While orthodox Western medicine focuses on the disease, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) focuses on supporting the WHOLE health of the client. There is a holistic framework of practice that helps shape the basis for the practitioner's therapeutic approach.
In aromatherapy there are certain philosophical themes that help create a holistic framework. These themes include the ideas that aromatherapy is:
- stimulates and supports the body’s own natural healing abilities
- encompasses the whole person
- attempts to address the underlying causes of an illness
- is a preventative healthcare approach
- is about educating the client and self on the nature of essential oils and their benefits
- adopts the philosophy of Hippocrates: “First, Do No Harm”
6 Principles of Holistic Aromatherapy
1. Stimulate and support the body's own natural healing abilities: aromatherapy enhances the bodies own natural abilities to heal itself, both in acute and chronic stages of disease.
2. Encompass the whole (individual) person: Mental/Emotional, Body, and Spirit/Energy
3. Address the underlying cause of the disease: aromatherapy seeks to find the imbalances in the body that have led to the manifestation of the disease state.
4. Practice aromacere (aromatherapist as teacher): to practice, experience and share one's own understanding and awareness of the amazing effectiveness of aromatherapy in every day life.
5. Use aromatherapy as a preventative measure: integration of aromatherapy into a whole health lifestyle in order to proactively prevent or reduce the likelihood of the manifestation of disease in the body, mind, spirit.
6. Practice "First, Do No Harm": always practicing aromatherapy with the intent to do more good than harm. This idea is expressed in the selection of essential oils, our understanding of their safety issues, and understanding the client's constitution and individual needs and issues. CLIENT SPECIFIC CARE!
Aromatherapy practiced in this framework allows it to be viewed as a complimentary holistic therapy rather than just a "treatment" approach. It also keeps the practitioner from diagnosing and prescribing (which is NOT in our scope of practice), but rather seeks to compliment the massage therapy and bodywork. Working from the WHOLE body holistic therapeutic approach utilizing bodywork and aromatherapy keeps the practitioner away from focusing only on a specific disease or illness.