Mueller College of Holistic Studies

Mueller College offers a wide range of holistic health subjects such as massage therapy, hypnotherapy, herbology, reflexology, Reiki, nutrition, and Eastern and Asian modalities.

Find Resources in Your Area:


Overview of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants to support the mind, body, and spirit. It may be combined with other complementary treatments such as massage therapy and acupuncture. There are many essential oils, and they have varying effects. Aromatherapy can be used to help relieve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, improve depression, and promote relaxation. Some scents can improve memory and alertness.

History of Aromatherapy

The practice of aromatherapy has its history in the ancient cultures of Egypt, China, and India where it was used for healing more than 5,000 years ago. The modern era began in the early 20th century in France. Rene Gattefosse, a French chemist, studied the effects of essential oils on many kinds of diseases. Aromatherapy became popular in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s as interest in complementary and alternative medicine began to grow.

Current/Future Situation of Aromatherapy

Interest in aromatherapy is growing quickly as its benefits become widely recognized. It is used in hospitals and outpatient clinics for treatment of many conditions and diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Many people use essential oils at home for relaxation and other health benefits. Research studies are underway in industry as well as healthcare to determine other ways various scents can affect people. The aromatherapy field is expected to continue in popularity as more information about its uses is made known.

Career Descriptions/Places to Work in Aromatherapy

One skilled in aromatherapy has many options for places to work. You may work in an alternative healthcare clinic. Spas are another popular venue for aromatherapists. Chiropractors’ offices, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, resorts, hotels, cruise ships, and health clubs are other employment sources. Many aromatherapists work part time and have flexible schedules. Salaries vary depending on location and type of workplace.

Day in the Life of an Aromatherapist

A typical day in the life of an aromatherapist who works in an outpatient cancer center begins with preparation before the patient arrives. The treatment room is set up with fresh linens, towels, and any oils or lotions to be used are arranged. The patient’s file is reviewed. When the patient arrives, there is a short welcome for regulars and a more extensive consultation with new patients. The goal is to help the patient become comfortable and better able to relax and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. The therapist customizes the session to suit the needs of the patient. A therapist may treat several people in a day. It is very satisfying to see patients relaxed and feeling better after the session.

Graduate/Professional Quote

“Patients felt as if transported by the perfume of the essential oil into a different, more agreeable and acceptable world, so that many of their reactive instincts are curbed and they gradually return towards normality.” – Dr. Paolo Rovesti

Stat/Fact/Tip of the Day

Essential oils are very concentrated. It takes about 220 pounds of lavender flowers to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy seeks to spread information about the benefits of aromatherapy.

Good social and communication skills and the desire to help people are necessary to succeed as an aromatherapist.

National Cancer Institute website
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy website
Herbs for Health and Healing, by Kathi Keville, 1996, Rodale Books