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Finding a Qualified Aromatherapy Practitioner
The safest method for using aromatherapy to aid with specific physical or emotional conditions is to seek out the in-person guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. This is also generally the most effective method as well because you will benefit from custom blends created for you by an experienced aromatherapy professional.
The key word in the upper paragraph is the word qualified. Unfortunately, it’s a whole heck of a lot harder to find a qualified aromatherapy practitioner than it is to find a good medical doctor (and I do know how hard it is to find a good doctor). Thus, you will have to do a little homework.
To the best of my knowledge, anyone in the U.S. can call themselves an aromatherapist, aromacologist, aromatologist or aromatherapy practitioner regardless of their training. In some countries, aromatherapy practitioners must be licensed, so it is recommended that you find out the specific licensing and educational requirements for practitioners in your country and ascertain if there is any difference between the types of titles that may be used. Unfortunately, I am unable to research the requirements for every country, so I’ll need you to do a little research for the country that you live in.
An overview of aromatherapists and
aromatologists in the U.S.
Generally Accepted Definition of an Aromatherapist – An individual that has formal aromatherapy training and has been licensed in a hands-on field such as massage, nursing or cosmetology. Some people loosely use the term aromatherapist without such training, so you always need to confirm credentials with any prospective “aromatherapist."
Generally Accepted Definition of an Aromacologist or Aromatherapy Consultant – An individual that has formal aromatherapy training but does not have licensing for any hands-on field. An Aromatologist cannot touch clients in states or countries where hands-on licensing is required to do so.
Some states in the U.S. grants licenses and certifications for those in various "hands-on" fields that can include such professions as nursing, cosmetology and massage. Each state differs in its licensing requirements, and some states do not require a license to touch a client. It is my understanding at the time of this writing that there are no states in the US that currently grant licenses/certifications to individuals for the use of the the title of aromatherapist or even certified aromatherapist.
What is offered by aromatherapy educational institutions is usually a certificate in aromatherapy or a diploma in aromatherapy, not any form of statewide or federal “certification” to practice aromatherapy. Receipt of a certificate or diploma is different than being certified or licensed by the state. Again, there are no states that I am aware of that offer a license or certification specifically for aromatherapy.
Sometimes, someone who has received a certificate or diploma in aromatherapy from a school and (whether to be misleading or perhaps just out of confusion) claims he/she is a certified aromatherapist. Until there is true standardization of aromatherapy education and true aromatherapy certification available for individuals who want to practice aromatherapy with this distinction, it is essential that you ask the right questions when you are exploring the services and qualifications of an aromatherapist or aromatologist.
How to Find Aromatherapy Practitioners in Your Area
Establishing the True Qualifications of an Aromatherapy Practitioner
Once you have found the names of one or more aromatherapy practitioners in your area, contact them to learn more about their qualifications and personality. These questions will help you identify the most qualified practitioner in you area. If the practitioner hesitates to answer, is suspicious or resentful of your asking these questions, or if you are only allowed to speak to a receptionist, be extremely leery. If the person insists that you make an appointment instead of respecting your desire to do a telephone "interview" first, move on to someone else. Any good practitioner should have complete respect for you for asking these questions; and may even compliment you on your thoroughness.
Consider asking these questions:
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