Aromatherapist jobs(Also known as Aromatherapist)
An aromatherapist is trained in the use of plant extracts - known as essential oils - to improve a patient’s health and sense of well-being. The use of aromatic plant oils in medicine was first recorded in the book Da Materia Medica from the first century, and plant extracts have been used to treat illness since time immemorial. However, aromatherapy as we know it today was developed in France in the 20th century with the support of several noted scientists of the time, one of whom cured a serious burn to his hand with the use of lavender oil. Since then, the interest in complimentary medicine and natural remedies as an alternative to synthetic drugs has continued to grow. Today, registered aromatherapists are found all over the UK and the rest of the world. After training in the art of aromatherapy, they blend essential oils and administer them to their patients to improve health and provide other physical and mental benefits.
SalaryAromatherapists are usually self-employed and work on an hourly rate from £20 to £50 per treatment. There are many overheads involved, such as the cost of essential oils and room hire in a clinic. As such, an experienced aromatherapist with a solid client base can earn between £20,000 and £35,000 per annum. Aromatherapists may earn more money by owning their own clinic and hiring out rooms to other practitioners. Many aromatherapists work part-time with another job to supplement their income.
ResponsibilitiesAn aromatherapist’s job includes the following duties:
- Taking a detailed patient case history
- Choosing the correct essential oils for that patient
- Creating a bespoke blend for the treatment session
- Administering the oils to the patient’s body via massage, inhalation or through bathing at home
- Keeping patient records
- Devising a continuous treatment plan over several sessions
- Referring patients to other health practitioners if and when necessary
QualificationsThere are many different aromatherapy courses available in the UK. Some are basic courses intended to give an introduction for those wishing to use aromatherapy in their own circle of family and friends. However, to practice as a registered aromatherapist you must complete a course that meets the guidelines of the NOS (National Occupational Standards) for aromatherapy. For more information on accredited aromatherapy courses see the Aromatherapy Council website. A course usually takes place over a year and includes studies in plant properties, anatomy, business studies, therapeutic relationships, research and case studies. Once you have completed a course you can apply to be registered with the CNHC (Complimentary Medicine and Healthcare Council).
SkillsAromatherapists benefit from the following personal attributes and abilities:
- A patient and calm manner
- Empathy to listen to the needs of patients
- An interest in botany and the study of plants
- A desire to help others achieve positive change in their lives
- Great organisational skills
- Excellent record keeping
- An understanding of the limit of one’s own medical abilities
Working ConditionsAromatherapists usually work from within a clinic where they hire out a room. Often the clinic offers other complimentary or alternative medicine treatments such as Reiki, various types of massage and acupuncture. Some aromatherapists may prefer to work from home where they will dedicate a room to be their private clinic. Alternatively, aromatherapists travel to visit their patients in their own homes, in hospitals or hospices. An appointment usually lasts between 40 and 75 minutes. Aromatherapy involves the use of specialist equipment, not least of which is the essential oils. These are plant compounds extracted by various means and purchased in concentrated form. These oils must be administered as necessary, often by being mixed and diluted with a carrier oil to make them suitable for massage. As aromatherapists are usually self-employed they are free to make up their own hours. Early morning and evening appointments are common in order to fit around a patient’s work schedule. Part-time work is also common, especially in the early years of an aromatherapist’s career. As the work is hands-on and face to face it can be tiring dealing with people's personal problems. However, bringing about positive change is immensely rewarding and most aromatherapists go into the career for these reasons rather than for the money.
ExperienceAromatherapy courses usually include a large amount of practical study through working on human subjects, so enough experience is normally gained on the course to start practising upon graduation. Additional experience can be gained by treating family and friends which can also help build up a network of clients.
EmployersAlternative medicine clinics are the largest employers of aromatherapists. Check your local listings and apply directly. Alternatively, take out an advert in your local community centre, health food store or newsagent.
Career ProgressionIt is common for practitioners of complimentary medicine to qualify in more than one discipline. An additional qualification not only affords an extra revenue stream but provides another medium of treatment for your patients. The ability to provide deep tissue, Indian head, or sports massage opens up an entirely different client base.
Tanya Moulding, 40, is an aromatherapist working in London who has her own website, Aromatic Alchemy