Aromatherapy – bridging lifestyle medicine and functional medicine

I have been asked to speak to a group of undergraduate doctors in their final year of study about aromatherapy. I am both ecstatic and honoured to share my passion for aromatherapy with a group of young doctors who are enthusiast about CAM.

I chose a bold and audacious title for the presentation – one that I believes does justice for aromatherapy; 

Aromatherapy – bridging lifestyle medicine and functional medicine

I first made the association between aromatherapy, systems biology, and precision medicine in Volume III of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Both systems biology and precision medicine underpin the foundations of Functional Medicine. 

I recently came across Kerry Bone’s new book, Functional Herbal Therapy, and it occurred to me that aromatherapy should be sitting alongside herbal medicine in providing a holistic framework that compliments the principles of Functional Medicine.

However, it is my belief that aromatherapy still suffers an identity crisis. In my presentation, I examine some of these challenges such as the ease in which aromatherapy is easily commercially exploited, aromatherapy is still considered a bit of DIY profession, there are some untrained individuals calling themselves professionals that also often promote unethical practices, there are many diverse ways in which essential oils are incorporated into many different therapeutic disciplines, and there is a need to have consistent and improved education standards and the ease in which essential oils can be used, just to name a few.

I believe the therapeutic principles that are the foundations of functional medicine also underpin the practice of aromatherapy. For example, aromatherapy is very much patient centered rather than a disease centered practice, aromatherapy formulations are created based on constitutional individualities, essential oils support body systems and functions rather than focusing on eliminating diseases and pathologies.

I believe that Systems Biology is ideally suited at making sense of the complex chemistry of essential oils and how they work in synergy to support body systems or the multiple biological activities associated with an essential oil or constituent.

For example, in my chemistry mini-masterclass, I discussed how 1,8-cineole found in eucalyptus oil is often recommended for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While 1,8-cineole is promoted as an expectorant in aromatherapy, it has a diverse range of biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, free-radical scavenging, mucolytic/secretolytic, bronchodilatory, antiviral and antimicrobial. All these other biological activities also contribute to 1,8-cineole being effective in the management of COPD.  

What makes aromatherapy so exciting is the influence at a psycho-emotional level via the olfactory pathway. This makes aromatherapy an effective strategy to improves one’s emotional regulation, to restore resilience and to help restore the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which in turn improves one’s response to stress. In doing so aromatherapy restores one’s sense of purpose, something that many health professionals are now realizing to be a very important element within the healing process.

Which is something else I will touch on, and that is understanding how true healing works. I introduce the work of Dr Eric Cassell and Dr Wayne Jonas, who state a sense of wellbeing can only be achieved if one finds meaning and purpose in their life.

In order to fully heal and be well, we need to enhance the connection across the four dimensions of a human – body, emotional, social, and spiritual. I explore how this can be done using archetype medicine or the doshas of Ayurveda or the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese medicine. 

I am so excited about aromatherapy because there are not many therapies that are underpinned by complex pharmacology interactions; but also provide the amazing psycho-emotional support that plays such an important role in many pathologies.

I am therefore very excited to announce that my next mini-masterclass available on Wednesday 17 May; Aromatherapy – bridging lifestyle medicine and functional medicine.

In this masterclass we will explore a very different paradigm for the practice of aromatherapy, one that will challenge the way we have been traditionally taught aromatherapy, but one that will make aromatherapy a truly remarkable healing practice for the 21st century.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the big saving by registering for all six mini-masterclasses. You are able to watch the mini-masterclasses at your own time and pace. You will also be issued with a Statement of Completion at the end of each mini-masterclass.


REGISTER FOR Aromatherapy – bridging lifestyle medicine and functional medicine ONLY

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