Aromatherapy worldwide

18 Aromatherapy worldwide


The practice of and knowledge in aromatherapy vary widely across the globe. In some countries, such as France and Belgium, phytotherapy (which includes aromatic medicine – see Ch. 9) is an established branch of medicine for which essential oils may be prescribed by the doctors concerned and used by application to various parts of the body (usually without massage, and very often orally, per rectum and per vaginam, in compresses and in gargles); or in diffusers. In other countries, such as Croatia, aromatherapy is in its infancy; it is practised in hospices using mainly massage, often on a voluntary basis, by aromatherapists and interested nurses.

This chapter examines aromatherapy use in 19 countries, representing a range of different stages of development, implementation and styles of practice.

The following headings are used for each country:


Ron Guba


Although there is no legislation as yet, there may be some changes affecting aromatherapy education, practitioner regulation and the labelling of products. Chiropractors and osteopaths require some governmental oversight – other complementary therapies do not require this. In most states, therapists are self-regulated through their relevant professional associations, who offer practitioner liability insurance. A number of private health insurance companies will offer some level of rebate for aromatherapy treatments given by qualified practitioners.

Allopathic medicines, complementary medicines and essentials oils are regulated through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), under either Therapeutic Goods Listing or Registration. Under Listing, whether inhaled, ingested, topical applications etc., one may claim to ‘relieve the irritation of eczema’ but not ‘to cure it’ – this would require registration.

Listed products must make a lesser therapeutic claim, do not require a prescription and are considered safe for general use when used according to the directions. However, a supplier of TGA-listed essential oils can provide more in-depth information about the therapeutic properties of essential oils to qualified practitioners, compared to what can be advertised to the public.

Practitioners do create their own preparations for clients, but in this situation TGA requirements do not apply with regard to advertising and for what purpose the preparation is intended – there is greater latitude when practitioners are dealing directly with their clients.


There is now an approved standard for a Certificate level 4 aromatherapy training (about 1 year), Diploma (about 2 years) and an Advanced Diploma in Aromatic Medicine (about 3 years). In 2008, aromatherapy training was finalized as a ‘training package’ by the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS and HISC). This means that any approved college (registered training organization) must use the full training package courses and demonstrate the competencies gained. The CS and HISC comes under the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Almost all colleges offering aromatherapy training in Australia are approved registered training organizations. There are a few non-approved training courses, but they need to meet the same training standards in order to obtain membership with the lead association, the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association

Education curricula include theoretical and clinical hours as well as home study. Courses are no longer based on hours per se, but on the competencies (or learning outcomes) that are gained.

A plethora of short aromatherapy courses of a few hours, days or a week reflect the growing popularity of aromatherapy. Nurses are major participants in these courses, and although they are important professional development programmes, they are insufficient for autonomous aromatherapy practice.

A number of aromatherapy-specific policies/guidelines for nursing practice have been developed, and these include position statements by the Royal College of Nursing, Australia, and the Australian Nursing Federation. Nurses are regulated in each state through nursing authorities which issue licences to practise nursing, but not aromatherapy. Nurses have a duty of care under their professional standards and codes to practise at the level of their knowledge and competence – and this includes aromatherapy.



Anny van Branteghem, Sylvie Lenoir, Philippe Gérard


Courses are organized by aromatherapists (no official certificate) in the use of essential oils for external use on a regular but small-scale basis. These are attended by enthusiasts, herbalists, nurses, health, wellness and beauty practitioners and paramedics.

Some training centres, often linked to essential oil wholesalers, give quality courses in scientific aromatherapy.

Courses on the use of essential oils for internal use, as well as for external use in pharmaceutical preparations (for the treatment of dermatological ailments or transdermal agents), are organized by:

Société Belge de Phytothérapie, d’Aromathérapie et de Nutrithé

Courses are organized on the use of essential oils for internal use, as well as for external use in pharmaceutical preparations (for the treatment of dermatological ailments or transdermal agents).

These courses offer a general, but qualitative and profound and fundamental knowledge on the therapeutic possibilities of essential oils, their chemistry, their uses, their toxicology and their powers. The lecturers are medical doctors, pharmacists and university professors; the courses can only be attended by dentists, doctors and pharmacists. A diploma can be obtained, after examination, after 3 years of 10 weekends.


Courses are organized by aromatherapists (no official certificate) in the use of essential oils for external use on a regular, but small-scale basis. These are attended by enthusiasts, herbalists, nurses, health, wellness and beauty practitioners and paramedics.

Institute de Phytothérapie International:

Centre de Formation en d’Aromathérapie:

Collège International d’Aromathérapie:

This college provides training for everyone from medical professionals (doctors, pharmacists, dentists, therapists etc.) to laypersons; depending on the type of course, the curriculum and the number of hours can vary.

Hydrolats are always taught and used mostly in paediatrics.

A certificate is given at the end of the course, but has no professional recognition.


Vera L G O’Neill



Marlene M Mitchell, Tricia Eagle



Shaohua Lu

The general picture

Around 1990, the concept of aromatherapy began to be accepted in China. It was first introduced to mainland China by the family of a Taiwanese businessman, when the basic application of essential oils and the promotion of its possibilities began to spread. Having first appeared as skin care, beauty salons then began using essential oils in face and body massage – now the most common forms of use. Although essential oils are now used in every beauty salon and spa, their quality is a concern, as they are probably adulterated.

Young women aged 18–25 went to Europe and America to study and experience essential oils, returning to spread their knowledge to others via forums and websites etc. As herbalism was already well known, aromatherapy was readily accepted. Most buyers of essential oils are over the age of 25, as they can more easily afford them: they are used mostly in vaporizers. Although essential oil use is widespread, there is a shortage of correct aromatherapy information and training in the Chinese language, making aromatherapy less easily available to people generally.

Around the beginning of the 21st century two books, P Davies’ Aromatherapy A–Z and M Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy were imported – in English, which naturally limited the number of readers. Both books are now translated into Chinese, as are S Price’s Aromatherapy and your Emotions and L Price’s Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage. By 2010 there were over 15 aromatherapy books in Chinese, and information was also available via newspapers, magazines and the Internet. Some large aromatherapy websites have been established which include the translation into Chinese of information written in English.

Aromatherapy has been identified by the Shanghai Vocational Training Orientation Centre (SVTOC) as an area for growth, an agreement being made recently with the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) to develop British-style aromatherapy training.


Zrinka Jezdić


Three schools in Croatia are licensed by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Science to teach aromatherapy. Although aromatherapy is not recognized by the Ministry of Health as a complementary therapy, and treatment of disease is not permitted, it can be used to support treatment with the personal consent of the patient and/or his/her doctor. The diploma of the author’s school, AromaVita, has received a licence from the Ministry of Health to practise aromatherapy in this way. The training offered by the other two schools is quite similar to that offered by AromaVita.

AromaVita concentrates on preventive measures and conditions such as stress management, emotional blockage, anxiety, neuroses, and support for personal and spiritual development.

When aromatherapists finish the course they can obtain a work permit, which allows them to practise legally.

AromaVita cooperates with the Penny Price Academy (PPA) in the UK, through workshops and counselling for their students. The principal of Aromavita lectures in Croatian hospitals to inform and educate nurses, physiotherapists and doctors about the clinical application of essential oils and aromatherapy techniques. Students who finish both aromatherapy courses below can take an examination at PPA to obtain an international certificate.

The training schedule is as follows:

Research/pilot studies

No research has as yet been carried out on essential oils. However, pilot studies have been carried out in the following areas:

Dec 12, 2016 | Posted by in GENERAL & FAMILY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Aromatherapy worldwide

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