The Big Question
hould bodyworkers dabble in aromatherapy? “That’sa big question,” reflects Cheryl Hoard, two-time past president of the National Association for HolisticAromatherapy (NAHA). “I think it’s OK for massagetherapists to use essential oils ... if they proceed withcaution.” Hoard knows that more therapists than not utilize essential oils in their practice, whether it bethrough diffusers in the client waiting room or added toa carrier oil for application during bodywork. That’sfine, she says, as long as common sense is made a part of the “blend” as well.“Essential oils combined with a skilled massage fos-ters healing on many levels,” says Laraine Kyle, R.N.,cofounder of NAHA and today an aromatherapy con-sultant. And it’s OK for massage therapists to help clients reach those new levels via oils, shesays, but the best path is with some trainingunder their belt.“There are some simple ways to begin,”Hoard says, starting with milder oils like lavender and eucalyptus. But even at a very basic level, education is still key. “Massagetherapists would be wise to at least seewhat the cautions are in the oils they use,”she says.While Hoard says short-term courses cou-pled with a few key books are a “good begin-ning” for those interested in this work, theyin no way give license to a more intensearomatherapy approach. That should be left to those certified and/or registeredin aromatherapy.Like so many massage experts haveexpounded on these pages, includ-ing ethics guru Nina McIntosh, aweekend course does not anexpert make. The same holdstrue in the use of essentialoils.“For massage therapistswho would like to build theuse of true, therapeuticessential oils in their prac-tice, I would recommendat least a basic course inclinical aromatherapy, if not a full diploma-levelcertification,” Kylesays.Pam Conrad, anIndiana-basedR.N. and certifiedclinical aro-matherapist,agrees. “It’s
The Cautionary Keywords of Essential Oils
Phototoxic — Increases the reaction of the skin to sunlightor tanning lights.Can cause redness or burning of the skin.Hepatoxic — Toxic to liver cells.Neurotoxic — Destructive to nerve tissue.Convulsant — Causing convulsions.Sensitization — An immune reaction in response to contactwith an allergen.Reactions can occur at the contact site,butcan also manifest in non-contact areas as well.Toxic — Poisonous.
— from Cheryl Hoard’s website,www.cherylsherbs.com
MASSAGE & BODYWORK