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Massage Today
August, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 08

Using Aromatherapy in the Spa Setting

By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT

The rise of the spa industry in the U.S. for the past 10 years has been impressive, to say the least. It seems that even here in Greenville, S.C., another spa opens each week offering a wide array of special treatments in a pleasurable, pampering atmosphere.

Many massage therapists not drawn to medical and sports massage will decide on a career in a spa setting or even open one of their own. A good education in true aromatherapy would provide both an impressive resume and the information needed to go beyond using pre-made formulas to offer the individual a custom-designed blend. This allows the therapist and the spa they own or work in a way to stand out from the crowd.

Even if the therapist must use a particular brand during their practice at a specific spa, increased understanding of the ingredients will provide better selections for clients. If you have been reading this column in Massage Today, you will have a lot of good information on which to build. I will be happy to provide more information regarding reputable in-class and home-study certification courses. Whether or not you choose to spend the time to take a professional level course, you will want to have The Aromatic Spa Book on hand. This book is the latest in a series written by a true expert in this field. Sylla Sheppard-Hanger is best known for the research resulting in the impressive The Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Vols. I and II - a must-have for any practicing aromatherapist. Sylla also has been a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician since 1969, and a licensed massage therapist since 1979. The combination of knowledge and expertise in all these fields is realized in this user friendly book:

The Aromatic Spa Book has a wealth of information condensed into 200 pages in a spiral-bound, laminated cover. This book is a perfect size for the professional to keep on their desk or when traveling to an outcall service. The text covers everything a professional skin-care and bodywork practitioner will need to know in order to incorporate safe use of essential oils and botanicals into their professional practice.

Chapters include: "What are Essential Oils and How One Obtains Them," "How Does Aromatherapy Work," "Treatment Methods," "Environmental Fragrance," "Treatments and Blends," "Safety Data," "Contraindications and Toxicity" and a resource section. Charts with essential-oil profiles and vegetable oils for base carriers, along with the use of clays, muds, seaweed and other botanical ingredients are given in clear detail. A discussion on creating the "individual prescription" and sample client record documents are invaluable for the practice of true aromatherapy.

I recommend this book to all my students in Level II Aromatherapy. I have no doubt it will serve all massage therapists focused on the spa industry. You can order this book at

Click here for previous articles by Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.


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