Why Permaculture? What does that have to do with Aromatherapy?
I have only every been asked this directly once but am sure that many wonder about this yet the synergy between holistic healthcare in general and permaculture is clear.
When growing plants which I do for eating, to provide food for my bees and also some for my aromatherapy practice, I don’t feed plants directly but rather try and create as close to ideal conditions for them to grow in as possible. This means feeding the soil with muck from our chickens, well rotted wood chip and compost which we make ourselves.
In the same way, when I work with a client, I treat them as a whole person rather than just treating a condition or conditions. I try and hone my observational skills. I want to know about my client’s emotional life as well as any physical problems they might have. I listen to what they want to get out of the appointment. This correlates with the survey and assess/analyse processes when we take on a new piece of land.
This is followed by Design in which with the client, I will choose essential oils which will target their wishes for the session and any symptoms they want to tackle. However it is more than this. If in my mind for example, Frankincense is the best oil to tackle their restlessness, I don’t automatically include it. What if in their mind it is associated with a traumatic or unpleasant experience at church for instance? In that case, the oil is likely to do more harm than good and I might choose German or Roman Chamomile or Vetiver instead.
If a client is feeling blocked and unable to move on, the first oil that springs to my mind is Bergamot. Most people like it but not all. Also it can cause photo-sensitivity reactions. So if my client is going to be spending the afternoon in strong sunlight out doors or (rather less likely) using a sun bed afterwards, this is not an oil to choose. Alternatives might be White Pine or Sweet Orange.
Implementing the design or giving the massage is still part of the assessment and observation process. I need to pay attention to the feedback I get from my client in terms of muscle tension, their breathing rate, differences between the sides of the body, their facial expression during the second half of the massage at least and of course anything they might say during the massage.
Maintain: I might give the client some of the blended oil to take away and use between sessions. (I most often do this with sleep or anxiety issues.) Sometimes I suggest exercises for the client to do between sessions.
Evaluate: this is most often in two parts. The first is the client feedback immediately following the massage. This is them supplemented by a follow up email to check how they are about a week later and or discussion when they come back for the next session.
Tweak: This is where based on the results so far, I might change one or two oils in a blend before the massage and also spend more time on one part of the body and less on another based on client feedback.
SADIMET is just one of the design tools that is commonly used in Permaculture and it fits in well with how I work as an aromatherapist. At the end of this month, I will be attending the diploma in permaculture design workshop over the weekend where I will be looking at how I can develop my permaculture skills and inevitably this will have some effect on my Aromatherapy work.
You don’t have to be doing the diploma to come to this event and if you are interested this is where to go to find out more.