Category Archives: essential oils

Providing Help for Children with Special Needs?

Earlier this year, the Autism Awareness site posted a social meme regarding the use of essential oils in the treatment of Autism put together by an independent EOs for autism YLdistributor of one of the larger multi-level essential oil companies.  As a Registered Clinical Aromatherapist and the mother of a son with Autism, I was very put off by the recommendations being shared virally as any essential oil regimen for Autism should be a properly educated one. I did share my concerns with the website, but received no reply.

While I am happy that the use of essential oils is becoming more commonplace, like others I have concerns about the advice being shared virally. I am profoundly disheartened by the apathy exhibited by many qualified practitioners who have become jaded by all the social debate over protocols shared by independent distributors online. We can’t give up! More and more I am being introduced to new essential oil protocols intended to treat children with intellectual disabilities and other comorbid neurological conditions.

This came before I learned from a colleague about a Pediatric Autoimmune Neurological Disorder Associated with Streptococcus bacteria (P.A.N.D.A.S. or P.A.N.S.) in which an child presents with motor tics and symptoms similar to Tourette’s Syndrome. She inquired as to what I knew about this disorder and treating it with essential oils. A new client came to see her regarding her three children afflicted with the disorder and an essential oil regimen she had been using to treat them. I was appalled by the copious amounts of essential oils ingested on a daily basis and the overuse of neat oils used topically in a manner similar to the Raindrop Technique employed by one of the larger essential oil distribution companies. In reading through the website connected to this regimen, there is nothing to indicate that any professional put together this “targeted” treatment, yet the family has set up the site to advise the parents of other children with the disorder. They provide consultation and instruction on where to purchase and how to use the essential oils. While I am pleased for the family that they have found some help for their own son, I shudder at the thought of their advice to others based on their experience as P.A.N.D.A.S. , as in autism, is not the same for every child.

I am a huge proponent in the use of natural means to support the treatments offered to those children with Autism and other comorbid disorders, however I am heartsick with the careless disregard for safety with some of the advice provided.  Parents of children with disabilities are already under tremendous stress and always looking for something…anything that can help their beloved child. My fear is that they have become prey for those looking to make a buck by “developing” these new and potentially harmful practices and offering hope to parents. As responsible practitioners, no matter how weary you have grown with the social media sharing, we are bound by the responsibility of our education to advise when we see a potential for harm, especially to a child.

On April 7th, a local news station in Central Florida reported that a mom received a letter from the principal of her son’s school in which the principal threatened to suspend her son because of the essential oils she uses to treat the behaviors associated with his autism. His mom uses three essential oils (unknown which oils and whether or not they were single oils or blends) on the back of his neck and behind his ears each morning before school.  While none of the students ever complained of the smells and no one had ever asked to be moved, she got a letter from the district stating that the odor from the oils has presented a problem in the environment for the other students and staff.  Add to this the age-old question “why is it okay to put chemical smells into the environment, but not natural ones?” By the next morning the news reported that the mother had won a battle with the Lake County School and the decision to suspend her child. District officials said they will work with the student’s family and school administrators to find a better solution, however the news report indicated that the administration was at a loss as to how to do this (http://www.clickorlando.com/news/mom-says-school-threatens-to-suspend-autistic-boy-over-essential-oils/32263998?utm_campaign=Live%20Well%20Learn%20Well&utm_content=14187170&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook). I was really struck by this report as a mom of an autistic child. While I am not condoning the current way she is using the essential oils on her son, I do support her choice of using the essential oils with him. After seeing this report and watching the news report, I contacted the superintendent of the school district where he goes to school, as well the news reporter to offer my support for safe and responsible uses that could be employed in the school. I didn’t expect much to come of it, but hoped that my letter would be well received and considered by the district. Today I received an email  from the superintendent to say that they were happy to receive my letter and will be in touch regarding the information I shared. We may not always be heard, but we have to try.

Every one of us has a family member or knows someone with a child with Autism of other (mental or physical) health concern. Please get involved to promote better safer practices.  Below are some of the suggestions I shared for essential oil use in the school.

Here are some suggestions for safe use as well as alternatives to keep the scent close to the child without affecting the other children in the room:

  • Twelve drops of an essential oil blend can be put into a 10 ml roller bottle with the bottle topped up with carrier oil.   The blend should be rolled onto the clavicle before school and again when returning home from school.  Also, it can be done one more time before bed to aid sleep.
  • The dilution should be 1.5% which is 15 drops in 50 ml of a carrier oil or unscented lotion for general topical use. A hand massage can be given at school with the scented lotion if there is a provision for that or it is in his IEP.
  • Personal inhaler.  Add 20 drops of the essential oil to the wick, then place in the tube. Push the cap tightly into the bottom and replace the cover and screw to close. To use: just inhale through the left nostril while holding the right one closed, then inhale through the right while closing the left, and repeat. The other students will not smell the essential oils. NOTE: Some schools require a doctor’s note for this.
  • Aromatic jewelry that looks like a wristwatch can be purchased very inexpensively from a company called Diffusing Mama’s (www.diffusingmamas.com). These have a simple band of black rubber the runs through the bottom of a hinged locket that is perforated.  There is a little wool wick inside.  Place 3-4 drops of essential oil on the wick, place it in the locket and close the cover. Inhale as needed for stress and anxiety.
  • Diffusing Mamas also makes necklaces (blue and black rubber with lockets with arrow heads and soccer balls).  This is better yet as it is under his nose and stays personal to the child.

Aromatic patches (Aromatic patches come in two types: transdermal and another that affixes to your clothing.):

  •  The transdermal patches are from a company called Naturopatch of Vermont. For a child, the patch can be cut in half.  Place 1/2 patch on the skin on the inside shoulder and dress as normal.  The essential oils are suspended in an olive oil base and the patch offers a slow release. When the child bathes in the evening, he can slowly peel it off and a new one can be put on the next morning. These are already impregnated with the essential oils and come in tins of 10 and individual use envelope packaging.
  • The other type of patch uses an extra step. You peel off the top layer foil to uncover the scent chamber, then peel off the covering of the adhesive side. Stick the adhesive side to a shirt collar and you are good to go.  These can be purchased at www.jodibaglien.com.  Jodi created these patches for hospital use and they are being used successfully in hospital systems and nursing homes throughout Minnesota.

Lora Cantele is a Registered Clinical Aromatherapist and the editor/publisher of the International Journal of Professional Aromatherapy, and co-author of The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils  Handbook for Everyday Wellness.

What is Swiss Reflex Therapy and How Can It Enhance My Practice?

smalll foot massageMy goal is to inspire you to take your practice to the next level by sharing with you how you can enhance your Aromatherapy practice with this useful tool and set yourself apart from other practitioners.  Massage and reflexology require the practitioner to undertake additional years of education and requires licensure. Swiss Reflex Therapy (SRT) can be learned in a weekend and can be performed within the exemption of massage laws.  In addition, SRT offers the practitioner a diagnostic tool to assess a client’s health needs, enhances the therapeutic relationship, provides a treatment, and encourages your client to be more proactive in their own care.

As an Aromatherapist, I felt as though I was a bit limited in my practice.  After graduation I hung out my “shingle” and was a little surprised that I didn’t have more people knocking on my door.  I was disappointed that potential clients would prefer to see a massage therapist than an Aromatherapist.  Perhaps it was because a client knew what to expect when making an appointment with a massage therapist.  Of course people really enjoy a massage and its healing touch.  I later noticed that massage therapists were popping up on every corner. In order to compete with each other, they had to somehow offer something different to set themselves apart, so they started offering “Aromatherapy massage” using essential oils in their massage oils and lotions.  This made it more difficult. Not only was the general public more familiar with what a massage therapist does they were now offering an Aromatherapy enhancement which made it harder to compete. Worse yet, many of the massage therapists possessed no training in safe and responsible use of these therapeutic essential oils.

Swiss Reflex Therapy (SRT) is the perfect enhancement specific to Aromatherapy practitioners by offering additional value to the therapeutic relationship between you and your client.  As Aromatherapists, we are not allowed to diagnose, treat or perform invasive procedures, unless we possess another license that allows for that. However, many practicing Aromatherapists use reflex points for diagnostic purposes.  Those who want to practice Reflexology as a treatment in its own right have to do further training, however Swiss Reflex Therapy (SRT) is an excellent alternative to the original practice of Reflexology.  SRT provides a means to assess, care for and encourage a client to take charge of their health and well being.  In the United States, many states have an exemption written into their massage laws that allows for the “manipulation of the soft tissues of the hands, feet and ears.”  This will allow a Swiss Reflex Therapist to practice SRT without securing an additional license in massage or reflexology.  Please check with your state’s Department of Health (Medical Practices Act) and/or massage licensing board to learn what your state’s requirements are.

I first learned about Swiss Reflex Therapy when I was on a course in France while studying with the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2004.  Our guest lecturers for the week were Len and Shirley Price. Swiss Reflex Therapy is a specialized technique developed by Shirley Price while she was in Switzerland in 1987.  During this course, Shirley presented a “taster” lecture and demo of SRT. Shirley, being a qualified reflexologist as well as Aromatherapist, wanted to develop a treatment using essential oils and massage that would benefit clients in a non-invasive way.  She wanted to find a way of helping people to help themselves, using the reflexes every day, which would be easy for people to do on themselves (or each other) and which, if done conscientiously every day, would give faster results (and be less costly) than a weekly reflexology treatment.  SRT is a specific reflex massage technique that treats each area or body system to bring about balance and the health of the client.  SRT has become a proven successful treatment that brings relief from stress, aches and pains and other common problems, including frozen shoulder and constipation.

A little history of me and SRT                                                                     After attending the “taster” lecture and demo in France, there were many of us on the course that wanted to learn SRT so we could incorporate it into our practice. Shirley and I stayed in touch after the course and I invited her to come to the US to teach the course to those who wanted to learn it after attending the in France, as well as open it up to other certified Aromatherapists who were interested in learning a new modality.  So she agreed and we held the course in Delaware in 2005.  After attending the practical course that weekend, the participants were required to perform SRT and submit case studies in which the clients are seen two to three times each.  Upon review of the case studies, the student may be become a Certified Swiss Reflex Therapist. Following that event, Shirley offered me a position with her daughter’s school in England (the Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy).  In accepting the position, I had to go through a process to become a board certified instructor by the Academy which included teaching SRT to their students. As it stands now, there are only three certified Swiss Reflex Therapists in the US and I am the only certified instructor in the US.

The Penny Price Academy and its former instructors offer training in Swiss Reflex Therapy.  SRT is practiced in the UK, Ireland and many parts of Europe and Asia, with more instructors teaching in other parts of the world.  Shirley Price first wrote about SRT in her book Practical Aromatherapy and later provided case studies in the editions of Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. She has a new book due out next summer on Swiss Reflex Therapy that contains more case studies and detailed information of the technique and how to perform it.

A word about Reflexology                                                                           Most people are familiar with reflexology. In our Western medical books, nine body systems are discussed and their function can be logically worked out and proven.In Eastern medicine, these systems have been used for hundreds of years to dia-gnose and treat the known body systems and their related organs. The ‘meridian lines system’ used in acupuncture and acu-pressure is one example and the ‘zones system’ in pressure point therapy or Reflexology is another. Reflexology is one of the few therapies that brings relief through remote application.

Reflexology is a speedy and accurate method of client assessment that provides treatment of disorders by natural means.  It is useful as a preventative for disease and can relax the whole body and mind making it invaluable as a release from stress, which is the underlying cause of 80% of all ‘dis-ease.

When pressure is applied to reflex points, this brings about relaxation and helps to normalize body conditions. These points are easiest to find in the feet, although they are also found in the hands and the ears. These reflex points can only indicate the probable organs where there may be some disorder – not what the disorder might be. Reflexology and SRT are not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment, however they can be extremely helpful and do not have any side effects when performed correctly.

Each organ and muscle in the body is connected, without crossing the spinal cord, by an energy pathway to a point in the foot (or hand, ear etc).  The most fascinating thing is that these reflex points come to the surface in exactly the same position in which they are found in the body, and are most easily located on the soles of the feet.

If you sit with your legs stretched out in front of you with your feet touching, you can imagine that the big toes are the head, the balls of the feet are the shoulders and down the centre of the inside foot is the spine.  The curve of each foot is comparable to the side view of a person’s back. Where the foot narrows correlates to the waist area thus, all organs found above the waist in the body are found above the waist of the foot.

If there is a malfunction for any reason in the blood circulation, which in turn affects the organs nearest to this malfunction, a blockage occurs in the energy pathway and crystalline deposits form at the reflex point representing the organ where the disorder is showing itself. These deposits can be felt when they are present. Equally they can be broken down by massage using the correct pressure to bring about relaxation and a relief from the symptoms being suffered.

The principle of good health is one of balance with all bodily systems behaving as nature intended, complementing one another to help the body to achieve and sustain good health. The human body, apart from its more mysterious attributes, like the ability to think, is an intricate machine in which the blood acts like oil; therefore it is of prime importance to the working of that machine that the blood circulation flows unimpeded throughout the body.  If there is congestion in the body, then circulation is poor. If the circulation is upset by tension or stress then illness can occur, as the organs do not receive enough blood. Each cell is contracting and relaxing every moment, and when distress occurs this cannot be as regulated as it should be.  This congestion can be felt in the feet when correct pressure is applied to the reflex points. In some cases is it felt as crystalline deposit (rather like a balloon filled with sand instead of air) and often times (as in the case of SRT) is felt as a sharp, knife-like pain.

So how does Swiss Reflex Therapy differ from Reflexology?   Generally speaking, the reflexologist will perhaps ask questions or have you fill out a questionnaire regarding your general state of health, diet and exercise. The same is true for Swiss Reflex Therapy. Following that the reflexologist will examine your feet and may ask further questions. The treatment begins with some general relaxation techniques, followed by a precise thumb and finger walking technique aimed at applying pressure to every reflex area on the top and bottom of the foot. Sometimes when you see a reflexologist the room is likely to be dimly light, perhaps with some soothing music and the client is laying on a massage table with eyes closed.  Once the initial consultation ends, the remainder of the session may be without any dialogue until the treatment is completed.

Swiss Reflex Therapy is done in three parts; Assessment, Treatment and Client Instruction.

As with Reflexology, SRT is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment.  In most cases, a client is likely to have already seen and been diagnosed by their personal physician.  Aromatherapists use the reflex points, together with a question and answer technique, to help them select the right essential oils to use with their client.  When the reflex points are used for this purpose, they are pressed only long enough to tell whether or not a disorder is present.

The session begins with some basic movements to relax the foot before the therapist begins to conduct an Assessment.  The client is sitting on a massage table with the feet right at the end of the table.  The therapist sits at the end of the table with the client’s face is full view. In the Assessment, the therapist will apply pressure using the tip of the thumb to determine if a blockage is present.  Any blockage is noted on the Reflex Card.  This can be felt by the client as anything from a strong discomfort to a sharp pain when the reflex is pressed. Throughout the assessment, the therapist engages the client in an affirmative dialogue based on what they feel and see in the client’s body language and feet.  For example, when pressing on the solar plexus reflex, if the client seems to “jump” off the table, the therapist may say “so you are dealing with a lot of stress at the moment.”  To which the client will confirm.  Alternatively, if pressing on the sinuses and there is no response from the client nor any blockage felt in the reflex, the therapist will say “so you are not suffering from any sinus condition or allergies at this time.” The client will confirm what the therapist is discovering and at the same time will offer additional information without being asked. The therapist assesses each body system, first on the client’s right foot, and then the left foot, moving back and forth between both feet until each body system has been assessed. (The number in parenthesis is the number of reflexes checked for each system or area.)

Reflex Areas in SRT

  • Nervous System (4)
  • Glandular System (10)
  • Sinus, Eye & Ear (14)
  • Bone & Muscular (16)
  • Respiratory System (2)
  • Digestive System (8)
  • Reproductive System (6)
  • Lymph (6)
  • Excretory System (6)

There is a great interactive map at: http://www.dk.co.uk/static/cs/uk/11/features/reflexology/footchart.html

Factoring in the dialogue with the client, the therapist will then determine the top three areas of concern for the client.

Using the “quick guide,” the therapist will determine which essential oils are best suited for the client’s needs. The “quick guide” is a list of essential oils found useful in treating a number of conditions within each body system.  Starting with the first condition, the therapist indicates the oils useful for that condition.  The same is done for the second, then the third.  Any oils that are repeated across the three lists are noted and the formula is developed based on how often an oil appears.  The essential oils are then blended and 30 drops are mixed into an one ounce of an unscented reflex cream base.

The Treatment is carried out by massaging the client’s cream into the affected reflexes. Rather than having pressure applied as in the Assessment, a very small amount of cream is used and massaged into the area using the side of the thumb.  The entire reflex area is massaged in slow circular motion with pressure until the area is no longer painful to the client (generally within 5-30 seconds). If it is still sensitive after one minute, the therapist will move on to the next reflex. The treatment always begins with the solar plexus reflex and ends with a kidney “flush” (which is a sweeping movement that clears the kidneys and moves anything you’ve shifted on its way out.) The treatment is carried out entirely on the client’s right foot, then on the left foot, not back and forth as in the Assessment, with the exception of treating the digestive system which moves back and forth between the feet to follow the flow of the digestive system.

The third part involves you teaching your client – or their caregiver – how to perform the massage on the affected reflexes.  I make a copy of the Reflex Card and I number the reflexes in the order in which they are to be treated.  I also draw a set of arrows over the reflexes as a reminder of how they should massage each reflex. Depending on how acute the condition is, I will have the client perform SRT on themselves once or twice a day.  We discuss when the best time of day is for them to do this as it has to fit into their lifestyle in order to assure client compliance.  In most cases it is before dressing in the morning and again just before bed.  Many remark that performing SRT before bedtime relaxes them and they sleep better. I normally have the client perform SRT once or twice daily for week and then have them come back for a follow-up to ensure they are doing it properly and to check their health progress.  In many cases, the condition has improved or is no longer and issue within a week or less.  You will often find that people are very good at complying for the first four days and then slack off a little as they begin to feel better.  For this reason, I often have them do it twice daily so they get off to a good start. For those who are unable to touch their feet or are suffering from a condition that makes them unable to perform the massage themselves, I will have them bring a caregiver and I will show the caregiver how to perform the massage.

You may be asking yourself how teaching someone to help themselves boosts your business.  I have found that over time, people tend to find it difficult to schedule weekly reflexology sessions or they become resentful of the cumulative costs associated with such care.  In educating your client and providing them a tool to be more proactive in their own health care is empowering!  In my practice and among those practicing SRT abroad, we have found that clients are very DIY and are also appreciative to be able to have the power put back in their hands for their health care.  The responsibility for healing is theirs and if they aren’t healing they tend to assume it is due to their lack of commitment or performance and not yours, which in many cases spurs them on to be more responsible with performing the massage and attending their follow-up visit.  Additionally, when they have achieved success, the next time they have a condition or concern they more likely to return to you to find out how to address it.

Often a client will continue to use the cream as a general foot cream before bed and call you for more when they run out.  So it is possible to continue providing products for that client as well.

Case Studies

Case Study: Plantar fasciitis                                                                     The client had Plantar fasciitis, a condition that that manifests as movement-related pain under the sole and heel of the foot.  It is a disorder of the insertion site of ligament on the bone and is characterized by scarring, inflammation, or structural breakdown of the foot’s plantar fascia. It is often caused by overuse injury of the plantar fascia, increased exercise, standing for long periods of time, weight or age. Though plantar fasciitis was originally thought to be an inflammatory process, newer studies have demonstrated structural changes more consistent with a degenerative process.  The pain can manifest from the lower back down the legs.

The client “R” is a sheep breeder and his symptoms occurred unfortunately during “lambing time” when he could not stop working.  He had been standing for long hours in cool and damp conditions.  The pain was not relieved by pain killers.

The client was normally very fit and leads a very active lifestyle.

The client received Swiss Reflex Therapy and a leg massage at the initial visit.  The heels of both feet were very painful to the touch. The client found it easier to get off the massage table at the end of the treatment, then to get on it.

The following essential oils were used in his treatment:

Clove bud for its pain relieving properties and warmth                                                      Juniper berry for pain relief and detoxification                                                              Sweet marjoram for pain, swollen joints, and warmth                                                    Rosemary for pain relief in muscles                                                                                          Ginger for sprains and relieving cramp

6 drops of each oil (30 drops total) were blended into one ounce of the reflex cream base for use in Swiss Reflex Treatment.

His wife was asked to continue massing his legs and performing SRT on his feet on a daily basis.

A massage oil was made for his wife to use containing 3 drops of each oil (15 drops total) blended into 50 ml Hypericum infused oil for leg massages at home.

He was advised to rest his legs as much as possible when not at work and to visit is general physician to confirm his condition. His GP did confirm this diagnosis and X-ray and physiotherapy appointments were made. His pain lessened within a couple of days and continued to abate.

At the second visit (1 week later), he received Swiss Reflex Therapy.  Although his heels were slightly tender, they were much less sensitive and he had been back to work for about four days. With his wife continuing daily treatments at home, his response to the treatment was such that he found he did not require a third visit/treatment.

The client was pleased with the outcome.  The therapist was surprised at how quickly he  responded to the treatment, as two professional treatments and the supplemental ones carried out by his wife were sufficient to relieve the problem.  The condition has not reoccurred and he did not experience any problems the following year during lambing time.

Six weeks after treatment he received notice of his initial physiotherapy appointment at the local hospital.  He took great pleasure in informing them that he would no longer require the appointment.

Case Study: Arthritis pain in the neck                                                         Mrs. “A,” 58 years old, was recovering from her second attempt at a hip replacement was to undergo an operation in six months time to fuse her cervical vertebrae due to the arthritis pain located there.  She was reluctant to have the surgery as her husband had recently passed and she needed to continue to be able to drive a car.  She had to wear a surgical collar in the meantime, which she hated.

At the first visit, Mrs. “A” received Swiss Reflex Therapy on her feet and was shown how to perform the treatment on herself at home.  The following oils were selected for use:

10 drops Rosemary for its anti-inflammatory action                                                            4 drops Sweet Marjoram,                                                                                                                8 drops Juniper berry, and                                                                                                              8 drops Lavender all for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic action

The essential oils were blended into one ounce of a bland cream to take home for self care.

At the second visit (2 weeks later), the therapist (Shirley Price) was disappointed that there was no improvement.  She discovered her client had been faithfully massaging the wrong reflex.  This experience indicated the importance of giving a client a marked Swiss Reflex card, illustrating exactly not only the sequence of the treatment, but also the reflex points to be massaged.

Two weeks later, Mrs. “A” was experiencing somewhat less pain and slight improvement in neck mobility.  The improvement continued over the next two weeks and at the fourth appointment Mrs. “A” arrived smiling and wearing a home-made collar of firm foam wrapped in a pretty scarf.

The client continued to check in every two weeks to ensure all was progressing. Six weeks after the fourth appointment, with no further clinic treatments she had her appointment with her surgeon prior to the operation. He was amazed at the change in her mobility and the lack of pain. He asked her what she had been doing and unfortunately she was too embarrassed to say she had been rubbing her big toe. As it was early in the history of complementary therapies in the UK, her reluctance was probably understandable.

Case Study:  Range of motion                                                                   The client, Frank had been in a mining accident 19 years earlier.  A beam had fallen on his shoulder and damaged it.  He suffered a broken rib which had pierced his lung.  So apart from being unable to move his arm away from his side, he walked by shuffling his feet 6″-7″  at a time, and was having breathing difficulties.

He had been seeing a doctor for the whole nineteen years following the accident and was becoming progressively worse, rather than better.  His wife had heard Shirley Price speaking on a radio program about Aromatherapy and contacted her about treatment for Frank.

He received Swiss Reflex Treatment twice a week for two weeks, followed by once per week for two further weeks, then one treatment every other week for a month, then once per month, and eventually once every two or three months. Some treatments at the clinic were carried out by Shirley herself and the others by Debbie Moore, another therapist.

The essential oils selected include:

Black Pepper and Juniper berry for their expectorant, antispasmodic and analgesic properties                                                                                                             Frankincense for its immunostimulant and expectorant properties                       Lavender for its antispasmodic, analgesic and general tonic properties

Frank’s wife was taught how to perform the daily treatment on the reflexes.  It was apparent that she never missed a day.  After six weeks, Frank could raise his arm about 10 cm. After another two months this was increased to 30 cm. His shoulders and head were halfway to being erect and his feet were able to take steps as long as his foot.

Six months later, not having seen him personally for three months, Shirley saw him leaving her clinic with his head erect and an almost normal, albeit slow step.  She went outside to see him.  When she walked up to him, he proudly showed her he could lift his arm almost to shoulder height and was looking forward to the day he could comb his own hair.  With continued SRT he was able to achieve that.

How do I get trained?                                                                               Swiss Reflex training is available to certified Aromatherapists trained at (a minimum) 200 hour course in Aromatherapy.  It is a 2-day course taught typically over a weekend.  The course reviews the history, some case studies and provides detailed instruction.  The students work on each other and models that have been brought in.  There is a review and practical assessment at the end of the course. After completion of the course the students are required to do a minimum of five case studies in which the client has been seen at least two to three times (depending on the severity and progress of the client’s condition.) The case studies are required with a few months of taking the course.  Upon successful completion the student receives a certificate and becomes certified practitioner.

I would love to see more Aromatherapists incorporating SRT into their practice. The treatment is simpler to learn than the techniques involved in reflexology. It is important to know the position of each reflex and attending a practical course.

In summary                                                                                                 When a client comes to see you they are looking for a more immediate sense of well-being.  The use of essential oils often isn’t the magic bullet they are seeking.  It is a slower road to wellness or recovery, and one that usually elicits failure in client compliance.  The “touch” component in SRT offers an immediate sense of comfort and healing.  Connecting with the therapist through verbal dialog is more effective than filling out a form with medical history and a list of chief complaints.  Of course you still want your client to provide you with this information and to have an informed consent form on file, but wouldn’t it be great if you were able to elicit more information than what they quickly wrote on a form?  And what about those clients who came to you without seeing their doctor for a confirmed diagnosis first.  How would you begin to learn what they truly need?

Swiss Reflex Therapy offers you, the Aromatherapist, an opportunity to assess your clients needs and get to the “root cause” of their dis-ease.  As you move your way through the reflexes in the feet, you engage your client in this “affirmative” dialog that often elicits more information.  The process of selecting the oils is simplified and helps you to discover the most effective oils for your blend.  Engaging the client to “tweak” the aroma ensures client compliance.  Performing the SRT massage on the affected reflexes provides the immediate comfort touch your client seeks and begins the healing process right away.  The best part is when you empower your client by showing them how to perform the massage for themselves on the affected reflexes.  Complete healing for many conditions often occurs within just a few days!  It is easy for them to perform and they can feel themselves improving.  The associated aroma brings them back to your office and the holds them in a “healing space” and your nurturing and care.

Swiss Reflex Therapy is a wonderful enhancement to your Aromatherapy practice, as it provides additional value to your client and gives you an opportunity to better serve your client’s needs.

For those in the US, I will be offering this course throughout 2015. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at: lora.cantele@gmail.com.

This information was presented at the Alliance of International Aromatherapists Educational Teleconference Presentation on October 15, 2014.

The case studies shared originally appeared in Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 3rd and 4th eds.

Lora Cantele is a Registered Clinical Aromatherapist and Certified Swiss Reflex Therapist and Educator.  She is the editor/publisher of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (www.ijpha.com), a featured writer for Aromatherapy Thymes Magazine, and the co-author of The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness (Robert Rose Books, Canada).

To see a treatment being provided visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywE6aA4ul4w

 

How to Experience the Ultimate Aromatic Bath (Plus Recipes!)

This post first appeared on the blog of the American College of Healthcare Sciences on January 13, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

For those of us who reside in chillier climates, there’s nothing better than slipping into a soothing hot bath to soak away the winter doldrums. But if you haven’t tried adding essential oils to your bath time routine, you’re missing out!

Essential oils are extremely effective when added to bath water—they’ll work wonders on your skin, and you’ll feel radiant inside and out. And you don’t need to trek to the spa to have a rejuvenating, relaxing bath. Here are a few simple ways you can create the ultimate aromatic bath experience right in your own home:

How to Draw Your Aromatic Bath with Essential Oils 

Essential oils can be blended with your favorite base oil and then added to the bath. Or you can learn how to make fizzing herbal bath bombs with essential oils. But if lack of time is a factor in your life, you can add essential oils directly to the bath water.

  • Run the bath water first.
  • While your tub is filling, prepare all you need for a relaxing and comfortable bath. Set up your music, a few cushy towels, a head pillow or folded towel, your favorite cup of herbal tea, candles, and (especially for the parents out there) a “do not disturb” sign for your door.
  • Once your tub is full, turn the water off, and add your essential oils.
  • Swirl the oils around in the bath with your hands or feet to ensure dispersion.
  • Enter the bath and soak for around 10 minutes.

For a stress relief-booster, add one cup of Epsom salts. These magnesium sulfate salts mix well with essential oils and water and the extra magnesium gives the added benefit of a deeper, more relaxed sleep.

While you soak, be sure to take advantage of this “me” time. Meditate. Practice gentle stretches. Or simply shut your eyes, inhale the enchanting aromas, enjoy the warmth, and be fully present in a moment of peace.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a full bath in your home—a hand or footbath can be an excellent alternative.

Safety Tips for Bathing with Essential Oils

It can be tempting to want to add more than the recommended daily dose (RDD) or stated dose in the formula, but you must resist—a little bit of essential oil goes a long way. Remember that essential oils should never irritate or burn the skin, and if you have skin sensitivities, be sure to do a skin patch test before adding them to the bath.

Also, the heat and the water of the bath can enhance absorption, so it’s important to be cautious and use less than you think you need. If you absolutely need to add more, add one drop at a time every five minutes.

You may experience slight tingling with essential oils that contain menthol, such as peppermint Mentha ×piperita (L.), but this disappears quickly once you’re out of the bath and dry. The activity of citrus oils in particular can intensify on the skin when mixed with hot bath water, so always remember to use only the stated amount in the formula.

It’s Bath Time!

Now that you know how to draw the perfect aromatic bath, here are two delightful essential oil blends you’ll have to try this winter:

Stimulating Aromatic Bath

Stimulating Morning Bath

  • Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil: 5 drops
  • Peppermint Mentha ×piperita essential oil: 2 drops

Once your tub is full, turn the water off, and add your essential oils. Swirl the oils around in the bath with your hands or feet to ensure dispersion. Enter the bath and soak for around 10 minutes. Inhale deeply and enjoy the invigorating aromas.

Aromatic Bath Recipe

Calm and Restore Bath

  • Geranium Pelargonium graveolens essential oil: 4 drops
  • Basil Ocimum basilicum essential oil: 2 drops

Once your tub is full, turn the water off, and add your essential oils. Swirl the oils around in the bath with your hands or feet to ensure dispersion. Enter the bath and soak for around 10 minutes. Inhale deeply and enjoy the soothing aromas.

You can find all of these oils in one easy >>Aromatic Bath Kit at the Apothecary Shoppe store here.

Aromatic Bath Kit

What essential oils will you choose for your ultimate aromatic bath? I’d love to know in the comments.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

Dorene Petersen is the Founder, President, CEO, and Principal of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). She has over 35 years clinical teaching and lecturing experience in aromatherapy and other holistic health subjects. She has presented papers on essential oils and clinical aromatherapy at the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades Annual Conference (IFEAT) in California, USA; the Aroma Environment Association of Japan (AEAJ) in Tokyo, Japan; the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress (AAIC) and Expo in Bali, Indonesia; the International Center of Advanced Aromatherapy (ICAA) at the WonGwang Digital University in Seoul, Korea; as well as the AAIC Expo in Kunming, Yunnan, China. Dorene currently serves as Chair of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), and she is also active with the Distance Education Training Council (DETC). Dorene is a travel junkie, and she hopes you will join her for the ACHS Study Abroad Program in Indonesia and India in 2015!

Check out the American College of Healthcare Sciences at http://www.achs.edu

http://info.achs.edu/blog/how-to-experience-the-ultimate-aromatic-bath-plus-recipes

Use all health care options available

rosemary-essential-oil-5When we think of health care, we usually think of traditional medical care that involves the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illness, cancer, etc., which many people refer to as “Western medicine.”

In addition to the type of medical care we have all grown up with, there are several other approaches to health care that are known as “complementary” and “alternative.” Other areas of nontraditional health care include “integrative medicine” as well as “functional medicine.” So, what do all these terms mean and why should we think about using these types of health care?

In general, these are different approaches to health care with a history of use and origins outside of mainstream medicine; and although the term CAM uses the words complementary and alternative together and often interchangeably, these two words refer to somewhat different concepts of health care.

“Complementary” refers to using non-mainstream health care together with traditional or conventional medical care. The term “alternative” refers to using non-mainstream health care in place of traditional health care.

Another term we hear is “integrative medicine.” Think of the use of massage therapy or guided imagery. These are ways of treating a person using nontraditional means to help them heal. They integrate traditional medical care with alternative therapies. As an example, some cancer treatment centers use integrative health care programs which offer acupuncture or meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects of the cancer along with its traditional treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.).

It is interesting to see that “integrative health care” is happening now and is a growing trend among people who understand the benefits. For these individuals it is important to utilize any and all means of health care that will help them treat their illness or, in the case when a person does not have a defined illness, simply stay healthy. The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) uses the term “complementary health approaches” when discussing natural products or, mind and body health care practices.

“Natural” products include herbs and botanicals, vitamins, minerals and probiotics which are often marketed as dietary supplements. Evidence shows that the value of these alternative products is significantly underestimated. When you look at the research and the scientific evidence for the use of botanicals (herbs and plants) for the treatment and prevention of illness and disease, the evidence is overwhelming. There are hundreds if not thousands of research reports that support the use of natural products for treatment and prevention. Examples include fish oil, echinacea, and mineral supplements. It is interesting to remember that penicillin comes from a fungus; and digoxin, a heart medication, comes from the foxglove plant. When we talk about using anti-oxidants to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, we need to understand that most of these come from plants.

NCCAM also includes “mind and body practices” as other forms of alternative health care. These include acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, relaxation techniques, spinal manipulation, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractic therapies, tai chi, yoga, hypnotherapy, to name a few. NCCAM is the government’s lead agency for scientific research on health care practices outside of mainstream medicine. Its mission is to define through scientific investigation the usefulness and safety of complementary health care approaches and to understand their roles in improving health. This scientific evidence will help people make informed decisions about their health care. More information about this organization can be found at nccam.nih.gov/about/ataglance.

Another area of complementary medicine is called “functional medicine,” which focuses on alternative treatments emphasizing the interaction between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine and immune systems. Knowing the function of these systems within the body helps to understand the approach of functional medicine. The gastrointestinal (GI) system is the first line of defense the body has to bacteria, viruses, toxins, chemical, and other potentially harmful substances. Maintaining a healthy GI tract is necessary if we are going to be able to ward off these invaders. The endocrine system is the chemical system of the body which contains and controls the hundreds of hormones that keep us healthy. Knowing that there are so many environmental, health and life factors that affect our hormones is a no-brainer to understand why it is so important to keep this system healthy. The immune system allows us to fight infections and probably also helps us to deal with cancer cells and other illnesses.

Keeping the body functional should be one of the most important goals for health care. How do you do this? The answer to this is what I like to refer to as lifestyle management. This is a daily approach to life that allows you to maintain good health:

• a functional GI, endocrine and immune system;

• a sound and productive brain;

• a musculoskeletal system that allows you to move around and do all the physical things you want to do every day;

• a social and spiritual personality that brings you happiness and fulfillment and enables you to give back, pay it forward and to be grateful for all the blessings you have.

I can tell you from personal and professional experience that one of the most rewarding things you can do is to practice lifestyle management. I do this in my medical practice and in my personal life. It is so enjoyable to see a person take control of their health by taking control of their life. When they realize the power they have over their health, and all the benefits they get from keeping good health practices as the No. 1 priority in life, it is amazing to see what a person can accomplish and what a wonderful life they can enjoy!

Functional medicine is practiced by many physicians who find it important to not only treat a person’s illness but also to prevent illness, disease and disability. The American Board of Functional Medicine (ABFM) is an independent organization that certifies physicians who practice functional medicine.

I believe in and have practiced traditional medical care as a board certified internist for 20 years so I can attest to the significant benefits of this approach. With the addition of complementary health care products and services, we add another dimension to our health care and make available many other prevention and treatment approaches. Therefore, the recommendation would be to continue to rely on traditional medical/health care and add on complementary products, services and treatment approaches as necessary. This will enable you to take full advantage of all that is offered from Western and Eastern philosophies.

Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina is vice president of health and wellness for Lee Memorial Health System. Dr.Sal@Leememorial.org

This was first published July 17, 2014 by new-press.com and is republished here with the author’s permission.

The Aroma of Choice: Health Freedom and Aromatherapy

woman inhaling

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Dorene Petersen, BA, Dip.NT, Dip.Acu, RH (AHG)                                                     President, American College of Healthcare Sciences

This article first appeared in the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, Edition Summer 2014 and has been revised for publication here on the IJPHA Blog.

Some of my favorite summertime activities in the States are gathering with friends and family for picnics and parties on the patio, at the park, or at the beach—especially on the Fourth of July. Even though I’m originally from New Zealand, there’s something about this celebration of freedom that fills me with hope and excitement for all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

We’ve worked hard to build a society for ourselves where we are not discriminated against, where we can speak and write freely, and when we feel things need to change, we have the right to petition our law-makers. Yet, change is a process that takes time, particularly in the holistic health industry. Citizens seeking more natural approaches to healthcare have long had restricted access to services from natural medicine practitioners, such as Registered Aromatherapists (RA).

Aromatherapy and the Law                                                                        In many states, a practitioner can be criminally charged with practicing medicine without a license for offering alternative therapies such as herbal medicine, homeopathy,[1] and aromatherapy. This is also the root issue that spawned the “Health Freedom” movement, which supports patients’ rights to access alternative treatments and health practitioners of their choosing.

So what does this mean for aromatherapists? While the Aromatherapy Registration Council[2] (ARC) offers registration through an extensive exam ensuring RAs have demonstrated a core body of knowledge and commitment to safety standards and ethics, the ARC makes it clear that, legally, “it is important to realize that the ARC Aromatherapy Registration Exam and the ARC Registration in no way constitutes a license to practice medicine, diagnose, or treat patients.”[3]

California law provides a useful example of this type of restriction: “The unlawful practice of medicine is defined as: ‘Any person who practices or attempts to practice, or who advertises or holds him or herself out as practicing, any system or mode of treating the sick or afflicted in this state, or who diagnoses, treats, operates for, or prescribes for any ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or other physical or mental condition of any person…’ CA Stat. Sec. 2052.”[4] Considering the many uses and therapeutic service benefits of essential oils, the wording above makes providing a therapeutic aromatherapy consultancy fraught with pitfalls in the state of California, even as a Registered Aromatherapist through the ARC.

However, positive change is on the horizon. The National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC) is an organization formed with the purpose of promoting and advocating for Health Freedom laws across the United States. As of 2013, there are nine states that have Health Freedom laws, including Arizona, Minnesota, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Idaho, and New Mexico. Because legislation varies from state to state, RAs should be vigilantly aware of and compliant with relevant legislation and reform within the state where they practice. The NHFC maintains a listing of the state advocacy groups which can be accessed through their website.[5]

Safe Harbor and Health Freedom Laws: How Do They Affect Aromatherapists?                                                                                   Health Freedom and safe harbor laws mean greater opportunity for Registered Aromatherapists to practice ethically without fear of violating the rigid and over-arching definitions of “practicing medicine without a license.” The legal structure of a safe harbor bill or law can allow non-licensed practitioners to legally operate, as long as they comply with the provisions stated within the safe harbor law.

For example, in 2009, New Mexico passed the safe harbor law, “Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act,” which specifically places aromatherapy under the definition of “‘complementary and alternative health care service’ [defined as] the broad domain of complementary and alternative healing methods and treatments.”[6]

This means that an aromatherapist is protected from being in violation of New Mexico medical licensing laws as long as (s)he complies with the provisions listed within the act. Section 3 states:

A complementary and alternative health care practitioner who is not licensed, certified or registered in New Mexico as a health care practitioner shall not be in violation of any licensing law relating to health care services pursuant to Chapter 61 NMSA 1978 unless that individual: A. engages in any activity prohibited in Section 4 of the Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act; or B. fails to fulfill the duties set forth in Section 5 of the Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act.[7]

One important provision to note in Section 5 of the New Mexico “Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act” is the requirement for the aromatherapist to supply an “informational document” to the patient or client. This is more commonly known as an “informed consent” document. This is a common provision within many safe harbor bills in the U.S., including Louisiana,[8] Minnesota[9] (which also specifically refers to aromatherapy), Rhode Island,[10] and California.[11] This document can be labeled differently in different states—you may see it called something like a “client bill of rights” or “disclosure.”

Under New Mexico law, the informational document notifies the patient or client:

  • of the nature and expected results of the aromatherapy services to be provided
  • that the aromatherapist is not a healthcare practitioner licensed by the state of New Mexico
  • of the aromatherapists’s degrees, education, training, experience, or other qualifications regarding aromatherapy
  • of many other details surrounding the aromatherapist’s background as well as the patient’s rights to honesty and privacy[12]

Some of these states require this “bill of rights” to be visibly posted within the aromatherapist’s office as well as an individual hard copy document.

While this type of requirement varies state to state, many Registered Aromatherapists find it useful to provide an informed consent document regardless of the law. The New Mexico Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Project LLC. (NMCAAMP) has a useful checklist for creating this informational document for New Mexico practitioners, which can be found on their website[13]: www.nmcaamp.org.

While a great number of states are still without Health Freedom laws, many holistic health advocates are campaigning for safe harbor bills. Melissa Toye, an ACHS graduate and owner of the natural products company Midwest Herbs and Oils, is currently advocating for a safe harbor bill in Missouri.[14]

States Without Health Freedom Laws                                                     It’s extremely encouraging to see our industry progressing. However, even though our society and the allopathic medical community are becoming more comfortable with the idea of alternative modalities like aromatherapy, there are still many states without Health Freedom laws.

As with any healthcare practice, it’s essential that a Registered Aromatherapist be highly informed about the laws of his or her state in order to legally practice aromatherapy in a state without a safe harbor law. Legislation varies from state to state, and I would highly encourage all aromatherapists to visit their state’s legislative website and review the laws relating to healthcare and practicing medicine. But I would also like to offer a few basic guidelines and key functions—the do’s and don’ts—of a Registered Aromatherapist.

Let’s start by discussing what an aromatherapist does not do:

  • Diagnose disease: An aromatherapist is free to evaluate a client and determine possible causes of imbalance, but he or she cannot diagnose disease, and should always refer clients back to their primary care physician for a diagnosis when necessary.
  • Treat disease: As with diagnostics, the aromatherapist does not focus on disease, but rather shares helpful information with clients, empowering them to take control of their own health and wellness.
  • Prescribe drugs or pharmaceuticals: An aromatherapist offers education surrounding essential oils, herbs, natural remedies, and holistic nutrition.
  • Perform invasive procedures or touch therapies without licensing: Registration through ARC does not license an aromatherapist to perform touch therapies such as reflexology, chiropractics, or massage. However, if an aromatherapist is also a licensed chiropractor or massage therapist, the modalities can be used in tandem with one another if it is within the scope of practice of the profession.

There are still many ways an aromatherapist can be a helpful and useful holistic health practitioner without resorting to the “don’ts” listed above. An aromatherapist does…

  • Understand good health and recognizes that it requires a holistic approach, including fresh water, physical activity, fresh air and sun, plenty of rest, and a focus on proper nutrition.
  • Share knowledge about achieving and maintaining health and wellness regularly with essential oils, homeopathics, herbs, and other natural modalities.
  • Evaluate each client with a holistic approach, recognizing that daily nutrition, the environment, and lifestyle choices have a large impact on health and wellness.
  • Empower their client to achieve improved health by addressing any imbalances caused by poor sleep quality, imbalanced nutrition, and any other negative lifestyle habits.
  • Recognize when allopathic healthcare is needed, and is always prepared to refer a client to their primary care physician for diagnosis and/or treatment.

Ambassadors for Aromatherapy and Natural Medicine                        While the Health Freedom movement is growing and legislation is changing, aromatherapists have an obligation to uphold the highest standards and ethics to maintain integrity within our industry.

This requires vigilance when working with essential oils for clinical use. It’s important, for example, that an essential oil is not labeled to imply that it’s intended for use in the diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and intended to affect the structure or any function of the body. This type of claim categorizes the oil as a drug, and all “new drugs” require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, for example, as an aromatherapist you cannot say, “This oil is supportive for cholesterol.” Though the statement does not include the word “treat,” it implies cholesterol is high.

Registered Aromatherapists should always choose the highest quality of pure, unadulterated essential oils. This requires a thorough knowledge of sourcing, production, distillation, and labeling. There are many unregulated and misleading terms when it comes to essential oils such as: “spray free,” “all natural,” “therapeutic grade,” and “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®.” These are unregulated marketing terms, and in no way mean the oils are truly pure, organic, or unadulterated, and often lead consumers to falsely believe that they are superior to Certified Organic essential oils.

We are ambassadors for the practice of aromatherapy. With all of these exciting changes, it’s ever more important to maintain the upmost integrity when practicing aromatherapy. I often find it helpful to re-read the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s Code of Ethics[15], the AIA Code of Ethics[16], the AIA Standards of Practice[17], and the ARC Disciplinary Policy[18].

I am encouraged by the progress we have made in our efforts to make aromatherapy and other natural modalities more readily available and accepted. The road to Health Freedom is long, but I couldn’t be more excited to be part of such a courageous and inspiring community of healthcare practitioners.

Dorene Petersen is President and Founder of the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She holds a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Otago University, New Zealand, is a NZ trained Naturopath and ran a busy clinic in NZ specializing in aromatherapy and herbal medicine. She is also a certified acupuncturist with specialized training in Chinese herbal medicine and moxibustion. Dorene serves as Chair of the Aromatherapy Registration Council and is a member of the Research and Educational Standards Subcommittee of the Distance Education Training Council. In addition to her work as President of the College, Dorene also teaches courses for ACHS and leads the annual ACHS study-abroad program to Indonesia and other locations, which explore holistic health, traditional herbal healing, aromatherapy, and essential oil distillation and production, among other topics.

*This article originally appeared in the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal Summer 2014.2: http://www.naha.org/bookstore/nahas-aromatherapy-journal-summer-2014.2

[1] National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC). (2012). Mission and Case Statement. Retrieved from http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/aboutNHFC/mission_statement.html

[2] You can learn more about this organization on their website at http://aromatherapycouncil.org/

[3] Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC). (2011). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from http://aromatherapycouncil.org/?page_id=75

[4] National Health Freedom Coalition. (2012). Mission and Case Statement. Retrieved from http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/aboutNHFC/mission_statement.html

[5] You can learn more about the National Health Freedom Coalition at: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org

[6] Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act HHGAC/HB 664 Retrieved from The National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC), Health Freedom Laws Passed: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/documents/NewMexicoHB0664_2009.pdf

[7] Ibid.

[8] 2005 Louisiana Revised Statutes 20-37 VI-B. Retrieved from Louisiana State Legislature: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=321645

[9] Chapter 146A. Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practices. Retrieved from 2013 Minnesota Statues: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=146A

[10] Relating to Health and Safety – Unlicensed Health Care Practices. Retrieved from State of Rhode Island General Assembly: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText02/HouseText02/H6719a.pdf

[11] 2001 California SB577 – California Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners. Retrieved from legalinfo.ca.gov: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/sen/sb_0551-0600/sb_577_bill_20020923_chaptered.html

[12] Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act HHGAC/HB 664 Retrieved from The National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC), Health Freedom Laws Passed: http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/documents/NewMexicoHB0664_2009.pdf

[13] New Mexico Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Project LLC (NMCAAMP) Check list for creating the ‘Patient Information Document’ Retrieved from http://www.nmcaamp.org/downloads/6_PatientInfoChecklist20090619a.pdf

[14] Oberholtz, C. & Rittman, E. (2014, February 20). KCTV5. Missouri woman seeks bill to support alternative medicine. Retrieved from http://www.kctv5.com/story/24767135/missouri-woman-seeks-bill-to-support-alternative-medicine

[15] National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). (2014). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.naha.org/membership/code-of-ethics/

[16] Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA). (2014). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/aromatherapy/code-of-ethics/

[17]Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC). (2014). About. Retrieved from http://aromatherapycouncil.org/?page_id=195

[18] Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC). (2014). About. Retrieved from http://aromatherapycouncil.org/docs/ARC_DISCIPLINARY_POLICY2004.pdf

The Rose Harvest and Aromatherapy Bulgaria May 21-28, 2014

rose fest3Most of the rose oil – Rosa damascena produced in the world comes from the Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria. On this unique tour you will enjoy the excitements of the Rose Festival,
take part in the rose harvest, see the rose distillation process and more importantly buy the freshest rose otto oils and related products at anufacturer price.

The superb qualities of Bulgaria’s variety of grapes are also famous to the world. Wine production in Bulgaria goes back to the ancient times and Thracian’s wines are well-known of their delicious tastes. Wine degustation is another highlight of this tour.

Beautiful Bulgaria has a traditional rural heart containing medieval cities and exquisitely preserved towns, providing a window onto a Europe that has all but vanished. Beside roses and wines, you will visit the beautiful medieval city of Plovdiv with its romantic old town and the capital city of Sofia; visit the most magnificent Thracian tombs in Europe; experience an eco-trek walk and the traditional village living.

rose fest2

Day 1 Arrive in Sofia and head onto the village of Kalofer and transfer to Cucovata House. In the evening, hear a talk on “The History of the Rosa Damascena” and enjoy a welcome dinner at the house with traditional home cooked food.
Day 2 Rise early to join the rose harvest in the rose fields.Afterwards, a workshop on Bulgarian oils and in the afternoon you will join a workshop with Nikolay to prepare rose jam and rose syrup. Dinner with live music.
Day 3 Join local guide Nikolay for a full day hike along the Biala Reka eco-path, examining local flowers and herbs on the way with a picnic lunch en route. It is powerful experience to feel frothy river in canyons and see all those waterfalls. There up on mountains is special floora and fauna with flowers, butterflies and birds.  This specialist walk received the Conde Nast Traveller Award for best eco-destination in the world in 2005.Later, visit the men’s monastery and hear a liturgy.
Day 4 Plovdiv -city tour. It is declared an architectural museum reserve with over 150 monuments of culture – houses from the National Revival period. Its magnificent houses are turned into museums, galleries, workshops, restaurants. There are also parlors and studios of painters and wood-carvers. Families from Plovdiv own many of those houses. The most distinguished examples of the Baroque of Plovdiv are the house of Koiumjioglu (now an ethnographical museum), the house of Georgiadi (now the Rennaissance museum of the national struggle), the house of Nedkovich (the municipality), the gallery of the renowned Bulgarian painter Zlatyo Boyajiev, the house of Balabanov (now a gallery of modern painting, as well as a concert hall). UNESCO awarded Plovdiv a gold medal for architecture in 1979.
In the afternoon we visit “Starossel Winery. In Bulgaria there are idealistic conditions for wine cultivation and already wines of Thrace were world famous in ancient times. Near by on a mountain is Sacred Dionysos Temple (it is found year 2000) and it is located near Starossel village. We are in very heart at the feet of wine art.
Day 5 Spend the following morning at the Rose Festival in the nearby village, watching locals
dressed in colourful traditional costumes performing live music and folk dances, and the Rose Queen Parade. In the afternoon, drive to Tarnichene and visit its active rose distillery, the Enio BonchevDistillery, where you will learn first-hand about the painstaking process used for harvesting and producing this precious substance, and the use of rose oil in a variety of products from oils to rose jam and rosewater. In the evening, enjoy dinner back at Cucovata House.
Day 6 Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Thracian Tombs at Kazanluk, which are famous for their unique mural paintings, as well as the newly opened Thracian Tombs of Golamo Kozmitska. In the afternoon, visit the Church of St Nikolay. Near by is in Gomi Dubnik village high on the mountains memorial of Balkan Peninsula war (1877 – 1878). There were also Finnish soldiers championed to free Bulgaria over 500 years occupation Turkish regime. There is still well known song from these times and both Finnish and Bulgarian people know it.
Day 7 Spend the next day in Kalofer, starting with a visit to the traditional laundry. Visit the Women’s monastery, the 200year old mill and the Church of the Archangel Mikhail., before a Farewell Dinner at Cucovata House.
Day 8 Next morning, drive to Sofia for your flight

rose fest1

The cost of the tour  is 720 Euro per person (except flights)
The cost includes:
• The services of a tour leader In Bulgaria the cost includes:
• 7 nights’ accommodation in twin or double-bedded rooms with private facilities at the Cucovata House

The single room supplement is 100 eur.
• Breakfast daily
• Dinner Daily
• Lunches on days 5 and 7
• A full programme of talks (CPD granted by IFPA)
• A full programme of visits as per the itinerary
• Admission fees where applicable
• Full-time National Guide
• All transport on the tour excluding flights
The cost excludes:
• Flights and taxes.
• Meals not mentioned
• All personal extras such as tips, porterage, laundry,
inoculation fees and drinks
• All optional excursions, tours and visits
• Travel insurance

Please note, all itineraries are subject to change
according to local conditions. Due to the nature of the
tour places are limited to 25.

If you want to hear more please contact Anita at essentiallyholistic@gmail.com.

If you would like to join the Rose Tour in 2014 for your own Bulgarian adventure contact:

Susan Hagan    E-mail:  su.hagan@hotmail.co.uk                                                                    Tel: 00359(0)895195318 (Bulgarian Mobile)                                                                       00359 6128263 (Bulgarian Landline)

Product Review: LabAroma

AnalysingTheBlends_homeWhen I heard about LabAroma I couldn’t resist the temptation take a look at the website. Being a bit of a closet techie it looked like something that would be fun to use and valuable for anyone doing lots of blending. The website is wonderfully simple in layout and easy to navigate. There is a short video and lots of information explaining all about LabAroma and how it works. An opportunity arose for me to try it so I jumped at the chance and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Armed with loads of questions, I made a start! The programme continues the clean and clear layout on the front page of the website. I managed to work out how to use the blending tools without reading the instructions. It is simple and intuitive, but for the complete technophobe there are easy to follow instructions. The video tutorial is now available for anyone who prefers to see it done.  I tried the programme on various tech—laptop, notebook, tablet and my Blackberry—and it adjusted to the screen size for each and worked well across all the platforms. I didn’t try it on an Apple device but would expect it to work the same. 

The process to formulate a blend is simple – you select the essential oil from the palette and drag it across to the ‘My Blend’ section. You can add as many as you want. If you’re going for a really complicated blend you can add limitless essential oils. Next comes the slightly tricky bit! You then add the percentage required for each essential oil in the blend.  I did ponder if a ratio option could be added here or a calculator using drops for people who don’t like percentages or fractions. When you’re happy with your percentages, click “calculate” and it works it out for you. There are options to start again or add more if you’re not happy with the blend. 

The blend you have created is displayed as a pie chart with the chemical breakdown listed. This can be saved as a .pdf, printed or added to the ‘My Blends’ area. I loved this option as it means I could have gas chromatigraph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) data sheets for the blends that I supply as part of my schools’ work. I could also play around with the percentages to see if I could create a more effective blend. On the LabAroma+ option the Safety data/warnings about the blend are displayed for various countries: EU, Australia, USA and Japan. This option, although quite a bit more expensive would be invaluable to anyone making products for the retail market. There is also an effect section which lists in descending order the body systems that the blend would be effective in treating. This would be great when blending for more than one condition.

There is an option to add your own oils if you have the GC/MS breakdown. If the components aren’t currently listed you can request for it to be added. I learned they would be adding and updating the oils on a regular basis. Be aware that when selecting the essential oils you can only see the common names. I missed Cistus on the first look through as it is listed as Rock Rose. This isn’t a great problem and it would probably complicate the clean buttons for each oil. You can select each oil button and get a GC/MS data reading. The profiles for the individual oils are still to be added at the time of writing this review.

Another feature is the search by component feature. You can carry out a search by setting up a less or greater than percentage field for a component. You can specify more than one component which gives really precise results. There’s also a blog on the website and an option to sign up for the newsletter.

When I had finished my trial I had answered all of my initial questions. Although the initial purchase may seem a bit expensive, I can see that it would save lots of time and become an invaluable tool for any practitioner who does a lot of blending. I wish it had been around when I had trained; I will be recommending it to my students. It is simple to use, and gives results that are easy to view and utilise without you getting bogged down with loads of tech or research. From me it gets a thumbs up!

Enter to win a free 1 year subscription to LabAroma!                                                   The competition ends January 31, 2014. Send a brief (140 Character) of your favorite essential oil and a description of why you love it and what you use it for to aroma@labaroma.com. The profile descriptions will feature in LabAroma and be credited to the contributor. Each profile description given will enter the contributor into a drawing to win a years subscription to LabAroma. Enter as often as you like!  www.labaroma.com

This review was written by UK Aromatherapist Anita James and appears in the Spring Issue of the IJPHA (Vol. 2, Issue 4). www.ijpha.com

For information about Antia James visit http://essentiallyholistic-onlinetraining.com/essentially-holistic