Job Description (What the job involves)
People have become obsessed with pursuing a healthy mind, body and soul; and many more people are trying alternative methods of achieving that healthier lifestyle. Therefore aromatherapy has become more popular and a preferred method of overall wellness to traditional medicine.
What does an Aromatherapist do?
An aromatherapist is a practitioner who uses essential oils for therapeutic reasons. Aromatherapy reduces the symptoms of conditions & improves physical and emotional wellbeing. It can be practised on its own or with other therapies e.g. massage, facials or reflexology.
Aromatherapists try to treat the whole body by finding treatments and oils that are right for a client’s mental and physical well-being. If they are administering a massage, they will mix oils that are best for a massage. Consultations must be carried out for all clients; including questions on diet, lifestyle and health as some oils can’t be used during pregnancy or because of certain medical conditions or allergies.
Aromatherapists can prescribe oils for clients to use at home in the bath, to inhale whilst in a diffuser or burner or they can be blended into some lotions and creams.
Hours and Working Environment
The working environment will depend on the path chosen by the aromatherapist e.g. spas, physicians’ rooms, or the flexible and relaxed environment of a home based business. Work will usually be in a holistic environment. The atmosphere within a holistic salon/spa is calm and relaxed unlike traditional beauty salons that are generally fast paced with back to back bookings. Early morning starts and evening work may be required to accommodate clients work schedules. If an aromatherapist decides to offer treatments within a client’s home or from their own premises, it can be very flexible work. Clients tend to open up to their therapists and, although people’s personal problems can be draining, an aromatherapist can bring about change which is extremely rewarding.
Skills and Personal Qualities
- Helpful and caring nature. Aromatherapists are there to meet the needs of their clients who often have specific symptoms that they wish the practitioner to relieve. They must therefore have a willingness to help, be non-judgemental and have empathy toward patients.
- Physically fit with lots of energy. Due to long hours and physically demanding work, an aromatherapist may experience muscular pain and fatigue and will need to develop physical and mental strength.
- Enjoy working with people. As an aromatherapist is working with people on a daily basis, they should have a warm and friendly personality and love to interact with people from all cultures and backgrounds.
- Organised. As consultations must always be carried out, it is necessary to keep records of these so that a clients’ progress can be tracked; and if no improvement the therapist can make necessary changes to treatments. This also helps the practitioner keep records of the clients’ medical history so that incorrect oils are not used.
- Communication and good listening skills. Patients will often build a close relationship with their aromatherapist and will often share personal details, problems or news with their practitioner.
- Ability to assess clients’ needs. Sometimes a client will present the therapist with a specific symptom they would like to address; it is the therapists’ job to treat these as well as any other symptoms they might come across.
An aromatherapist should have training in anatomy and physiology as well as training in the properties and effects of essential oils and their uses (where they are from, what they do, what they treat, when you shouldn’t use them) as well as trained in massage. Appropriate courses range from two-year part-time diplomas to three or four-year full-time degrees. To practice as a registered aromatherapist you must complete a course that meets the guidelines of the NOS (National Occupational Standards) for aromatherapy. When discussing the course with a college tutor, make sure that the course is mapped to the NOS and complies with the Aromatherapy Councils Core Curriculum. Studies include plant properties, anatomy, business studies, therapeutic relationships, research and case studies.
Opportunities and Progression
Most aromatherapists are self-employed; they may choose to work from home or travel to clients and perform the treatments in their homes. This allows for a great deal of flexibility. There are many other areas that they can enter into including nursing hospices, spa’s, beauty salons, sports clinics and fitness centres, medical centres and health clinics. Aromatherapy is used by many alternative medicine professionals as an incorporation into their natural healing methods, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and reflexology.
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Potential Salary and Benefits
At the start of their career an aromatherapist can expect to earn about £12,000. Annual salaries will vary depending on the aromatherapists’ practice, the area it may be situated, the age of the therapist and their experience. The salary is dependent on the path the aromatherapist takes but they can expect to earn up to £45,000. Aromatherapists can charge an hourly rate of between £20 - £50 per hour treatment