Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment method that relies on the human sense of smell. Aromatherapists use essential oils such as lavender to help patients improve their mood and emotional wellbeing. If you are caring a person who would love to pursue a career in alternative medicine or health support, this is a career that could interest you.
What do aromatherapists do?
Their duties include:
- Consulting with clients or patients to gather information on their conditions – This involves recording information about their lifestyle and medical history
- Educating clients about aromatherapy and how the treatment will help to improve emotional wellbeing or alleviate ill-health
- Selecting the right aromatherapy technique for treating the client’s condition
- Mixing various essential oils with other compounds to produce a certain smell
- Using the blended oils (either through tropical application, water immersion, massage or inhalation) to help clients relax, gain energy or restore balance to the mind
- Monitoring clients’ progress
- Maintaining client records
- Advising clients about exercise, lifestyle and diet
Aromatherapists are typically self-employed, so the number of hours they work in a day depends on their client base. However, those who work in formal healthcare settings may work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
According to the Guardian, entry level aromatherapists make about £12,000 annually, while the experienced ones earn up to £40,000.
The first step to becoming an aromatherapist is to pursue a diploma in aromatherapy. Some of the qualifications available include:
- NVQ Level 3 Aromatherapy Massage
- VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Aromatherapy
You can also start with a foundational degree in reflexology and aromatherapy, like the one offered at Stoke on Trent College.
Regardless of the course you choose to pursue, you should learn aromatherapy body massage techniques, essential and carrier oil theory, and understand anatomy and physiology in relation to the human body.
Once you have a qualification, it is important to join a professional body such as the Aromatherapy Council and International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists. This will allow you to access professional development resources such as training workshops.
It will also make it easier for you to establish an aromatherapy clinic. Be sure to register the business with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, which is a voluntary regulatory body for aromatherapists in the UK. You should also secure an appropriate insurance policy to minimize your exposure to professional and business risks.
To be an accomplished aromatherapist, you need:
- Excellent speaking skills
- Active listening skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Organizational skills
- Practical skills
- A good level of physical fitness to massage clients
- Record-keeping skills
- Business skills
- The ability to recognize when a patient needs specialized medical attention
- Empathy and emotional resilience
- A sound understanding of the human body
- An awareness of product development in the essential oils industry
Although many aromatherapists are self employed, you can find full-time employment opportunities in:
- NHS trusts
- Community health centers
- Complimentary health clinics
In time, self-employed aromatherapists can build a sizeable client base and run profitable complimentary health clinics. You could also move into related careers such as massage therapy or reflexology.
Although the health support field looks a little sluggish at the moment, the National Career Service projects that the number of jobs in this sector will rise from 300000 to 338000 by 2020.
So if you desire to promote health of body, mind and spirit with going to the extremes of being a psychologist, then this is a career you should consider.