Aromatherapy is the controlled use of essential oils (pure essence from plants) to enhance our physical and emotional well being. The best way to learn about aromatherapy is to experience its benefits for yourself – but before doing so, you may like to hear from others who have embarked on the aromatherapy journey before you.
APA is honoured to have invited the following world-renowned aromatherapy and essential oil experts to share with us their deeply inspiring personal experiences of this wonderful therapy:
(by alphabetical order of surname)
For me, aromatherapy is about harnessing the enormous healing potential of aromatic plants that spans all states of vibration, from the most dense and physical to the most subtle and energetic. Through their versatility and ability to communicate, interact with and harmonise each level of our being, essential oils and their related products have much to offer us in this current age of imbalance and uncertainty. They send a clear message to the mind, body and spirit and awaken our healing potential at a cellular level.
I view aromatherapy as an essential complement to modern healthcare approaches, and my passion is to demonstrate where and how these modalities can be successfully intertwined for the benefit of patients and their carers. Hence my focus and promotion of clinical aromatherapy; working alongside healthcare professionals in a range of settings, from clinics to hospitals and hospices, in both in-patient and out-patient care.
Rhiannon Harris FIFPA
About Rhiannon Harris
Rhiannon is an experienced aromatherapist, educator, author and editor of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy (IJCA).
Based in Provence, France, she hosts residential classes near her mountain home as well as travelling internationally to lecture on a range of subjects concerning clinical aromatherapy and essential oil science.
The IJCA is the only aromatherapy journal in the world with a clinical focus, taking an evidence-based approach to help and inspire practitioners to use essential oils and related products in a range of healthcare settings.
Aromatherapy does what it says on the label. It is a therapy using aroma! But what is Aromatherapy really? I believe that Aromatherapy is a tool that we can use to evolve and develop holistically into higher spiritual beings, by interacting with others through the application of aromatic plant material.
Firstly we have to recognise that we are all here to make our own journey. This is nobody else‘s life, but ours. Once we recognise that, we can accept that while we interact with other people, which makes our life journey more fulfilling, we can also make a difference and help facilitate other people’s journey.
Aromatic plant materials have an amazing effect that few other media have. They can access past memory and the power of association in such a powerful way that only a few psychotherapists could hope to achieve the same result.
Many have studied and tried to explain the chemistry of plant materials; the application of phyto materials through touch and ingestion is explained by many in the field. However, the mental effect of aroma is not comprehensively understood by anyone. It is suggested that certain olfactory sensors and known centres of the brain are involved, but nobody really understands how aroma works in our psyche, only that it does. It is probably the fact that it is not understood that is Aromatherapy‘s true power. For we do not need to understand, only to experience. This is true of life itself: we do not need to understand, only to experience. We are, after all, spiritual beings on a human journey; therefore we are on an experiential journey – not an intellectual one.
Aromatherapy for me is a tool by which I grow and develop. I use that tool with others and together we stride forward in this journey that we call life.
About Alan Howell
Alan studied Herbal Medicine in 1985. Interested in the energetics of plant material, he re-directed his study towards subtle energy medicine. Alan studied at the British School of Shiatsu-Do where he qualified as a Shiatsu practitioner. His desire to work holistically means that his body-work is now augmented by nutritional and environmental advice.
This combination of Herbal, Nutritional, Environmental and Bodywork is all driven by a desire to harmonise the body’s energetic system. He specialises in a form of Shiatsu known as Shin-Tai.
The world is becoming increasingly industrialized and urbanized. Humanity is swelling, while Nature is shrinking. According to a study conducted by the University of Exeter, published in July 2011, one in 10 species could face extinction by the year 2100 if current climate change impacts continue.
People are relying more and more on technology to interpret the world, and less on their bodily senses. All too often, the speed and demands of our modern lifestyle induce stress, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
Aromatherapy counters these trends in a number os ways.
By revitalizing the most primal of our five sensory faculties, the sense of smell, aromatherapy reorientates us back towards our vital origin in Nature - through the fragrant byproducts, known as essential oils, extracted from the aromatic plants with which we have co-evolved. This I believe encourages human beings to cherish and sustain the plant life on which we depend for our own survival.
By employing essential oils in our daily life, we also of course benefit from their active healing qualities - if we devote ourselves to their proper study, and utlize them wisely and creatively. Whether enjoyed through bathing, massage, or simply through smelling and inhaling, urban stress can be dissipated, anxiety subdued and vitality often restored.
About Gabriel Mojay
Gabriel Mojay is a qualified practitioner of aromatherapy, herbal medicine, acupuncture and shiatsu. He is Principal of the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), based at Regent's College, London.
In 1990 he founded the UK Register of Qualified Aromatherapists, which merged into the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) at its formation in 2002. One of IFPA's founding Co-Chairmen, he has served as Chair of both Conferences and Publications, and was Co-Editor of IFPA's professional journal In Essence. Gabriel has presented lecture papers at international conferences and seminars in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Canada and the USA.
He is co-author of Shiatsu: The Complete Guide and of Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. The main focus of his work has been on the application of Oriental diagnosis to clinical aromatherapy, including its integration with essential oil science.
My Aromatherapy Journey began with a life-altering experience with lavender essential oil. From this point my life changed and I began my exciting journey into the Aromatic World known as ‘Aromatherapy’. It may be a new concept to many, but it actually dates back to Neanderthal man. Aromatherapy is both an ancient art and a modern science, and its fascinating historical journey spans the ancient empires and dynasties of the world.
Throughout all cultures, our ancestors relied on plants for food, for health and for healing. Our Stone Age ancestors were the first to use plants for medicines, healing and religious or ritual worship. The Egyptians embalmed their dead with Frankincense and Myrrh. The Greeks are credited with inventing the art of distillation. The Romans used the aromatic essences also for pleasure. By AD 3, Rome had become the bathing capital of the world, with 1,000 bath houses. All bathers were “oiled” and massaged before bathing. The Arabians perfected the art of the distillation process, creating the most potent of essences.
In terms of modern application, we have all found out that at some time or another, our bodies reach a point of no return and say to us, in no uncertain terms, that they are distressed and tired. If we do not listen to the body‘s subtle messages, the messages will keep getting stronger and louder, until we are forced to take notice via a frozen shoulder, a pulled muscle, insomnia etc...
When we start to take the time to relax and truly listen to our bodies and ourselves, we are able to uncover the true source of our discomfort. Essential oils are the working tools of Aromatherapy. They are the subtle, volatile liquids that have been distilled from plants, blossoms, shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes, leaves and seeds. When you start to use essential oils you realize that they have the ability to support us on many different levels, both conscious/unconscious and physical/emotional. They assist us to relax and revitalize, while communicating a warm reassurance and a sense of self worth that creates an unbeatable atmosphere for the body’s own natural healing systems to heal themselves.
I believe that Aromatherapy is supportive and empowering – focusing on balance, wellness and the wholeness of us all. I invite you to enjoy your own fragrant journey...
About Christine Saunders
Founder and Honorary Principal of Asia-Pacific Aromatherapy Ltd.
Christine Saunders received her Diploma in Aromatherapy in 1994 and immediately began practising privately with clients in Hong Kong. Seeing a need for professional aromatherapy training in Asia, she began work in 1997 to set up a school to offer specialist and professional training in aromatherapy.
Christine has dedicated her life to sharing her passion for and knowledge of essential oils. As a therapist, her goal is to support her clients through the healing process. As an educator, her aim is to give students the foundation they need to become confident and competent practitioners.