important to remember that essential oils are NOT substitutes for pharmaceutical drugs, nor should we be trying to recommend or use them in this.  We should also always remember that when it comes to a disease or a condition, as aromatherapists we NEVER treat the disease or condition.  What we do is consider the whole person, what are their concerns, what are their challenges, what is their lifestyle, what are their physical needs, what are their psychological needs.  Once we have this information we can come up with a unique synergy for that individual, as well as a plan of action for how that synergy is to be applied.
The work of an Aromatherapist is considered CAM or Complementary Alternative Medicine, where we use essential oils to help improve emotional wellbeing and relieve the symptoms of ill health.  A CA or CCA does not diagnose conditions, but when taking a full health record with a client you can recommend oils that will relieve the symptoms of the whole body using aromatherapy. Someone may have a headache and you look at them holistically and recommend True Lavender because it's very relaxing and you see that they have a very stressful lifestyle. That is not treating the headache, it is aligning to their lifestyle. The scope of our practice will be to educated the client on use of oils, and give choices based on clinical data and career/educational experience to support any needs of the client's well being


The Aromatherapy Industry in the US is hard for a CA to work with because there are NO standards of the scope of your practice. I tend to follow the lead of the UK Council that Aromatherapy is the systematic use of essential oil in holistic treatments to improve physical and emotional well being. There is so much research (including clinical) showing that when essential oils are applied to the skin, inhaled, or absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized into the body they are effective for stress-related problems and a variety of chronic conditions. Their Aromatherapy Council states: 

 Clinical trials have shown that when applied topically, some essential oils, including Tea Tree oil, have antibacterial and [antimicrobial/antiseptic] properties (Hay et al. Arch Dermatol. 1998; 134:1349-1352) and that Peppermint oil may optimise/maintain a healthy digestive system (Stevensen C.J. Fundamentals of CAM, Churchill Livingstone 1996:137-148). There are many studies that demonstrate how essential oils can positively affect mood and the sense of well-being.  Buckle J. Alternative Therapy  Health Med.1999 (5):42-51 states that “studies suggest that essential oils …. induce mood changes”. Essential oils also impact on brain wave activity, creating either stimulating or relaxing effects (Stevensen 1996).

So it's important to remember you cannot diagnose a condition, but you can support treatment for the symptoms using essential oils and aromatherapy practices. 

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