I’m conscious of the fact that I’m finding it difficult to maintain blogging on a regular basis. My aromatherapy course is really in full swing now and I have a lot of work to do reading, attending classes, massaging people, and doing homework. So I thought I would post my homework assignments here so you could see what I’m learning and to cut down the guilt I feel blogging less frequently on other natural beauty topics. If it’s boring leave a comment and tell me. If it’s interesting leave a comment and tell me you want more!
Define Aromatherapy and discuss the different styles of, and approaches to, aromatherapy:
There are many different definitions of aromatherapy, some wider than others. However, generally it is accepted that there are two different components to the definition which coincidently make up the name “aroma” and “therapy”. Aromatherapy uses the extracts of aromatic plants which are plants that have a distinct aroma in at least one part of the plant. The purpose of aromatherapy is to promote healing. Therefore it is through the use of aromatic plant extracts for the purpose of healing that defines aromatherapy.
Herbalism is similar to aromatherapy and even fits the same definition as above – using the extracts of plants for healing. However, the difference between herbalism and aromatherapy lies in how the plant extracts are obtained and how they are used. In herbalism extracts are obtained by steeping plant matter in either water or alcohol. In aromatherapy aromatic plants undergo different methods of extraction to get the healing benefits from plants such as distillation, expression, and solvent extraction. The way in which the herbal extracts and aromatic oils are used is also different. Herbal extracts are generally taken internally whereas aromatic oils should only be taken externally for safety reasons.
Aromatherapy takes many different forms. For example the aromatherapy practiced in UK, US, Canada, and Australia is referred to as holistic aromatherapy. The term holistic is used in the sense that it refers to all aspect of a person’s life. Holistic aromatherapy doesn’t just treat illness but it also helps to restore both physical and psychological balance and happiness. As the amounts of essential oils used in holistic aromatherapy (2-5% of the oil blend is from essential oils), the risks of adverse reaction is low. The biggest risk is mild skin irritation. Essential oils are selected in consultation with the client to take into account both physical and emotional difficulties. It’s important not to use an oil that the client doesn’t like the smell of or it won’t treat them effectively. Holistic aromatherapy works best for chronic conditions such as arthritis, lower back pain, asthma, IBS, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
Medical aromatherapy is practiced in France where medical professionals are the only ones qualified to practice aromatherapy. The approach to medical aromatherapy is mostly scientific with an emphasis on treating just physical illness. Medical aromatherapists are licensed to prescribe essential oils to be taken internally and in much larger doses than that which is taken externally in holistic aromatherapy. There is much higher risk attached to practicing medical aromatherapy. Possible side effects include irritation of skin or mucous membranes, possible allergic reaction, or toxic overdose.
Clinical aromatherapy is more similar to holistic aromatherapy than medical aromatherapy. Clinical aromatherapy primarily uses external applications of essential oils and concentrates both on physical and emotional health. As its name would indicate clinical aromatherapy is practiced in clinical settings with the emphasis placed on either using aromatherapy to treat a serious illness or as a complementary therapy to support the primary treatment of a serious illness.