How to become a Qualified Clinical Aromatherapist

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Clinical aromatherapy (sometime also referred to as professional aromatherapy) falls under the description of complementary therapies or complementary alternative / integrated therapy, that uses the healing properties of plant-based essential oils to complement established allopathic and conventional medicinal treatment pathways in a supportive role by aiding wellness and quality of life.

Clinical aromatherapists are trained professionals who are able to create personalised combinations of aromatic oils to help aid mental and physical ailments within clearly defined parameters.

Clinical aromatherapy has been used for many years in the healthcare industry, but it can also be used for relaxation at home. The treatments are not limited to just adults; they can be beneficial for children.

To find out more about our aromatherapy training, be sure to check out our PEOT Clinical Aromatherapy Course.

What is clinical aromatherapy?

The use of clinical aromatherapy can be traced back centuries ago with the ancient Greeks and Egyptians utilising techniques to incorporate aromatic plant extracts as treatments for various ailments. It is the practice by the modern trained aromatherapist of using plant-based essential oils in treatment plans, these prescribed essential oil treatments may include topical or olfactory (the sense of smell) applications to support the improvement of the patient or client from various ailments including physical and mental health issues.

Professional aromatherapists will use a variety of different techniques to deliver the essential oil therapy, for olfaction therapy treatments; some examples include inhalation, massage with aromatic oil-infused lotions, and using aromatic oils in a diffuser. Professional aromatherapists will select different combinations of essential oils based on the needs of each patient to create an individualised treatment plan for their condition, these may include conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, arthritis or other inflammatory diseases (among others).

Clinical aromatherapy is often used in a clinical setting including hospitals, hospices, where patients are more able to explore a holistic approach to alleviating the symptoms of some long term illness, chronic or idiosyncratic conditions.

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The use of essential oil

Essential oils (also know as aromatic, or plant-based oils) are liquid extracts that come from plants, fruits, vegetables, which are generally extracted by a variety of production techniques, namely cold-pressing or distillation. The oils have a variety of different properties and health benefits, but all essential oils are believed to contain some healing and therapeutic properties – which means they can be used for various purposes in aromatherapy treatments.

A certified clinical aromatherapist is a specialist in over 70 essential oils and multiple application techniques, who’s practice in aromatherapy centres predominantly around forms of olfaction therapy. A professional clinical aromatherapists will make sure they use well sourced, ethical, unadulterated essential oils that they blend to achieve a desired result – which could be anything from soothing anxiety and depression to treating inflammation; or something more simple like boosting energy levels.

Is there a difference between spa aromatherapy and clinical aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is often advertised and used in the spa setting as part of a general massage treatment menu and is usually administered by a beauty therapist, or spa massage therapists using pre blended aromatherapy oils. In this instance the essential oils are usually commercially pre blended and mixed together with carrier oils for general use.

Clinical aromatherapy is about learning how to use essential oils at more complex level, usually to be during an olfaction therapy treatment. Clinical aromatherapy has increased in popularity in the UK over recent years, as it is a natural and holistic therapy that can be used to treat a variety of conditions by stimulating the limbic system (the part of the brain that connects to aroma and memory.) By stimulating the olfactory system, clinical aromatherapy can be used to aid symptoms of illnesses and relax patients.

During clinical aromatherapy training students are taught the skills required to assess and diagnose the client’s needs before creating a customised treatment plan for them that may include other healing modalities like massage or physical therapy. They are specially trained to choose the right aromatic oils for each client, specifically to help a clients’ symptoms. A qualified therapist should also be able to create a suitable range of products that people will find helpful when using their treatments both in their professional practice, and at home.

Why should I consider taking a clinical aromatherapist course in the UK as a healthcare professional?

Clinical aromatherapy is often seen as complementary therapy to be used alongside other forms of treatment such as medication, giving healthcare practitioners an alternative treatment option when treating various medical conditions, where more established methods have been ineffective. For healthcare practitioners the benefits of using aromatherapy are numerous as it is a way to improve the health and well-being of health care patients, colleagues, and patients families – especially at difficult times.

Our accredited Diploma in Professional Essential Oils Therapy (PEOT) is an excellent way for healthcare professionals to learn about clinical aromatherapy. Pitched at an advanced level and devised by industry experts, our comprehensive essential oils aromatherapy course is unsurpassed by others, enabling you to work confidently with 90 essential oils and 34 carrier oils and how to use aroma and essential oils in a wide range of applications for example in emotional, and mental benefits, which can help in the treatment of many conditions of psychosomatic origins.

It is important to say that aromatherapy, whether clinical aromatherapy or holistic aromatherapy such as massage, isn’t a replacement for medical treatments, however, they are an useful addition to a patients ongoing treatment plan in order in order to help boost their overall well being, and quality of life whilst giving clinical health care patients an opportunity to explore different non-medical or invasive treatments for the symptoms they need addressing.

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How do I become a clinical aromatherapist?

There are a multitude of training course providers, and private companies online who will offer distance learning courses in ‘clinical aromatherapy’, or short courses in ‘aromatherapy training’. However, not all clinical aromatherapy courses are created equally, and neither are the qualifications that they award…

If you are looking for a massage qualification, or a training course to become a clinical aromatherapist we have another more in-depth blog that we would suggest reading before choosing the correct course for you depending on your requirements, so please check that out if you haven’t already.

However, here are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing a aromatherapy course provider to study with:

  • Whoever you choose as your training provider you should look for a one with accreditation from an industry-backed governing body such as the International Federation of Aromatherapists (I.F.A.) to ensure that you receive quality tuition, reaching the necessary training standards of both the theoretical and practical elements of your chosen aromatherapy course. Our PEOT Diploma Course is overseen by the I.F.A. and the course syllabus strictly adheres to their standards with clear aims and learning outcomes throughout. It incorporates the National Occupational Standards (NOS), Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and surpasses the aromatherapy core curriculum requirements.
  • Aromatherapy courses can be delivered via distance learning (especially due to the lockdowns and social-interaction restrictions placed upon us due to Covid-19 pandemic.) Your course provider, or school, as part of their distance learning courses package should also include regular access via video-link (Zoom etc) to a qualified tutor to help support your training and knowledge whilst keeping your learning progression on track.
  • A practical examination upon completion of your coursework should be a mandatory requirement to pass your course and receive an aromatherapy qualification. There is zero worth in sitting through a course and being awarded a certificate at the end just for your attendance! For our PEOT Diploma Course, this takes the form of a practical assessment of your portfolio, including your case studies and business studies sections, and an external assessment exam that is independently moderated to give you the confidence of your training.
  • Once you have passed your course you will be issued with your aromatherapy qualification certificate to allow you to apply for insurance to run your own professional practice, or to show prospective employers in both the private and public health care sectors. For our students, you will also be able to be added as a fully qualified member to the recognised governing body (I.F.A.) register of professional aromatherapists and will be listed on the I.F.A. website.
  • Depending on the qualification level of your course, there maybe course enrolment prerequisites, previous experience, and/or some prior learning required of you beforehand (e.g. a massage qualification) to demonstrate that your chosen course is suitable for you before enrolment. Full details on our PEOT prerequisites can be found on the course page.
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How long does it take to become a qualified aromatherapist? Can I study via distance learning?

Aromatherapists are usually required to go through an extensive educational background of both the aromatic oils themselves, as well as a formal educational program giving students the knowledge required for their use.

A good quality aromatherapist course can take anywhere from one year, to a two year maximum period via a distance learning program, allowing students to complete their coursework whilst balancing existing employment, and other commitments.

Are clinical aromatherapy courses regulated in the UK?

Aromatherapy is not currently regulated by law in the UK, however, it is overseen by several professional governing bodies the first and most internationally recognised being the I.F.A. established in 1985.

Purodem belongs to the I.F.A. governing body, ensuring that the aromatherapy courses we run meet the required National Occupational Standards for aromatherapy, and surpasses the core curriculum requirements for aromatherapy.

Though our approval as a specialist training school with the I.F.A. we also have Professional Standards Agency (P.S.A.) accreditation for the PEOT clinical aromatherapy course. The P.S.A. assist UK Parliament with regards to improving the regulation and registration of those who work in health and social care within the UK, helping to protect the public by ensuring professional standards are upheld and maintained.

Final Thoughts

As we have learnt, clinical aromatherapy is the use of plant-based oils in predominantly olfaction aromatherapy treatments, and its practitioners are required to go through an extensive educational background and a formal educational program about aromatic oils in order to become a fully qualified professional clinical aromatherapist.

Selecting a course provider, and making sure the accreditation that they can offer is recognised within the sector is also important when choosing a course to study. To ensure that the course you choose meets you own professional expectations, and the needs of your clients, patients and prospective employer.

We hope that you’ve found the above information useful. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of professional clinical aromatherapy, or perhaps if you want to begin your aromatherapy journey and train as a clinical aromatherapist on our Professional Essential Oils Therapy Diploma (PEOT) please contact us where we will be please to help.

our complete guide to choosing an aromatherapy course

Our website content is for advertisement, and informational purposes only. Purodem does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Professional advice should always be sought before using essential oils.

Picture of Deana Kassim
Deana Kassim
Deana is the Director and Principle Tutor at Purodem. She is also a Member of International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA), and a fully qualified aromatherapist, skincare formulator, and certified educator with over 20 years of professional experience.

Disclaimer: Our website content is for advertisement, informational and educational purposes only. Purodem does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Professional advice should always be sought before using essential oils.

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