In Australia, Aromatherapy is not regulated (a topic of a future blog) like, say, the medical profession. It is important, therefore, that you do your research before making any appointments – especially if this is your first experience with an aromatherapist.
The best way to determine whether your therapist is a ‘quality’ aromatherapist (that is, they have received a certain level of education and training, and they are insured to practice) is to find out if they are a member of a Professional Association. Professional associations are “self-regulating” bodies. A professional association should “further the publics perception of a therapy”, and provide protection to the public. Choosing a member therapist means that the therapist abides by a professional code of ethics and code of practice. If you believe that the therapist you have chosen has not fulfilled his/her obligation to you, or you believe the therapist has acted inappropriately, you are able to contact the association with your concerns and they will follow this up.
In order to acquire membership, the therapist will have achieved a minimum educational standard; they will be proficient in anatomy and physiology; the history, pharmacology and chemistry of essential oils; and massage (including safety and contraindications). They should have a complete understanding of professional boundaries and they will have completed a senior first aid course. In order to obtain membership, the practitioner will have had to purchase public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
The best place to look is on the website of a professional association, and I have listed some which are reputable and which represent aromatherapists, below. You will usually be able to link directly to the therapists website from here. Look for testimonials; these often provide feedback – but remember, no therapist is going to publish a ‘bad’ report.
Word-of-mouth is a great way of finding a quality aromatherapist. A university colleague of mine has never had to advertise her business as her clients will always pass on her details! When you find a good therapist, pass their details on!
A good, competent therapist will:
- make you feel safe;
- respect your privacy;
- not judge you in any way;
- not hurt you;
- refer you if they feel they are unable to help you;
- respect you and your wishes for the outcomes of your treatment;
- provide you with information in order that you can make an ‘informed choice’.
Finally, it is against the law for any CAM therapist to suggest that they can ‘cure’ you. So, beware of any false statements (and of anyone who is making them!).
Would you visit a doctor who was not part of the Australian Medical Association or the General Medical Council? If your answer is no, then I believe you should apply the same good judgement to seeking out a CAM practitioner. You will find a ‘quality’ therapist who lives up to your high expectations, if you do your research first.
If you want any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The next blog will consider the safety aspects of aromatherapy, including some fairly gruesome tales!
“Treat persons who profess to be able to cure disease as you treat fortune tellers”
George Bernard Shaw
LINKS TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS (Australia):