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Our guide to aromatherapy courses

Our sense of smell is said to take us back further than any of our other senses. Would you like to know how to harness this powerful way to help yourself and others feel better deliberately?

Aromatherapy is one of the best known complementary therapies around. As with all complementary therapies, it aims to treat the whole person rather than just seeing symptoms. Essential oils are used to help rebalance the body, allowing it to heal.

Often used in massage which brings its own benefits, essential oils are absorbed through the skin and into the lungs as the calming, relaxing or energising scents are breathed in.


What will you learn?

While aromatherapy’s popularity means that many people know that lavender can be very soothing, rosemary can boost concentration and citrus is energising, it’s a powerful treatment and needs to be handled with care. Just a few drops go a long way and you’ll learn about mixing them with base oils to ensure safety.

You might choose a beginners course to help you use these essential oils with loved ones or you might choose to train as an aromatherapist and learn to build a practice as well as everything you need to know.

This can include massage techniques, preparing and choosing the best types of essential oils for each client and recommending self-help (such as aromatherapeutic baths, dabbing a couple of drops on a tissue which can be carried around or put on a pillow to aid sleep) for them between massages. You will also learn about contraindications with certain oils to keep your clients safe (for example, special care is essential for pregnant women and men, women and children with other conditions) and starting and marketing a business.

Just as the essential oils come from nature, you’ll learn to help clients reconnect with their bodies and the healing elements of the world around us. There can be something very soothing about supporting clients in reconnecting with their body and senses (especially smell and touch) in this way.


What can aromatherapy help with?

As so many people find aromatherapy treatments relaxing, it can aid almost everything. For example, common conditions like backache, headaches, IBS and many more are often exacerbated by stress. Anything that can help the body remember how to relax will be of benefit. Regular aromatherapy treatments are said to aid acute and chronic illness and strengthen the immune system.


What next?

Even if you decide not to take the aromatherapy study further in order to work with others, you’ll be able to enhance your own life and those of friends and family by learning the basics. Your know how with some lavender oil (great for sleep and relaxation) could make you a hit with sleep deprived friends and relatives and your recommendation of rosemary oil (helpful for aiding concentration) might help loved ones who are studying stay focused and motivated.

If you take a more advanced course, you’ll learn about setting up a practice. If this is your aim, you might also be interested in taking a business course to help you hit the ground running once you’re a qualified aromatherapist.

Ultimately, you might work privately or for a salon or in complementary health. Some offer such services in busy workplaces and others support cancer survivors. You may choose to work from one location or to set up a mobile service (some enjoy providing aromatherapy at festivals and events).


Is an aromatherapy course right for you?

Do you like smells and touch? If you have a delicate nose, it could be a great advantage but if you’re prone to allergies, you may want to get some other input.

Similarly, if you’re very tactile, you might love to give aromatherapy massages but if you don’t like to touch people, you might just want to learn how to use these special scents more generally (on tissues, fabrics and so on).

Although the essential oils are delicate, the equipment (massage tables and so on) can require a fair deal of physical strength to carry and set up so you may need to have someone who can help you with this side of things.

If you’re at all interested in setting up as an aromatherapist once you qualify, find out if your course is accredited by any of the professional bodies who can support you and who will help you maintain high standards of ethics and practice.


Did you know?

Lots of celebrities are fans of aromatherapy including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Glenn Close.


By Eve Menezes Cunningham

Aromatherapy course reviews and other useful articles

What others are saying about aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Level 4 NCFE

Where: Stonebridge College

What: Level 4 Aromatherapy Award

by Eileen - July 2013

An extremely enjoyable course that gives you an insight to what aromatherapy is and how this can be beneficial for improving your mood and health. The course was easy to understand and had the benefit of learning about anatomy.

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Expert views

ITEC level 3 certificate in Stone Therapy Massage

Q. What qualifications route did you take to realise your career? I already had 20 years training experience in the Hotel & Catering sector and decided on a change of career. I started with an ITEC diploma in Holistic Massage and then broadened my portfolio with 6 more

Special offers

Aromatherapy and the Elderly

Next start: 28th Jul 2015

Price: £105.00

Where: Shaftesbury

This course is designed for Aromatherapists who work with, or who wish to work with the Elderly. The Course provides a combination of practical...

VTCT/TSHB Level 3 Diploma in Aromat...

Next start: 23rd Sep 2015

Price: £775.00 £749.00

Where: Islington

The main aim of this course is to enable participants to gain the practical and theoretical skills necessary to provide aromatherapy treatments...

Learn Full Body Aromatherapy Massag...

Next start: 05th Apr 2015

Price: £120.00 £29.00

Where: London

Full Body Massage Workshop Body massage is one of the skills we all wish we had, well this is your chance to learn. On this course you will...


Next start: You choose

Price: £487.00 £365.00

Where: Online Course

This Quality Assured AROMATHERAPY LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA present students with the opportunity of divulging into an exciting but also challenging...

Aromatherapy Diploma Course

Next start: You choose

Price: £330.00 £149.00

Where: Online Course

Aromatherapists use the concentrated essences of plants to encourage the body back into a state of wellness. Essential oils can be used to...

Aromatherapy Online Course

Next start: You choose

Price: £499.00 £399.00

Where: Online Course

Learn the art and science of aromatherapy Are you finding yourself becoming a slave to stress of everyday living? Here's a simple solution...


Next start: You choose

Price: £249.00 £22.41

Where: Online Course

Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that uses essential oils to enhance health, vitality and emotional well being. This online course provides...

Aromatherapy (Level 4) Fast Track C...

Next start: You choose

Price: £498.75 £399.00

Where: Online Course

Course Overview Aromatherapy treatments have become increasingly popular in recent years alongside a range of other therapies offered in...

Beauty and Aromatherapy (Level 3) C...

Next start: You choose

Price: £748.75 £599.00

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Awarding organisations

  • International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists
  • The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) is a body that lists training and education providers who offer professional courses in therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, and bodywork. IFPA recognises these providers in the field if they meet required standards.  The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists encourages and supports research within the field of aromatherapy and ‘is committed to the future regulation of the profession’. As an international organisation, it ensures that its schools located abroad also meet the National Occupational Standards. 

  • Aromatherapy and Allied Practitioners' Association
  • Founded in 1994, Aromatherapy and Allied Practitioners' Association (AAPA) is an organisation of professionals dedicated to providing complementary therapy services such as aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. AAPA ensures that the interests of its therapist members are well- represented. This Association has designed educational frameworks such as the National Occupational Standards for aromatherapy, the AC Core Curriculum and the City & Guilds award in Complementary Therapies. AAPA also accredits complementary therapy colleges whose training standards meet or exceed core curricula.

  • International Federation of Aromatherapists
  • The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) is the world’s biggest and oldest professional body that is committed to excellence in aromatherapy. With members and training schools all over the world, it is an international body that strives for progressive new developments in the profession. It has initiated the exploration of using aromatherapy in medical institutions such as hospitals and special care units. It also offers diplomas in professional aromatherapy that meet the Open College Network Standards and the National Occupational Standards. 

Related careers: Aromatherapist

Aromatherapy uses essential aromatic oils (extracted or distilled from herbs, flowers, trees, spices or fruit) to create a range of blends which can used, for example, in massage, for bathing and inhaling. These natural oils have unique healing properties that can either improve their client’s sense of well-being or treat specific medical conditions. Aromatherapists begin a consultation by taking a detailed medical history, followed by further exploration into the client's lifestyle and allergies. The therapist uses this information to select the oils they feel are...more