For quite a few years I wanted to learn about aromatherapy. I was intrigued by how scent can affect us, and curious about how the chemistry works within our bodies. After several years of tossing the idea back and forth, I took the plunge. It was such a fascinating world, getting to know better how plants work and interact with their environments and just how awake and aware plants actually are, and how humans have been utilizing their chemistry for their own purposes outside of food. I took my time learning, and at the end of last year completed my course, joined the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy as a level 1 aromatherapist and acquired additional liability insurance.
In my previous article about aromatherapy, I discussed some of trends of usage in Canada, what aromatherapy is and a brief overview of how it is practised. Today I'm going to get much more specific. What can an Aromatic Massage Therapist* treat? What is involved in a first appointment? What kinds of products can I use personally?
What can an Aromatic Massage Therapist treat?
First, Aromatic Massage Therapist is not an official designation. Only those who are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) can use the titles RMT, Registered Massage Therapist, Massage Therapist and Massage Therapy in any fashion. Aromatherapy is considered complimentary to the practice of massage therapy by the CMTO, but is not part of the definition of massage therapy. It can be practised by a massage therapist within a massage therapy treatment plan, but not called (or billed as) massage therapy on it's own. So, a massage therapist who practices aromatherapy (or an Aromatic Massage Therapist, my own phrase) can treat all the same problems a massage therapist can treat, but may also use aromatics, or essential oils, to treat those problems. These include all the aches and pains of your musculoskeletal system be they attributed to stress, work related tension or injuries.
What is involved in an aromatic consultation?
Your first appointment will be pretty much the same as any other visit to a health professional. Some paper work will be filled out to collect information about your health history, and what you're coming in for. An interview follows and the therapist will ask further questions, giving you a chance to elaborate on what brought you in and what you hope the result of the appointment will be. Based on this information, the aromatherapist will then develop a treatment plan including mode of application, essential oils to use, specific plant or herbal oils to use and any home care products and instructions. Likely some blends will already be available for use in a massage and discussion about body areas to treat and what to expect will commence. During the massage the selected blend will be applied to your body in a carrier lotion or oil and your job will simply be to receive.
What kinds of products can I use personally?
Your therapist may suggest you use additional products at home to compliment the aromatic treatment and facilitate your participation in the treatment plan so you can reach your health goals. These products can include topicals like oils, lotions, balms, salves and gels or inhalants like blends for your home diffuser, sprays for room and linens, or personal aromastick inhalers. These products will be accompanied by instructions from your therapist for best use practices.
And that's it! Aromatherapy can be a pleasant part of your personal care routines, can facilitate the cultivation of your felt sense and adds another dimension to your already awesome massage therapy experiences.