I wanna be an aromatherapist
BY Lau Kit Wai
BARBARA NG YUEN-MAN
Barbara graduated from the London School of Aromatherapy. She is a member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists and is also the secretary of the Hong Kong Aromatherapy Association.
What qualifications do you need?
There's currently no legislation to monitor aromatherapists, so clients will have more confidence if you've received training at an organisation accredited by the International Federation of Aromatherapists, Australian Traditional-Medicine Society or National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. I studied at the London School of Aromatherapy.
What sort of person does the job suit?
You must be compassionate and have good communication skills. Aromatherapists often play the role of psychologist or social worker, so you also need to be mature.
What's the best way into the industry?
By studying aromatherapy courses at recognised organisations. It could also help if you are trained in medicine, psychology or body-caring. Young people interested in aromatherapy can study science-related subjects such as biology and chemistry.
What work hours do you keep?
The hours are quite flexible. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to do a full-body treatment, so I wouldn't recommend seeing more than four clients a day because their energy fields can be very draining.
Is there a clear career path?
Once you have experience, you can consider opening your own clinic, writing books, or travelling the world giving seminars and lectures.
What is the best part of your job?
It is really wonderful when I can help clients alleviate pressure and unhappiness. An aromatherapist is similar to a Chinese doctor, except that we use essential oils instead of herbal medicine. We believe that illnesses are the result of emotional problems so, once the inner problems are solved, the symptoms will disappear.
What is the worst?
Some clients read aromatherapy books before they come to us and demand that we use a certain type or quantity of essential oil. But really we're there to focus on finding the cause of illness rather merely curing the symptoms.
It varies from around a few thousand dollars to as much as $30,000 a month, depending on how experienced you are.
You must be patient, compassionate and caring to be a good aromatherapist.