To become a certified aromatherapist, one must get an education from a certified school and pass an exam to become a registered aromatherapist.
“The ARC voluntary exam emphasizes an aromatherapists knowledge of public safety issues and promotes the interests of the entire professional aromatherapy community by illustrating to regulatory bodies that the aromatherapy industry is sufficiently mature to self regulate, and does not need to be regulated from outside or above” (n.a., 2017a).
I live in the state of Oregon, where being an aromatherapist is not considered a licensed practice. “With regards to licensing: aromatherapy is an unlicensed profession in the United States. Many aromatherapy practitioners hold a license in another occupation, e.g. nursing, massage therapy, esthetics, naturopathy, acupuncture, etc.” (n.a., 2017c). The Oregon license directory had no information on how to obtain a license for aromatherapy or to be an aromatherapist. When I entered a search it “No match found for the search criteria you entered” (n.a., 2017b).
It is important to understand the limitations an aromatherapist must not overstep. Aromatherapists are not doctors, do not touch clients, don’t diagnose, treat or cure. An aromatherapist’s role is an educator about the wellness of the person, mind, body and spirit. Aromatherapists encourage healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, exercise and self-care and always refers clients to their healthcare provider to diagnose, treat and cure.
Having a clear understanding of the role of an aromatherapist is important. An aromatherapist teaches about the importance of “good nutrition, regular and adequate sleep, fresh air and fresh water, avoiding excessive stimulants are all crucial to good health. If we fail to follow the underlying basics of good health, no essential oil blend in the world will make us feel 100%!” (Petersen, 2016). Having good communication and observation techniques are beneficial to being an aromatherapist.
Aromatherapists to do not touch clients which is why observation and communication are important. “In order to recognize and understand illness, the aromatherapist must begin to observe people closely. Learn to recognize nutritional imbalances and emotional disturbances, for if these are addressed early enough chronic disease in later life can be avoided” (2016).
Communication is very important for aromatherapists to understand. What an aromatherapist is trying to say and what the client hears is important to understand before having conversations. An aromatherapist cannot say “it looks like you have” but can ask “what if anything have you been diagnosed with from your doctor?”. An aromatherapist “never hesitates to refer a client to a medical or naturopathic doctor or specialist for further diagnosis or treatment” (2016). Aromatherapists can be sued by clients if they claim to treat or cure. This is why understanding the different ways clients may hear what you are trying to say in very important and taking care of the words chosen is a must.
Overall, the field of aromatherapy is not a licensed practice but it is clear that aromatherapists do not diagnose, treat, cure or touch clients. Aromatherapists are wellness educators and do not in any way replace doctors.
(n.a.). Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) | Benefits. (2017a). Aromatherapycouncil.org. Retrieved 23 April 2017, from http://aromatherapycouncil.org/?page_id=187
(n.a.). Regulations | National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. (2017c). Naha.org. Retrieved 23 April 2017, from https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/regulations/
Petersen, D. (2016). Aroma 203 Aromatherapy 1. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.