That’s icing on the cake!?
A brainstorming on the healing protocols
An aromatherapist has his or her own healing protocol or framework. Some emphasize on chemical components and therapeutic properties, some on plant parts, and some on emotional aspects. In fact, it is hard to say which one is superior. Each protocol has its own merits. In reality, many people are amazed at how effective aromatherapy is in their first encounter. However, passion can fade away if we cannot pinpoint the right healing protocol for clients. Flexibility is the key – as we have to cater for customer’s needs, while maintaining the effectiveness of the protocols.
To help me think more systematically, I classify my aromatherapy healing protocols into three categories – “ icing on the cake”, “timely help”, and “other factors”. Think in this way: when you make a cake, and encounter problem(s), you get “timely help” from a friend, or a recipe, then you get it solved. After finishing the core (cake), you put “icing on the cake” for decorative purpose. The cake may not turn out in the way that you like it tastes. The reason is that the ingredients are not fresh (other factors) or of inferior quality.
To illustrate further with a real life example, let us think of a person with neck pain: an elderly with neck pain came to you and asked for your help in using aromatherapy to relieve her pain. After your first consultation, you found out that her problem was caused by osteoarthritis. To relieve her pain, you made a salve with some essential oils for her. She went home to try, and found it quite effective in relieving her pain. She also found that she slept better because of the fragrance of the salve. This further sped up the recovery process.
In the case above, the “timely help” is the aromatherapist, and the salve; the “icing on the cake is the fragrance that induced her to sleep; and, other factor is the fact that she heals more quickly because she sleeps well.
If the elderly who came with an added ailment of stiff neck, though the problem of neck pain was solved, and you tried to help her with a blend of essential oils (timely help), but could not help much. Emotionally, you can use the aroma of essential oil to add “icing to the cake”, the core of the problem still exist. In this case, we have to introduce the concept of other factor: does she need to see an acupuncturist? Does she need to see a physical therapist for further treatment? It is because they may have more resources to find out if the stiff neck was caused by the muscle or the bone; and they have the necessary expertise to relieve the problem.
Take for another example: a man with mild fever, running nose, and headache asked for your help, and you gave him a blend of essential oils after consultation. Apparently, after using the blend, his symptoms got subsided; however, in the next morning, he got high fever and severe headache. It seemed that the “timely help” did not come from you. It may be for his good to find another “timely help” from a doctor who practiced conventional medicine. Still, you could make another blend for him for the icing purposes, which could help him heal more quickly.
Another case was that – a person with mild fever, headache, and running nose sought to heal herself by the body itself, instead of healing by any intake. To her, less is more. To help her to recover, you made her a blend for sound sleep, so that her body could heal more quickly by itself when she slept. In this case, the blend is still the “timely help”, but you take into account of “other factor” like inducing her to have sound sleep, so that her body could heal more quickly. The aroma of the blend is the “icing on the cake” as it provides emotional support to your client. As a result, your client is able to heal fairly quickly in the way she wants to. Because of your clarity of mind in classifying the protocols, you are able to tackle the problem with ease, and effectiveness.
To sum up, this simplified model is to provide a framework in classifying the healing protocols into three categories – “icing on the cake”, “timely help”, and “other factor(s)”. The classification helps in clarifying one’s mind in determining which protocol to be used – be it chemical components or therapeutic properties, plant parts or emotional aspects. This method also helps one to be flexible in his or her choice of protocol. All these three can work together as synergies, while they can be separated to look into it most of the time. Aromatherapists are welcome to use more examples to validate the claim.