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CNH4 Provide Aromatherapy to clients


This standard is about providing aromatherapy to clients. Aromatherapy is the systematic use of essential oils and absolutes in holistic treatments to improve physical and emotional well-being. Aromatherapy treatments may include, for example; massage, inhalation, waterborne methods, topical applications and compress. Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies. Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. the history, principles and development of aromatherapy and its relationship to orthodox healthcare
  2. the range, purpose and limitations of different aromatherapy treatments
  3. the types of equipment used for aromatherapy including; steamers, vaporisers, diffusers, baths, compresses
  4. the effects and benefits of aromatherapy e.g. calming, uplifting or relaxing depending on which essential oils are used
  5. the consultation methods that are used for aromatherapy including: observation, smell, listening and touch
  6. how to recognise cautions and contraindications to aromatherapy and the appropriate actions to take
  7. how to recognise when aromatherapy may complement other healthcare which the client is receiving
  8. how to recognise conditions for which aromatherapy is inappropriate and for which the client should seek advice from other sources
  9. the circumstances when you may choose not to accept a client
  10. how the results of the consultation inform treatment planning
  11. how to construct a suitable treatment plan for your clients specific needs
  12. how to evaluate progress and identify whether any adjustments to the programme are required
  13. how to assess the quality and safety of plant oils
  14. the essential oils and absolutes
  15. how and why essential oils/absolutes can become adulterated and ways of detecting adulteration
  16. the hazards associated with essential oils/absolutes - toxicity, irritation, sensitisation, carcinogenesis, phytooestrogens
  17. methods of extraction - steam distillation, expression, solvent extraction, enfleurage/maceration, carbon dioxide, hydrodistillation and the bi-products of distillation; hydrosols
  18. the range of carrier media including; plant carrier oil, cream, lotion, gel, water, air and clay
  19. methods of extraction of fixed/carrier oils and production of carrier media
  20. how essential oils/absolutes and fixed carrier oils can degrade and how to recognise this
  21. the effect of essential oils/absolutes on the olfactory and limbic system with respect to psychological functioning and overall well-being
  22. possible pharmacological and metabolic effects of using essential oils/absolutes
  23. the current legislative controls and guidelines for use of essential oils/absolutes and the implications of these for client safety
  24. the importance of hygienic practice in the selection and blending activities
  25. how to use a botanical classification system for identifying the main plant families of the essential oils/absolutes needed for treatment purposes and how this relates to blending
  26. how to access current valid information on therapeutic capability of essential oils/absolutes
  27. how to decide the suitability of carriers for the treatment methods agreed with clients
  28. the appropriate dilution ratios for specific treatments and why this would be adjusted for different clients
  29. where and how to obtain good quality essential oils/absolutes and carriers and how to assess their quality
  30. how to determine the suitability of particular essential oils/absolutes for clients
  31. contra-indications to the use of specific essential oils/absolutes
  32. factors affecting the quality of all the essential oils/absolutes such as shelf-life
  33. protocols for the blending of essential oils/absolutes
  34. the possible interactions between essential oils/absolutes
  35. the possible interactions of essential oils/absolutes with prescribed or self-medicated  drugs or other substances
  36. methods for prevention of contamination of essential oils/absolutes and carriers and prevention of cross-infection
  37. the effects on essential oils/absolutes to exposure to air, heat and light and the effect of ageing on essential oils/absolutes and carriers
  38. the correct ways to store essential oils/absolutes to minimise spoilage or loss and prevent degradation
  39. the purpose and benefit of testing clients� reaction to essential oils/absolutes
  40. how to access current data on the safe use of essential oils/absolutes in relation to their toxicity
  41. types of essential oils/absolutes and carrier media most likely to cause reactions and their possible effects
  42. the importance of obtaining a signature of endorsement of verified essential oils/absolutes in blends to be used in client treatments and the possible implications if this is not done
  43. how the blend best suited to the client�s health needs was identified and how the blend was verified as appropriate and acceptable for use with clients
  44. how the blend is used in treatment and how it could be protected against spoilage or loss
  45. the type of aromatherapy massage methods including: effleurage, petrissage, vibrations, tapotement, stretches, pressure point stimulus
  46. physiological absorption via the soft body tissue, and how the oil absorption routes and processes may be enhanced or impeded
  47. how the body�s systems and physiological processes are affected by deep relaxation, with particular reference to the nervous system
  48. common client reactions to aromatherapy massage of soft body tissue areas and adjustments to treatment which would be implemented in respect of each reaction
  49. how to recognise when inappropriate degrees of pressure are being applied
  50. why it is important to maintain physical contact with clients throughout the aromatherapy massage during each sequence of the session
  51. what steps should be taken at the end of the treatment session to minimise risks
  52. steps to be taken at the end of the treatment sessions for clients who are in a state of deep relaxation
  53. information which will enable clients to obtain optimum benefit from the use of essential oils/absolutes in blends and to minimise risks
  54. the potential risks to clients from self treatment and how these should be managed
  55. the nature of risks associated with client self-treatment, and the practitioner�s responsibility in this respect
  56. anatomy and physiology including the interaction between the following systems:
    1. skeletal system
    2. muscular system
    3. nervous system
    4. sensory system
    5. endocrine system
    6. respiratory system
    7. digestive system
    8. urinary system
    9. reproductive system
    10. circulatory system
    11. lymphatic and immune system
    12. integumentary system
  57. psychological and emotional state

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. conduct an assessment and plan the aromatherapy programme
  2. confirm consent to aromatherapy treatments
  3. ensure that the environment meets the client�s needs
  4. ensure that essential oils, carriers and equipment are suitable for use
  5. measure and blend oils safely and correctly to meet the client�s needs
  6. position the client for effective aromatherapy treatment and to give as much comfort as possible
  7. administer oils and blends safely and correctly in accordance with professional codes of practice and legal requirements
  8. massage and manipulate soft body tissue to enhance oil absorption and stimulate the natural healing process
  9. make appropriate adjustments to the aromatherapy treatment to meet any changing needs
  10. deal effectively with the client�s response to the aromatherapy treatment
  11. check the client�s well-being throughout and give reassurance where needed
  12. maintain the health and safety of the client, yourself and relevant others throughout the treatment
  13. provide clear and accurate advice with regard to any required aftercare and self-care
  14. evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of the aromatherapy treatment to inform future plans and actions
  15. complete and maintain records in accordance with professional and legal requirements

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health. This standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004): Dimension: HWB7 Interventions and treatmentsThis standard has replaced CH A1 and CH A2. Related Functions Principles of Good Practice CNH1 Explore and establish the client's needs for complementary and natural healthcare CNH2 Develop and agree plans for complementary and natural healthcare with clients
CNH4 Provide Aromatherapy to clients
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health,
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