ForwardDaniel Almeida is the winner of the 2017 Aromatherapy Scholarship awarded by Organic Aromas who sponsored $1000 toward aromatherapy training and accreditation with Joyessence Aromatherapy Center. We conducted an interview to learn about Daniel's journey into the world of aromatherapy.
What specific topics did you cover in your certification preparation course and was there anything notable you would like to share?
Training to become a clinical aromatherapist has definitely not been the process I originally imagined it to be. In fact, I’ve found the whole experience even more interesting than I hoped for. As a scientist I prefer to get down to the details, then focus on the big picture once I have the basics covered. The amount of science that an aromatherapy certification goes into is incredible. A typical certification course will cover biodiversity of plants, organic chemistry of plant products, lab techniques for separating out essential oils and even anatomy and physiology. I’ve personally found this aspect of the training really enjoyable. My friends and family always joke that the way to convince me of something is by speaking to me in science. This course has done just that.
Beyond the science, we’re also taught some basic clinical and business skills for running an independent practice.
What was the most valuable aspect of your training?
I’d argue that the clinical case studies required for certification are one of the most valuable aspects of the training. It provides trainees with an opportunity to think outside of the box and apply what they’ve learned to real clinical cases. They also force you to realize that practicing good aromatherapy comes with experience.
What was the most difficult part of the course?
I’m a fairly big science nerd so to me learning all of the plant species was a lot of fun. It reminded me of one of the first university courses I took during my bachelor’s degree, so long ago. However, I can see how memorizing species names may be less interesting to other people.
How long does an aromatherapy certification typically take?
If you’re doing it right and are enrolled in a course that is certified by a regulatory board, such as the Canadian Federation for Aromatherapy, you should plan to spend about a year or so preparing to write your final licensing exam. Before enrolling in a program make sure to check that it’s approved by a licensing board of sorts.
What would you do to improve your typical aromatherapy training program?
I think it’s important that we make aromatherapists aware of the body of science that supports the use of essential oils for wellness. I strongly think that aromatherapy training programs need to teach the literature and science of aromatherapy. For instance, clinical programs such as those in psychology delve deep into the science. Psychologists are therefore better equipped to communicate exciting science to their clients. The practice of aromatherapy would benefit from this type of approach.
Have you gained any insights into how aromatherapy can be integrated into ones everyday routine?
In short, absolutely! I think today more than ever, people are exploring ways to achieve and maintain optimal wellness. This trend has led our society to draw on natures pearls of wisdom and learn from other cultures. Whether it be through aromatherapy, yoga, diet, meditation, mindfulness, or ecotherapy; we’re all trying to take a step back from our hectic lives and reconnect our mind and body to our natural environment. There’s even research to support that being in a forest for as little as 15 minutes can reduce cortisol levels. What I’ve always found really amazing is that when I can’t be in nature I can always bring nature to me. Aromatherapy has been extremely simple to integrate into my everyday life. One of the first things I do in the morning is diffuse cedarwood in my office. Organic Aromas Mobile-Mini Nebulizer has made this really easy to do. I’m a firm believer that it’s in these moments of allowing ourselves to experience a deep sense of self compassion that we truly cultivate wellness.
Do you have any advice for professionals who work with people on how they might use aromatherapy in their practices?
Whether you’re a psychologist, social worker, counsellor, life coach, human resources professional, sex therapist or active listener, aromatherapy can easily become part of your practice. I’d personally choose neutral or more common scents and diffuse them in open or common spaces. Remove the wall plug ins that fill the room with dangerous and toxic chemicals by replacing them with a diffuser filled with safe essential oils. The therapeutic benefits of essential oils go far beyond just smelling great.
Would you like to pursue any further training in aromatherapy?
The fantastic thing about this training program is that it’s the terminal training required to practice as an aromatherapist. However, in order to remain registered, many organizations require their professionals to complete continuing education seminars. I’m looking forward to using these seminars as a way to broaden my aromatherapy skills.
How do you plan to use your training and certification in aromatherapy?
There are a variety of opportunities for aromatherapists. These include privately practicing, product development, working at a wellness center, education and consulting. My talents have always been in teaching and working with people. I’m thus interested in creating and facilitating workshops and seminars on aromatherapy and the brain; maybe even create my own certificate program. Organic Aromas has been such a support throughout my training that I’d like to be able to continue to collaborate with them. I’m glad that I can grow alongside a company that aligns with my values and beliefs.