Last Sunday, Mom and I got to talking about why essential oil chemistry is something worth learning about. Even when Sylla began studying aromatherapy over 40 years ago, she felt resistance to learn this molecular science but once she did, the world of essential oils opened up to her in incredible ways. Though decades behind, I can attest to the same. We both agree there is great value in understanding the chemistry of essential oils.
Here are 5 reasons why we think every aromatherapist needs to learn essential oil chemistry:
So you sound like a NERD…yeah, we actually think it’s cool to be nerdy when it comes to chemistry. Knowing the chemistry makes you sound smart (who doesn’t want that?). You can pronounce words like cinnamaldehyde and alpha-bisabolol, but more than that you know what they mean and how they contribute to the therapeutic effect or safety concerns of the oil. Plus, being smart also means that research papers and conference presentations make a lot more sense.
It is not as hard as you think. Unlike the organic chemistry class you had in college, essential oil chemistry is primarily concerned with only three elements: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Just the idea that all the aromas that we work with are virtually just countless combinations of these three elements still blows our mind!
When you think on the molecular level, you enter a whole new world. This can open doors to other fields of study, perhaps biochemistry or physiology. Then, you start to understand how your own body works which takes you to a deeper understanding of health and healing.
Learning about essential oil chemistry means you will be more informed on how to read and understand the components or ingredients when you receive a new oil or product. You can look up the constituents (Need a resource? Our Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual has a Phytochemical Index) and what the known therapeutic properties are of that component. You will also learn how to not fall into the trap of determining effects just based on major components–a study of essential oil chemistry quickly reveals the nuances of these “potent chemical cocktails,” as Dr. Tim likes to call them.
You will learn that the magic in the oils comes from the chemistry. For us, this doesn’t break the spell but just the opposite: understanding the science only enhances the magic.
So, you want to be a nerd? In October we are hosting Dr. Timothy Miller for AromaChemistry, a fun-filled weekend of nerdalicious learning. Even though we both teach essential oil chemistry in our Beginner’s Course and Practitioner Training, we wanted to host Tim because he is like no other teacher we’ve ever had.
“I’ve studied a bit in my 40 years, and Tim Miller stands out as an exceptional teacher. Not only does he have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in his field as healer, his personality shines through when teaching bringing a fresh new energy that is quite appealing.
When he teaches I find myself fully engaged by his youthful presence. He has a way of recapping each lesson, relating the previous concepts to the next lesson and making sure students understand before moving on. Tim is a refreshing new teacher with lots to share.”
Hear Tim speak for himself:
Register for AromaChemistry, October 21-22 by September 15th and receive $25 off.
Use code EARLYNERD
This class is approved for 12 credit hours towards the following professional credentials:
Florida Massage License (Provider #50-1959)
National Certification in Massage (NCBTMB – Provider #1462
May 1 marks the transition from spring to summer and we want to celebrate with some great deals on your aromatherapy books and courses. All of our books are on sale for May 1 and May 2. Everything is at least 20% off and some are more!
We’ve also extended the early-bird discount on our next live class, Aromatherapy for the Mind, until midnight on May 2. Check out the class and the sale products below and get in on this exciting summer deal.
We are happy to announce that we have a new instructor on board. The wonderful and talented Shellie Enteen will now be teaching our classes in the Tri-state area. Shellie lives in South Carolina but hopes to serve those seeking live classes in both Carolinas and Georgia as well. Massage therapists may recognize her name from her regular column, The Aromatic Message, in Massage Today. Since 2001, Shellie has contributed over 40 wonderful articles to this publication on all aspects of aromatherapy.
We thought we would put Shellie in the interview seat and ask her a few questions, so you can get to know her a little better.
Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy: How did you get started using essential oils?
Shellie Enteen: In the mid 1980’s, I received an Aromatherapy Full Body Treatment from a friend who’d studied in England and felt the incredible power of Lavender. Then I was introduced to Pat and Gerri at Nature’s Symphony and started incorporating them in my massage oils.
AIA: What were some of your first favorite ways to use aromatherapy in your daily life?
SE: Back then, I used them mainly for therapeutic results, for myself and for clients.
AIA: What is one of your favorite ways to use essential oils now?
SE: It’s hard to pinpoint one specific way, as these oils are in many aspects of my life now, including cleaning. I am a big advocate of perfumes, room diffusion and recognizing the subtle aspects for all kinds of therapy.
AIA: Describe a favorite memory from your experience of teaching aromatherapy students.
SE: I have so many wonderful memories from teaching, but one that stands out is from when I was in Dallas, TX, giving an Introduction to Aromatherapy class for LMTs and talking about chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). I mentioned in the ‘subtle’ information [part of the class] that it helped relieve anger and that I personally felt that made it a good choice for clients with TMJ clenching. Unbeknownst to me, a student was trying out my theory with the bottle I’d passed around. She started waving her hand, and when I called on her, she revealed that she had been struggling with severe TMJ and the moment she applied a drop of chamomile to her joint area, the muscles immediately let go. It was quite an impressive demonstration for everyone.
AIA: What do you think is most important for new students to know?
SE: Apart from the basics of essential oils properties, methods and safety issues, I think having a full understanding of the Aromatherapy industry [and] how essences are sourced and created is important for students to be able to make wise choices.
The Secret to Using Aromatherapy for Mental Health
…is becoming empowered to make the best blend!
There is a trend in aromatherapy education to simplify things and say that “x” oil works for depression, “x” works for ADD, “x” works for grief, but we believe in elevating the conversation.
There are general claims that can be made. For example, for most people lavender is a great sedative and rosemary can act as a stimulant. But if someone is have a hard time sleeping or focusing, the trick is to first take into account all the factors that are contributing to these issues and create a unique blend that is paired with the desired mental state.
It is for this reason that we will always hesitate to isolate a single essential oil for any particular condition, and continuously refer back to this wider perspective.
Now, we do find the use of charts handy. They are a great way to get us started on making the best blend. Both our Reference Manual and Aromatic Mind Book have detailed charts for reference. But we have found in our practices that clients respond best to a unique blend, rather than a single oil treatment.
This approach takes a little more education, experience and welcomes the wisdom of intuition. It is our goal as educators to help foster these qualities in our students.
The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is thrilled to be pairing with Master Herbalist Peter Holmes (L.Ac, M.H.) for the Energetic Uses of Essential Oils workshop this Sept. 27-28!
The workshop will be at the fabulous Lido Beach Resort (700 Ben Franklin Dr. Sarasota, FL 34236).
Peter is a British-trained Medical Herbalist and practitioner of Oriental Medi-cine with over 30 years’ experience in using botanical remedies and essential oils in clinical practice. His accessible, experiential lecturing style will allow you to grasp a deeper understanding of this branch of aromatherapy, which will in turn boost your practice!
But why should you incorporate the energetics of essential oils into your treatments?
Essential oils and aromatherapy are very complex, and they require a lot of study to understand the components and select the oils that will give your clients the best results. But if you understand the concepts of energy medicine and apply those to your selection of essential oils, you have a better chance of finding the right oil or oils to use for complex conditions.
This is especially true when there are mental or emotional issues blocking your clients from experiencing the positive effects of treatment. Finding one oil that resonates with your client on an energetic level can boost your results from “okay” to “excellent.”
In this context, essential oils are actually similar to acupoints and reflex zones, in that the oils are electromagnetic and governed by the universal laws of energy flow. You can use essential oil energetics both through inhalation and by applying directly onto body zones and points. Once put into effect, the oils will modulate neuroendocrine functions through neuropeptide activation without putting any strain on the digestive system.
The result? Profound energetic changes in the individual, which you can directly measure by changes in pulse, breathing, and the client’s overall complexion.
The seminar will include a fresh, dynamic approach to using essential oils for treatment based on integrated energetic principles—and the reasons why this approach works. Peter will also provide practical information about the energetics of essential oils so you can start using the techniques right away.
Energetics of essential oils are highly complementary to conventional aromatherapy, body work, energetic healing and so much more.
By incorporating energetics into your practice, you’ll boost your chances of seeing true and lasting change in your clients.
CEU’s are available for Florida LMT’s and A.P., D.O.M.: 12 CEU’s—CE Broker tracking #20-439918.
The basic tuition for the workshop is $325, with a Special Buddy Rate of $275 each for two (total: $550).
You can find information to register for group-rate accommodations by visiting this link.
Class lectures will specifically include:
The Five Energetic Movements of essential oils and their therapeutic applications
The Six Fragrance Qualities of essential oils: the dance of energetics, pharmacology neuroendocrine dynamics
How to perform the clinically valuable Six-Condition assessment on a new client
The specific energetic functions and indications of over 25 major essential oils
The schedule for the event is as follows:
Saturday, September 27th Class begins at 9:00 a.m., and attendants are asked to arrive early for check-in. Come prepared for a full day. There will be an hour break for lunch, and you can opt into a prepared lunch on the registration page. Class will end at 5 pm.
Sunday, September 28th Class will begin at 9:00 p.m. and will finalize at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break will again be included.
For more information, reach out to the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy through our Contact form, or contact Patricia Ann Starr at 941-356-7768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.