What is an Aromatherapist {and why should I visit one}?

When you’re using essential oils for their therapeutic properties you might want to use them for something more serious than a cold or allergies. When it comes to using them for an issue like that it’s time to consult a certified aromatherapist. In this article, we’ll look at what an aromatherapist does and those health concerns that might require their consultation.

When you’re using essential oils for their therapeutic properties you might want to use them for something more serious than a cold or allergies. When it comes to using them for an issue like that it’s time to consult a certified aromatherapist. In this article, we’ll look at what an aromatherapist does and those health concerns that might require their consultation.

What is an Aromatherapist?

An Aromatherapist has been trained in the proper use of essential oils. The certification process requires between 50 - 300+ hours of training and instruction in the properties of essential oils, their contraindications, and safe usage for a variety of health and wellness concerns. There are a number of specialized institutions that can provide this training (either in-person or online). And, like many careers, there are different levels of training. Here’s a breakdown of the various levels of training:

Certified Aromatherapist - 50+ hours of training in the basics of aromatherapy

Certified Professional Aromatherapist - 200+ hours of training in the basics of aromatherapy as well as chemistry, botany, and more extensive training

Certified Clinical Aromatherapist - 300+ hours of training with a more clinical approach

Many aromatherapists pursue this training as an extension to an existing career (like a masseuse or a naturopath or someone who wants to sell their own products) - a certified or professional aromatherapist training is sufficient for this goal. Those who want to open a private practice or work in a clinic would need to complete level 3 - the Certified Clinical Aromatherapist training. The important key is to understand which type of aromatherapist you need to consult.

Here’s a closer look at what each level covers:

From: National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

Certified Aromatherapist

The first level, a Certified Aromatherapist, requires 50+ hours of training in the basics of aromatherapy which includes:

• Introduction to the history of Aromatherapy

• Profiles of minimum 20 essential oils

• Minimum of 5 case studies

• Quality of essential oils

• Production and methods of extraction (distillation, cold pressing/expression, enfleurage, absolute, CO2 extraction)

• Basic physiological effects of essential oils: methods of absorption, overview of olfaction and the limbic system, the skin, and the immune system

• How essential oils interact on physical and emotional levels

• Basic essential oil chemistry with contraindications of certain essential oils

• How to create/design an effective blend

• Diluents such as vegetable oils and other carrier bases

• Methods of application (inhalation, diffusion, topical, optional: internal)

• Safety issues (including dermal, respiratory, internal)

• Legal, ethical, privacy issues (include a copy of the NAHA Code of Ethics)

Certified Professional Aromatherapist

The second level, a Certified Professional Aromatherapist, requires completion of level 1 as well as another 150 hours of training in the basics of aromatherapy as well as chemistry, botany, and more extensive training, including:

• History and Modern Development

• Profiles of minimum 40 essential oils

• Minimum of 10 case studies

• Quality of essential oils

• Production and methods of extraction (distillation, cold pressing/expression, enfleurage, absolute, CO2 extraction)

• The basics of botany (specifically taxonomy)

• Organic chemistry

• Properties of essential oils within a holistic and professional framework

• Blending techniques

• Diluents such as vegetable oils and other carrier bases

• Methods of application (inhalation, diffusion, topical, optional: internal)

• Safety issues (including dermal, respiratory and internal use)

• Consultation and client education program design

• The basics of business development

• Legal, ethical, privacy issues (include a copy of the NAHA Code of Ethics)

Certified Clinical Aromatherapist

The third level, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, requires completion of levels 1 & 2 as well as another 100+ hours of training with a more clinical approach, including:

• Profiles of minimum 50 essential oils

• Minimum of 20 case studies

• Properties of essential oils within a clinical framework

• Safety and toxicology of essential oils (topical and internal)

• Safety guidelines for vulnerable populations (infants & children, pregnant women, elderly, those with chronic health conditions)

• Client/patient intake or SOAP notes

• Scope of practice

• Legal, ethical, privacy issues (include a copy of the NAHA Code of Ethics)

• As long as the core requirements are met, curriculum may be developed in specific tracks or emphasis chosen by the instructor (e.g., aromatherapy for children, the elderly, women’s health, phyto-aromatherapy, dermatology, acupuncture, animal aromatherapy, compounding of clinical preparations, etc.) Graduates should accurately declare their qualifications in their biographies or resumes, and should avoid acting outside their scope of practice.

• Level 3 electives and continuing education classes may cover specific areas of interest chosen by the instructor.

Now that you understand the various levels of training a Certified Aromatherapist, let’s explore when you should consider consulting one.



When should you see an Aromatherapist?

There are a few reasons you might want to visit a certified aromatherapist:

For everyday health concerns like seasonal allergies, cold & flu, skincare, and the like, you can certainly find what you need a good reference guide. But, you can also see an aromatherapist for these issues if you’d rather have the professional guidance. A certified aromatherapist would be able to guide you in these kinds of situations.

If your concern is more serious, you’ll definitely want to consult a properly certified professional or clinical aromatherapist. These issues could include circulatory concerns like arthritis, internal parasites or serious digestive issues, depression, significant pain, high blood pressure, or fibromyalgia (not limited to these specific situations - these are just examples of some of the issues they can help with). One of the many benefits of consulting a professional is that they can formulate a customized blend based on your needs and concerns.

The final reason to consult a professional is for the internal use of essential oils. If you are interested in ingesting essential oils, you should visit a certified professional or clinical aromatherapist who can guide you in the proper dosage. Using essential oils internally should be done with caution and only for specific situations. There’s no need to add a drop of essential oil to a glass of water each day just for the ‘health benefits’. It’s not healthy and could actually cause harm.

What does an Aromatherapist do?

When you schedule an appointment with an aromatherapist you can expect that they will want to review your medical history, discuss the concern that caused you to make an appointment, they’ll provide information and answer your questions, and will probably formulate a blend for you.

Depending on the reason for your visit, you may only need to see them once or twice. For a more serious or chronic concern, several visits or ongoing appointments might be more appropriate.

How to become a Certified Aromatherapist

If your interest in aromatherapy goes beyond just consulting with one, you can become an aromatherapist (even from the comfort of your own home). Take a look at this free webinar {<-- that's an affiliate link}. It will provide an overview of some of the things involved in aromatherapy - making blends and recipes, understanding chemical components, and essential oil safety.

And, if you want to read more about the topic of aromatherapy certification, take a look at these articles and websites:

Canadian Federation of Aromatherapy

The Truth About Aromatherapy Certification from Intoxicated on Life

The Difference between a Certified Aromatherapist and a Registered Aromatherapist from Sedona Aromatics

Interested in creating your own essential oil blends?

Learn the simple step-by-step process for creating a personalized essential oil blend - click below to find out how.

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.