In my ongoing series of interviews with professional aromatherapists, I hope to introduce you to various aromatherapists from not just the United States and the UK but from various places around the world too! So this week I am happy to introduce you to a very talented lady from Australia 🙂 I was particularly interested in the story that Wendy Norman of Blossom Aromatherapy had to tell with the use of aromatherapy with dogs and the formation of The Beautiful Dog Company; Wendy tells her story below:
Wendy Norman is a fully qualified, registered Aromatherapist, Educator and Bach Flower Remedy practitioner and has been in clinical practice since 1994.
She is a registered member and teacher with The International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association; former member of the IAAMA national council; editor of the publication Simply Essential, and accredited by The Australian Traditional Medicine Association.
Wendy has written and presented Aromatherapy courses to Diploma level with registered training organizations including TAFE and has articles published in respected professional journals both here and overseas.
Her passion for Aromatherapy and desire to integrate natural therapies into everyday life, sees her working with clients in clinical practice and acting as a consultant to health professionals in hospitals, aged care facilities and in the general community.
Wendy has a range of specially formulated products catering for conditions for every stage of life under the Blossom Aromatherapy label. Other business interests include The Beautiful Dog Company, established in 1999 to produce a range of natural products for canine companions.
AN: WHY AROMATHERAPY?
My passion for Aromatherapy started in the late 1980s when I attended a leisure course on the subject. From the very first lesson I felt as though I was simply remembering rather than learning something new, such was the affinity I felt for essential oils and their application.
The experience literally changed my life as I went on to leave a career in sales and advertising; commenced studying for a Diploma in Aromatherapy; and opened my own business, all within six months of my very first encounter! Oh, I should mention I also gave up a long smoking habit too. After all, Aromatherapists don’t smoke.
I took my newly discovered passion for Aromatherapy and all things ‘alternative’ (including crystals) and opened a shop specializing in spiritual books, relaxation music, candles, oils…you get the idea. l created a range of basic Aromatherapy products, such as bath crystals, and sold them under my own label, Crystal Facets.
While I was studying for my Aromatherapy qualifications the business was mainly a retail shop, but as I grew in knowledge and confidence, I started doing consultations and massage there too.
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
I found the potential for change and growth through the unseen and vibrational properties of plants and crystals quite fascinating. I read widely and discovered Bach Flower Remedies and the work of Dr Edward Bach, English physician and homeopath, and decided to study their use and application too.
No one person can have all the answers, and treatments and remedies are as individual as the patients seeking help. CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) practitioners are trained to understand and treat the whole person, selecting the most appropriate treatment, often from a range of modalities.
Unlike essential oils, that obviously have an aroma, and frequently administered by dermal application through massage, Flower Remedies (and there are many different types) are completely odourless and taken orally. They are homeopathic and rather than having a chemical effect, they work at a vibrational level, gently working to bring emotional and mental states back into balance. This type of medicine comes under the category of quantum physics.
I love working with Bach Flower Remedies alone or in combination with essential oils, utilizing the powerful yet subtle properties of both to restore more positive and balanced mental and emotional states. Fear, anger, sadness, indecision, shock… can paralyze and prevent growth.
BIRTH OF THE BEAUTIFUL DOG COMPANY
Having found I could get amazing results with people using the right combination of remedies and treatment, it was not really a huge step to transfer my knowledge and training to the treatment of animals. Being the adoring caretaker of a beautiful Bernese Mountain dog, Bernadette, I had an in-house patient on which to experiment.
Apart from producing her all-natural, preservative-free food and treats, I made shampoos, sprays and Bach Flower Remedies using the same gentle base products and pure essential oils I’d been using for my human range.
Obviously, formulations for animals need to be very carefully considered due to their sensitive skin and sense of smell, but with all care and consideration taken, The Beautiful Dog Company treats, Aromatherapy shampoos and Beautiful Balancing Bach Remedies have become a popular and loved alternative in pet stores, vets, dog grooming salons, and with animal behaviorists.
I don’t provide hands-on services for dogs, my role is as an Aromatherapist and Bach Flower Remedy practitioner, creating quality products for their carers to use.
I especially love hearing about the positive change in their temperament, coat and skin as a result of using The Beautiful Dog Company products. They respond brilliantly to the Flower Remedies in particular.
AROMATHERAPY IN AUSTRALIA
My passion for Aromatherapy is second to none and I love nothing more than to share my knowledge and experience with others. Australia is not hugely different from other countries in that the profession suffers from an identity crisis of sorts. Is it a ‘fluffy’ massage; something to make the house smell good; a dishwashing liquid that promises to make the washing up an enjoyable experience? The large multi-nationals have high-jacked the term and ‘watered it down’ to mean anything that smells good, regardless of whether the contents include any essential oils. Sadly we’ve allowed this to happen, in part due to the nature of those that tend to be drawn to this profession. We are generally and genuinely interested in helping people first and foremost; business people and entrepreneurs second, if at all.
The uninformed misunderstand Aromatherapy. Many in the medical fraternity largely dismiss it as quackery. I believe it’s important to teach people what Aromatherapy really is, what it isn’t, and how essential oils can be used in everyday life before training new Aromatherapists. Their ease of application and versatility, effectiveness against a wide range of resilient bacteria, and lack of side effects, make essential oils an important and serious health alternative. But they may as well not do anything if we don’t tell people.
The other thing most Aromatherapists fall short in is backing up our treatment successes with research and scientific evidence. Complementary therapies such as Aromatherapy and Flower Remedies are considered somewhat ineffective by the scientific establishment, even though our work is a serious and effective alternative by those of us that practice in the area. We all need to smarten up and ensure we document and submit our successes to the appropriate professional bodies for publication. We know it works, but to be taken seriously by others, we need to do it their way and become more active in proving our findings with evidence based case studies. We also need to consider what we call ourselves. Perhaps adding Clinical to Aromatherapist might be more appropriate and set us apart from those massage therapists that do just perform some style of relaxation massage that smells nice.
There is no denying the benefits of these therapies in the treatment of many conditions we face in our modern world. Nothing relaxes and reduces stress like an Aromatherapy massage using essential oils blended by a skilled practitioner, but the fact that many other physical, emotional and mental conditions can be gently and successful alleviated essential oils, is not widely known. Those of us that love and work in the profession, pay our registration to belong to associations, need to stand up and defend it, or lose it.
You can find Wendy Norman at:
The Beautiful Dog Company – http://www.thebeautifuldogcompany.net.au
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Face Book pages: Blossom Aromatherapy – Group. Focusing on teaching and organization information and Blossom Aromatherapy – Local business promotes products. A new business is in the planning stages that will contain a teaching facility, retail store and café, featuring food and essential oils.
AN: Thank you very much Wendy for taking the time to give us this comprehensive overview of aromatherapy in Australia and particularly how you have used your aromatherapy skills to start The Beautiful Dog Company. Good luck with your new business venture!
Next week I will be writing a post on my first aromatherapy book review – but watch for more aromatherapy interviews in the future! 🙂