Thyme Essential Oil

Posted on: July 9th, 2009 by
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The herb Thyme produces a number of different essential oils, depending on the distillate and depending on the location in which the herb is grown. Not only is this confusing (they all bear the same botanical name) but it can cause unwanted side effects if you do not know which variety of Thyme essential oil you have.
The two most common Thyme essential oils used in aromatherapy are sweet (or common) Thyme and red Thyme; red Thyme is the more aggressive essential oil whereas sweet Thyme is more gentle. The reasons for this lie in the fact that red Thyme essential oil is composed primarily of the chemical component phenol and sweet Thyme essential oil is made up mainly of alcohols, which are gentler in their actions. However, red Thyme essential oil does have its uses in aromatherapy – if you know what to use it for, exercise caution and do not use it in contra-indicated situations.
Read the latest Thyme essential oil profile I’ve added to learn more…

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The Use Of Clove Essential Oil in Aromatherapy

Posted on: July 8th, 2009 by
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Clove essential oil is complex – in that there is clove bud, clove leaf and clove stem essential oils to choose from! However, in aromatherapy, clove bud essential oil is the more commonly used because of the slightly less ‘toxicity’ of its chemical make-up. It contains the active ingredient of eugenol which is responsible for some of the cautions associated in the use of clove essential oil.
Clove bud essential oil is used in aromatherapy and has strong antiseptic properties, amongst others. Although caution should be used when using clove essential oil, used in low dilutions (of less than 1%), clove oil can be used safely and effectively to treat a number of problems.
Read clove essential oil to learn more….

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Professional Aromatherapy Training in the Use of Essential Oils

Posted on: July 6th, 2009 by
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Aromatherapy training widely varies from country to country and from provider to provider. Both the UK and the USA have similar regulations for aromatherapy practitioners, although I would say the UK is slightly ahead in trying to ‘standardize’ the practice of aromatherapy.

However, that is not to say that the UK has strict guidelines for an aromatherapy practitioner; it is possible in both the USA and the UK to set up as an ‘aromatherapist’ with no training in aromatherapy or essential oils. At the other end of the scale, in France, only a medically qualified doctor can authorize (professionally) the use of essential oils.

So, for someone who wants to practice as a ‘professional’ aromatherapist, where do you start? There are hundreds and thousands of aromatherapy courses out there from online, distance learning and taught classes ranging from a couple of hours to years in length.

Probably the best place to start is with an introductory course to aromatherapy or essential oils to discover if you would like to learn more. These are very informal classes and can be done online or at a local college.

Next, if you decide to progress further, choose a quality course that will give you a good grounding in the basic essential oils, an anatomy and physiology course and the safe use of essential oils. Knowing the basic botany of plants is also useful. A quality course will require you to take an exam or be continually assessed through assignments.

So how do you choose a ‘good’ course provider? In the USA, you can check the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy website for course providers; in the UK, check out the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists. Look for a course provider who has experience and training in their field, is willing to answer your questions before you sign up, can provide you with literature about the training school etc It may also be possible to speak to past students of the aromatherapy school to see what they thought of it. Also ask for recommendations of schools from like minded individuals.

Also consider what you want to get out of the course and what you want to do when you have completed the course. Some courses focus on massage and the use of essential oils; others focus just on essential oil use. Some post-grad courses focus on the science and use of essential oils in more complex ways, but you usually have to have completed the basic course first.

You can use aromatherapy and essential oils practice in many ways. After completing a course, you can:

- practice aromatherapy in a massage setting, either set up your own business or apply for work in spas/massage centers (although in the USA, depending on state, you may have to become a licensed massage therapist (LMT))
- with further knowledge and training, teach aromatherapy
- write about aromatherapy if you have writing skills
- speak about aromatherapy at conferences, groups etc
- launch your own essential oil blend products (but check out local and country regulations required to do so)
- combine aromatherapy with other holistic practices such as reflexology and herbal medicine.

As for my professional training in aromatherapy, I studied with the Penny Price Aromatherapy Academy in England, although training with Penny Price is also available in the USA. I have been in the USA for 3 years now and, having had my own aromatherapy practice for a couple of years, am now considering a change of direction, having learnt a lot about how aromatherapy is practiced in the USA. Just recently, I found the aromahead institute in Florida and will be taking their teacher training course in April 2010 to further my aromatherapy education and business.

In the USA, it is also possible to become a registered aromatherapist, and although not a requirement to practice aromatherapy, it shows, to some degree, the professionalism of an aromatherapist. You are required to take an exam and your registration is good for 5 years. There are differing opinions on the validity or value of the aromatherapy registration in the USA but it is something I hope to do in the near future.

If anyone has any recommendations or comments about their own aromatherapy training or future training in essential oils, please let me know!

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Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, and the Use of Herbs and Healing Plants

Posted on: July 6th, 2009 by
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Hippocrates (460 B.C. – 377 B.C), the Greek healer and physician, is known by most people who are interested in plants and who use them to heal. Long before aromatherapy essential oils were in common usage, many people used the actual plant to heal. Hippocrates is accredited with changing the way medicine was viewed and used healing plants as part of his hippocratic theory.
Hippocrates used ginger as ‘ warming’ herb to soothe ‘cold’ conditions and he used members of the mint family to ‘cool’ ‘warming’ conditions; much of what is written about Hippocrates is subject to different verifications/interpretations but he did contribute much to medicine as we know it today.
Read Medicinal Plants and Herbs Used by Hippocrates to learn more…

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Chemistry of Essential Oils

Posted on: July 3rd, 2009 by
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…….is complicated! So, I wrote an introductory article on the subject at suite101 today. Chemistry of essential oils fascinates me and is is something which I intend to study more indepth in the near future. Many people do not simply realize what one little essential oil bottle can hold!
For further information check out Chemistry of Essential Oils
I will be sharing some valuable resources for the chemistry of essential oils in the near future too…

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Coconut Oil

Posted on: June 29th, 2009 by
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Coconut oil is often thought of exotic and is found in many cosmetic bases and products; however, despite usually being a fractionated oil for aromatherapy use, coconut oil does have some therapeutic use in massage, mainly as a carrier oil, either for use on its on or with the addition of essential oils. It is good for softening the skin and soothing it too. It has been used in Ayuverdic medicine for hair loss, burns and heart problems.
Coconut oil comes from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), a palm tree which is found growing wild on tropical coastlines and beaches in many countries. It is the fruit of the coconut tree which is of value for therapeutic practice, although the leaves and trunk of the coconut tree do have other values too.
Some interesting facts about coconut oil -
- Coconut oil is often found in hair products as it moisturizes dry hair
- Coconut oil is used by women, for their hair, in tropical countries from an early age and seems to prevent both baldness and graying!
- Coconut oil aids tanning, and should be used with care by those with sensitive skin, as the sun’s rays are not blocked by coconut oil.
For more information on coconut oil read the uses of the coconut tree

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