An Aromatherapist has his or her own healing protocol or framework. Some emphasize on chemical components and therapeutic properties while others emphasize on plant parts or emotional aspects. It is hard to say which one is superior. Each protocol has its own merits. In reality, many people are amazed at how effective Aromatherapy is in their first encounter. However, passion can fade away if we cannot pinpoint the right healing protocol for clients. Flexibility is the key – as we have to cater to the customer’s needs while maintaining the effectiveness of the protocols.
The common practice in Aromatherapy is finding out the chemistry of each essential oil, and then uses its therapeutic components to address the issue. For instance, when someone is having a fever, you may want to use ginger (Zingiber officinale) to counter the effect of fever by inducing perspiration. If you use plant parts, you want to think about how different parts of the plant functions. For example, leaves are associated with breathing. When someone is having a nasal congestion, you would like to use eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to relieve the ailment. For emotional needs, citrus oil such as bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is uplifting and can help to alleviate the emotional problem of depression. Flower such as rose oil (Rosa damacena) is calming and can relieve anxiety. Some Aromatherapists take into consideration of blending for emotional needs when they deal with clients who have chronic problem.
To help me think more systematically, I classify my Aromatherapy healing protocols into three categories – “icing on the cake,” “timely help,” and “other factors.” For example, when you make a cake and encounter a problem, you obtain “timely help” from a friend or a recipe to solve that problem. After finishing the core (cake), you put “icing on the cake” for decorative purposes. If the cake does not taste the way you would expect it to, the reason may be that the ingredients is not fresh or is of inferior quality. This is the “other factors.”
In Aromatherapy, the timely help allows you to identify the root cause of the problem and solve the problem with the right essential oils. The icing on the cake can be the emotional needs that you take into account to uplift the client’s spirit while at the same time heal the core of the ailment. Example of other factors can be referring the client to other providers when aromatherapy does not fix the problem completely.
To further illustrate, let us think of a person with neck pain. An elderly client with neck pain comes to you and asks for your help using Aromatherapy to relieve her pain. After your first consultation, you discover that her problem is caused by osteoarthritis. To relieve her pain, you make a salve with some essential oils with therapeutic components in mind for her. She tries it and finds it quite effective in relieving her pain. She also finds that she sleeps better because of the fragrance of the salve. This fact speeds up her recovery.
In the case above, the “timely help” is the Aromatherapist and the salve; the “icing on the cake” is the fragrance that induced her to sleep; and, “other factor” is the fact that she heals more quickly because she sleeps well.
What happens if this elderly client’s neck pain was something you couldn’t heal with essential oils? In this case, you would need to consider “other factors” and perhaps refer her to another provider. Does she need to see an acupuncturist? Does she need to see a physical therapist for further treatment? Another provider may have more resources to ascertain whether the stiff neck was caused by the muscle or the bone; and they have the necessary expertise to relieve the problem.
Take for another example; a man with mild fever, runny nose, and headache asks for your help, and you give him a blend of essential oils after consultation. After using the blend, his symptoms subsided. However, the next morning, he got high fever and severe headache. It seemed that the “timely help” of therapeutic components’ blending you gave was not right for his needs. It may be time for him to seek “timely help” from a conventional medicine practitioner, while offering to make another blend for him to complement his care “icing on the cake,” which could help him heal more quickly. In this case, whether you are blending through therapeutic components, plant parts, or emotional needs does not have to follow specific methodology. Helping him to recover with the medications is what is the most important.
In contrast, a person with mild fever, headache, and running nose decides to heal herself by the healing the body itself. For her, less is more. To help her recover, you make her a blend to encourage sound sleep, so that her body could heal more quickly. In this case, the blend is still the “timely help” of blending with therapeutic components. But now you take into account “other factor(s)” like inducing her to have sound sleep so that her body could heal more quickly. The aroma of the blend is the “icing on the cake” as it provides emotional support to your client. As a result, your client is able to heal more quickly. Because of your clarity of mind in classifying the protocols, you are able to tackle the problem with ease and effectiveness.
To sum up, this simplified model is to provide a framework in classifying the healing protocols into three categories – “icing on the cake,” “timely help,” and “other factor(s).” The classification helps in clarifying in one’s mind determining which protocol to be used – whether it is chemical components, therapeutic properties, plant parts or emotional aspects. This method also helps one to be flexible in his or her choice of protocol.