This time last year I was looking forward to the opening of the Welsh School of Aromatherapy and hoping all would go well for the first intake. I had been working on the development of this idea for nearly three years. The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) had accredited the syllabus, and the Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy, became registered as number 07/04/0195. We were ready to start in September.
It was an exciting time and I had promised a great deal to the prospective students, that in one year they would have enjoyed training in a personally expansive, deeply rooted education to become quality, IFA accredited, professional holistic aromatherapists ready to work in clinics, organisations or within their own private practice. Students would be able to be insured to work within their communities and be qualified to specialise in areas such prenatal and post natal care, with children, within mental health, palliative care, and within businesses and stress management.
The syllabus encompasses the art and science of using the wonderfully aromatic essential oils with their general application and more subtle ability to be absorbed through the skin to stimulate healing within body, mind and spirit. The students need to become effective in massage, as well as being able to safely and effectively use aromatic baths, inhalation, compresses, vaporisation creams, skin products and natural perfumes.
The fledgling therapists always work safely with the individual by forming a personalised treatment plan and individually created blends to help maintain optimum health. A return from illness into balance may be achieved with conditions such as high or low blood pressure, hormone imbalance, skin disorders, muscular aches and pains, depression and chronic stress. Students also learn anatomy and physiology as a foundation to the therapy.
As with all new projects I went over and over the plans to reduce the inevitable teething problems. I was as excited as the students at the beginning of the new term in September. For a “Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy" it was important that ‘holism’, a word that is frequently misused both within the complimentary and allopathic professions became a real foundation for the school and the students to work from. ‘Holistic’ is a very old word originating from the Greek word, ‘holos’, meaning ‘whole’ or ‘holy’. The Welsh word ‘holl’ also means whole. The ‘W’ got tacked on more recently creating the word ‘whole’. So ‘holism’ implies health, completeness and lives that are in harmony. The word ‘holistic’ has not been used lightly by the school which aims to facilitate as truly holistic an education as possible.
The school encourages and helps its students to uses materials from ethically aware organic sources. We use recycled paper, and as a correspondence course the student do receive a few manuals! We also use emails and information technology whenever possible. Facilitating the course by correspondence, not only makes it more accessible by its flexibility, but also reduces car-miles involved in training. Students are encouraged to be aware of their own ethical choices, before considering helping life-changes in others.
The practical work on the course is undertaken locally, appreciating the beauty and resources of Snowdonia and of the larger world, the needs of which are never forgotten as we tread as lightly as possible. The course is full of opportunities for laughter as well as sensitively focused work. It is hoped that students gain fulfilment on a professional level by engaging in this quality education with integrity, which in turn facilitates personal wholeness and benefits wider communities.
This year has been challenging, fulfilling, very busy and exciting. I have really enjoyed seeing the students evolving into caring and competent therapists. In the school’s prospectus the Nelson Mandela quote from his Inauguration speech, ‘When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.’ And this phrase has become very apt for the students, so near to graduation – I see them shining.
And what do the students say?
(The)…aromatherapy course has given me so much, facilitated so much healing…I am not the same person who first got in touch with you at the end of July, not at all.
I have really enjoyed the course. Thank you Lindsay, you made the studying interesting.
I love the workshop weekend. I love giving – and receiving massages! … and I have grown immensely on a spiritual dimension. It has also deepened my sense of appreciation of the physical body to a level of, almost, reverence.
I’ll always remember the time I centred myself before the first massage and realising YES!
As for taking a bath with essential oils…WOW!!! I tried last week with lavender and chamomile and was completely blown away – the sensation of deep connection was similar to meditation or experiences with ritual. It also felt like dear old friends had come up to me and put their arms around me, incredibly joyful and comforting.
Applications now welcome for the September 2008 intake.