Updated: Aug 21
It seems like everyone knows at least one person who is prolific at sharing advice about the use of essential oils. For the individual seeking essential oil advice it can get frustrating, confusing, and even dangerous when they don't know which advice is the most appropriate advice for them, or even if said advice is safe to follow. This blog post is to enlighten you to the varying degrees of essential oil training each of the following professionals may have received so that you can determine if their advice is based on appropriate levels of education as to fit your specific need. I always recommend that you ask a person offering advice what their specific training in the use of essential oils is. i.e. Did they attend an approved class, read a book, or are they just repeating something their sister's boyfriends dog walker told them. This blog post is meant to honor the time, energy, commitment, and dedication of each of the medical professionals outlined. Those licensed and unlicensed. I hope I did each justice as I have many friends who work in the different fields outlined here and I wouldn't want to do them a disservice. Certified Aromatherapist-(CA) A certified aromatherapist sometimes called a holistic aromatherapist is an aromatherapist who has completed a minimum of 200 hours of approved training through a school recognized and approved by Alliance of International Aromatherapist and/or National Association of Holistic Aromatherapist to meet a minimum set of industry standards. These standards include anatomy and physiology training of all the body systems. Basic botany (specifically taxonomy), organic chemistry, and methods of extraction of essential oils are also critical parts of this training. CA students also study blending techniques, different methods of application, and safety related to aromatherapy use via dermal, respiratory, and internal use. Before a student can graduate a CA program they must complete a 5-10 page paper, a minimum of 10 case studies, and sit and pass an exit exam. During the course of their program they will have studied a minimum of three dozen essential oils in depth. Aromatherapy is an unlicensed complementary alternative healthcare field. Certified Clinical Aromatherapist-(CCA) Advanced Practitioner (APAIA) A Certified Clinical Aromatherapist or Advanced Practitioner has first completed all the steps of a CA. Then they continue their studies to complete a minimum of an additional 200 hours of study. The CCA, APAIA has learned the significance of the species, genus, chemical family, and chemotype of each oil. CCA have learned to read and understand the values of GC/MS reports and how to interpret more advanced research. Clinical Aromatherapy students have the chance to choose electives to complete their course hours. Currently both the Alliance of International Aromatherapist and the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy are redefining what it means to be a CCA, APAIA but one thing that we are assuming will stay the same and that is the minimum of the 400 hours of study time. Registered Nurse-(RN) a registered nurse (RN) must meet the guidelines of the state where they have received their license. Nursing is a licensed medical profession and the licensing requirements vary by state. RN's have either an Associates of Science degree or more commonly a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. RN's commonly monitor patients, record and maintain patients records, order and interpret patient diagnostic tests, interact with patient families, assist doctors, and so much more to support the care of patients. They commonly work in schools, home health, nursing care facilities, hospitals, and surgical settings. Licenses must be renewed regularly and each state has their own individual requirements of practice and CEU hours for license renewal. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner- (ARNP) Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners have a Masters of Science degree in Nursing. They're frequently in private practice or may work in community clinics, research hospitals, or be on the faculty of a university. ARNP's have authority to write prescriptions, take a health history, create a patient health plan, diagnose and treat patients, and manage chronic illness. Many ARNP specialize in a particular field of practice. There are two governing bodies that oversee the ARNP field. Each certifying organization has their own requirements for renewing the ARNP license to be renewed every 5 years that include a combination of practice hours and CEU hours some of which are related to their prescribing privileges. Source: http://www.nursepractitionerschools.com/faq/np-vs-rn Naturopathic Physician-(ND) Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, some ND's continue their training to become specialist but most are primary care providers. Their training is similar to that of MD's the first two years. They take basic anatomy, biochemistry, evidenced based medicine, and physiological assessment classes. Then they proceed to study of homeopathy, nutritional, and botanical medicine. ND emphasize prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern, traditional, scientific, and empirical methods. During their 3rd and 4th year they do hands on clinical training. About 5-10% of ND's currently complete a residency program, the industry is working to create more proper residency opportunities for graduates. The Federal government doesn't fund ND residency programs like it does MD residency programs. ND's philosophy of practice is to seek out and treat the cause of a symptom looking at the body as a whole integrated system, rather than just treat a symptom while disregarding the cause. Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth). Naturopathic medicine licensure varies from state to state. Check the laws in your state and the credentials of the ND professional your contemplating hiring. Source: http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=59 Medical Doctor-(MD) (pediatrician, neurologist, family care provider). MD's training is roughly equivalent to that of ND's the first two years of medical school. Both take classes focused on anatomy, biochemistry, evidenced based medicine, and physiological assessment. The difference comes in the approach. MD's take a systems approach to medicine. They learn about the respiratory system, the digestive system, nervous system, etc. as individual systems. During their 3rd and 4th years of training they do observational clerkships. Most MD's become specialist in one field, gastroenterologist in the digestive system, pulmonologist in the respiratory system, neurologist in the nervous system, etc. Their approach is generally one of treatment of symptoms rather than seeking out the cause of the symptoms. After graduation they complete a residency program before going into private practice. Medical doctors are a licensed professional. You can check your state's licensing board for the qualifications of an MD you're contemplating working with. Source: https://aanmc.org/resources/comparing-nd-md-curricula/ DISCLAIMERTHIS BLOG IS FOR INFORMATIONAL & EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN DOES NOT CONSTITUTE, PREEMPT, OR SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE NOR IS IT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, CURE, TREAT, OR PREVENT DISEASE OR HEALTH ISSUES.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE USING OR APPLYING ANY OF THE SUGGESTIONS CONTAINED ON THIS BLOG.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.