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How do I Become an Aromatherapist?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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Popular culture often makes aromatherapy sound simple, but it's not easy to become an aromatherapist. In aromatherapy, you must develop an understanding as to how the body works. It would be unprofessional, unethical, and possibly dangerous to perform any hands-on aromatherapy treatment without understanding the body’s structure and function.

Aromatherapy is the science of using essential oils to enhance the mind, body, and spirit. Essential oils are essences extracted from the leaves, twigs, flowers, bark, fruit, and roots of various plants. When you become an aromatherapist, you can work in preventing health conditions, treating common ailments, and complementing more traditional medical treatment in the healing process.

Aromatherapy treatments, if performed correctly, are perfectly safe. These treatments can be effective in helping a wide range of disorders, ranging from headaches and nausea to chronic insomnia. Essential oils must be diluted and used with care, preferably under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. It takes a great deal of study to understand how essential oils work and how to be careful when performing treatments on children, pregnant women, or people with special medical concerns.

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There are no federal or state government bodies which provide licensing to someone who wants to become an aromatherapist. However, there are a few professional associations which review and regulate standards in aromatherapy as a way to protect the general public from unqualified practitioners. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) are two of the most popular aromatherapy organizations.

Nationally certified aromatherapists are in demand because the credential stands for a commitment to quality, integrity, and professional service. It means a person is being served by an aromatherapy professional whose practices are aligned with the national standard. In addition, by becoming a certified aromatherapist, you would be receiving the training necessary to work in the field of alternative medicine. This would substantially increase the amount of job opportunities you have available.

If you want to become an aromatherapist, you should find a school that offers aromatherapy courses that will prepare you for the certification exam. Recommended areas of study include the history of aromatherapy; extracting, distilling, and blending oils; the properties of various oils; and safe aromatherapy usage techniques. You also need to have a basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and organic chemistry in order to understand how common ailments can successfully be treated with aromatherapy massage or essential oil treatments.

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