Inspirational tutors Jan Benham FFHT MIFPA, Sue Jenkins BSc MIFPA
Overall Aim of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma course.
The accredited course seeks to provide education and training opportunities in
developing a proficient professional aromatherapist who has the ability to work within
both the field of complementary and contemporary health care settings. The course
will provide the student aromatherapist with the opportunity for self development and
facilitate an awareness of the importance of evidence based practice within the field
General Learning Outcomes of the course.
Knowledge and Understanding (theory) Outcomes.
• Develop a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of
Aromatherapy from a historical and philosophical perspective.
• Explore and develop an in depth understanding of the art and science of using
aromatic materials safely, in a range of therapeutic treatments.
• Examine the concept of health, illness, a range of medical conditions and the
factors which may impact upon Aromatherapy as a therapeutic intervention.
• Develop an in depth understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the
human body in relation to a range of body work techniques in Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy Syllabus. (120 hours)
Therapeutic Massage Syllabus. (60hours)
Anatomy and Physiology Syllabus.(50 hours)
sessions on 10 clients is required, totalling no less than 60 hours.
Massage Practice. At least 5 full body massages on 10 clients is also required.
Both case studies and massage practice should be recorded in a practice portfolio
which will be part of the practical examination
There are many applications of essential oils all under the title aromatherapy from skincare, perfume, giving flavour to food and drink to professional work in clinical, salon and spa settings.
The Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma proceeds through 4 initial classroom weeks to FHT membership. A further fifth week is offered as an upgrade to IFPA membership.
One of these applications is clinical aromatherapy.
CLINICAL AROMATHERAPY RESEARCH
Presently clinical aromatherapy research lends little support to the use of aromatherapy. However Aromatherapy is a popular and apparently potentially effective complementary therapy and research continues.
Indications that aromatherapy is of interest include the work of aromatherapy authors, scientists such as Gattefosse, Valnet, aromatherapists such as Robert Tisserand and Shirley Price, worwood, Buckle, Tiran etc and the day to day work of numerous professional members of professional aromatherapy and aromatherapy trade bodies (IFA, IFPA, FHT, NAHA).
So what does the research say? Clinical aromatherapy applications are focused on pain relief in labour, post operative nausea and vomiting, dementia and symptom relief in patients with cancer, possibly back and pelvic pain in pregnancy.
Find out more - Cochrane Library
Pain management in Labour
Aromatherapy draws on the healing power of plants with the use of essential oils to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. The oils may be massaged into the skin, in a bath or inhaled using a steam infusion or burner. The pain of labour can be intense, with tension, fear and anxiety making it worse. Many women would like to labour without using drugs, or invasive methods such as an epidural, and turn to complementary therapies to help reduce their pain perception Many complementary therapies are tried and include acupuncture, mind-body techniques, massage, reflexology, herbal medicines or homoeopathy, hypnosis, music and aromatherapy.
The review identified two randomised controlled trials of aromatherapy. One trial involving 513 women compared one of Roman chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, lavender or mandarin essentials oils with standard care. The aromatherapy was applied using acupressure points, taper, compress, footbath, massage or a birthing pool.
The second trial involved 22 women randomised to bathe for at least an hour in water with either essential oil of ginger or lemongrass added. All women received routine care and had access to pain relief.
The trials found no difference between groups for pain intensity, assisted vaginal birth, caesarean section or the use of pharmacological pain relief (epidural). Overall, there is insufficient evidence from randomised controlled trials about the benefits of aromatherapy on pain management in labour. More research is needed.
Post operative nausea and vomiting
Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is a common and unpleasant side effect of surgery, with 20% to 30% of all patients suffering moderate to severe nausea and vomiting following general anaesthesia using volatile agents (inhaled anaesthesia). Nausea is an abdominal discomfort or queasiness that may be accompanied by vomiting (the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth).
Current drug treatments may not always work effectively or they may have unpleasant adverse effects. Aromatherapy is sometimes recommended for treating nausea and vomiting, though currently there is not sufficient evidence that it is effective. Aromatherapy uses inhalation of the vapour of essential oils or other substances to treat or alleviate physical and emotional symptoms.
We examined nine studies of aromatherapy for PONV, with a total of 402 participants. Six studies of the brief inhalation of isopropyl alcohol vapours showed that it can have some effect in reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting; however it seems to be less effective than standard drug treatments. There was a moderate risk of bias due to the design of some of the studies. Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol and is commonly found in the type of 'prep-pad' used to clean skin prior to injection. There is currently no reliable evidence to support the use of other aromatherapies such as peppermint oil to treat postoperative nausea and vomiting. No included studies reported any adverse effects from the aromatherapies used.
Aroma therapy is the use of pure essential oils from fragrant plants (such as Peppermint, Sweet Marjoram, and Rose) to help relieve health problems and improve the quality of life in general. The healing properties of aroma therapy are claimed to include promotion of relaxation and sleep, relief of pain, and reduction of depressive symptoms. Hence, aroma therapy has been used to reduce disturbed behaviour, to promote sleep and to stimulate motivational behaviour of people with dementia.
Of the four randomized controlled trials found only one had useable data. The analysis of this one small trial showed a significant effect in favour of aroma therapy on measures of agitation and neuropsychiatric symptoms. More large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed before firm conclusions can be reached about the effectiveness of aroma therapy.
nb see recent Research (Newcastle) on the use of Melissa and Rosemary
Aromatherapy for symptom relief in patients with cancer
This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:
To evaluate the effectiveness of aromatherapy and/or massage on pain, psychological distress, immune function, quality of life, and other physical symptoms in patients with cancer.
nb A review will be forthcoming but in the meantime the previous review has been withdrawn
Back and pelvic pain in pregnancy
.Many women experience back or pelvic pain during pregnancy. This pain generally increases as pregnancy advances and it interferes with daily activities (like carrying, cleaning, sitting and walking), can prevent women going to work and sometimes disturbs sleep. Suggestions to help manage the pain are varied and include special pregnancy exercises, frequent rest, hot and cold compresses, a supportive belt, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbs, yoga and Reiki. Sometimes drugs like acetaminophen have also been suggested. No studies were found dealing with the prevention of back and pelvic pain. For treatment, the review of trials found eight studies, involving 1305 participants, that examined the effects of various pregnancy-specific exercises, physiotherapy programs, acupuncture and using special pillows added to usual prenatal care. They were compared to usual pregnancy care or other treatments. The quality of the studies was not the best, and so the findings should be treated with caution. The review found that specifically tailored strengthening exercise, sitting pelvic tilt exercise programs and water gymnastics all reported beneficial effects. The Ozzlo pillow seemed to be effective but is no longer available. In addition, acupuncture seemed more effective than physiotherapy. Adverse effects, when reported, appeared minor and transient. More research is needed on this widespread problem of pregnancy.
TIME FOR A RANT
One of the difficulties in integrating aromatherapy into healthcare settings is perhaps in getting the Cochrane Reviewers to ask the right questions. Usually the questions they ask are way off topic and doomed to failure!! Why has there NEVER been a Cochrane review of the use of Lavender for scar care and burns repair? is this dismissed as merely 'Cosmetic' in which case Health Care Systems need to look a long hard look at their Customer Service standards.
In the old days it might have been ok for a distinguished surgeon to come in slightly inebriated from on call and leave a heroic zig zag scar. Not Now. Things are much improved but scar and burn care is a fact of life with surgery and radiation treatments. Why no guidance on repair?
When you look at the number of studies cited in all the Cochrane Reviews you have a handful. By contrast Robert Tisserands next edition of Essential Oil Safety contains 4500 references. Theres a disconnect here and the key is those two little words...customer service.