This is an article I wrote for The Journal of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (page 26) and I decided to add it here.
As a coach for certified aromatherapists and holistic practitioners, I have spoken with countless practitioners who are out of business, significantly undercharging for their services, or only using their certification to help themselves and their families—even though they would love to be doing more.
So much of that deficiency, I have learned, begins with certified aromatherapists’ lack of understanding (or guidance) around the many areas of practice that are available to them. We are not limited to making and selling blends or aromatherapy products. The work we can do is so much broader than that.
While aromatherapy was once overlooked by hospitals and other care facilities, it is no longer uncommon to encounter essential oils as an adjunct intervention in surgery wards, oncology groups, and geriatric units.
One company in Minnesota is leading the way in providing complementary therapies, including aromatherapy, inside the hospital system.
Aromatherapy has proven to be a highly effective complementary modality across health care areas- from calming patients before and after
surgery to reducing nausea, managing pain, and encouraging healthy sleep (Peterson, 2021). Additionally, some hospitals are using aromatherapy to reduce stress not only in their patients but in their staff (Buckle, 2016).
With myriads of benefits for patients and staff, the use of clinical aromatherapy continues to increase. The need for certified clinical aromatherapists to develop and oversee aromatherapy programs within hospitals is increasing proportionately.
Holistic Practice & Partnerships
Now, more than ever, people are seeking natural solutions to their problems—solutions that do not interfere with their daily lives (Grand View Research, 2020). So it is an opportune time to open your own aromatherapy practice to serve individuals in your (physical or virtual) communities.
For many certified aromatherapists, owning a practice is something they have never considered. Maybe it is too big a project– too daunting a goal. Maybe you are not sure how to start. Whether you have considered opening your own practice or not, that option is a potentially lucrative and satisfying use of your certification.
As you plan your practice, decide who you want to serve and what problem you will solve for them. Not only will this help you take your business step-by-step and reduce overwhelm, but you will also need this information to attract and educate your ideal clients. Without specificity, your message will not reach the people you are best suited to help.
Whether you consider a brick-and-mortar practice or an online business, the key to thriving is specificity and clarity. Beyond deciding what problem you solve, and for whom, consider what makes the service you provide different from the flood of mass marketing. Because our potential clients’ first experiences with essential oils are often via multi-level marketing (MLM) representatives, prospects can feel confused by essential oils, how to use them, and their true benefits.
The people who are searching for natural solutions are looking for excellent results—in very little time. And that might seem like a lot to ask. But the good news is that we can deliver if we are clear about the benefits of our products and services. It is all about specificity. Determine what your practice will be known for and you can fill your calendar with clients who energize and inspire you. Plus, your earning potential can reach six figures.
As an aromatherapy educator, you will have an opportunity to impact the next generations of essential oils users and business owners by teaching them safe and highly effective use of aromatherapy tools. Although I work within both my holistic practice and my school, being an educator is what I love most about my career as a certified aromatherapist. I love providing tools that essential oil lovers need—whether they are going to create highly effective blends, enter hospitals as program developers, or run their own workshops, continuing to expand aromatherapy education.
Earning potential as an educator can vary, depending (as always) on who you are serving and what problems you are solving for them. In general, fees for aromatherapy courses range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. As an educator, the bigger your audience, the greater your impact. In my journey as an aromatherapy educator, I have found success in reaching large audiences via live program launches and workshops. Through these live events, I have gathered prospects who are already leaning into the benefits of aromatherapy (both as personal users and as business owners) and who look to us as experts. Live events with engaged audiences allow us to share knowledge and have a real impact on the future of our industry and the health of our society as a whole.
It All Comes Down to Clarity
Whether you pursue clinical work, your own practice, or an educational avenue, it is always important to determine who your ideal audience is—and then craft your messaging to speak directly to them. When hospital administration can clearly understand your expertise and plans for a safe and effective program, you are more likely to gain trust and approval for entry and trial-based programs. When individuals see themselves in your marketing and see their own problems and the potential solutions you can offer them, they will be more likely to reach
out to you for help. (Get creative here—you really cannot niche down too much.)
When potential aromatherapy students see that you have worked with people like them, that you are telling similar stories and sharing possible results, you are more likely to attract those students to your programs. Determine what group of people you want to invite into your course and the results that you can promise them. People invest in educational programs that are well-respected (social proof), that have documented results (testimonials and case studies), and feel like safe spaces for them to explore. Tell people who you are, not just what you do. To attract the students you want, make it crystal clear how your education will change your students’ lives. Whether you are a clinician, practitioner, or educator, without clarity around your goals, your audience, and the problems you solve for them, you will fall short of the amazing impact that you can make on your community, your income, and your satisfaction in work and life.
As an aromatherapist and educator, that level of clarity has made all the difference in my business. I know it can help you make the most of your aromatherapy certification, too.
Buckle, J. (2016). Clinical Aromatherapy. Churchill Livingstone.
Grand View Research. (2020, May). Grand View Research. Retrieved from Essential Oils Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Application (Food & Beverages, Spa & Relaxation), By Product (Orange, Peppermint), By Sales Channel, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 –
Peterson, S. M. (2021, March 27). Why aromatherapy is showing up in hospital surgical units. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.may‐oclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/why-aromatherapy-is-showing-up-in-hospital-surgical-units/
Pace, S. (2019, February). Essential Oils in Hospitals: The Ethics, Safety, Cost and Application of Clinical Aromatherapy. Retrieved from Tis‐
serand Institute: https://tisserandinstitute.org/essential-oils-in-hospitals/
Pierre Fabre. (2016, June 8). Aromatherapy: why essential oils are being used in hospitals. Retrieved from International Pierre Fabre: https://www.pierre-fabre.com/en/news/aromatherapy-why-essential-oils-are-being-used-in-hospitals
The Johns Hopkins University. (2021). Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work? Retrieved from Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/aromatherapy-do-essential-oils-really-work