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Aromatherapists are health care specialists who use essential plant oils to promote health in their clients. Essential oils are highly concentrated substances that give plants their fragrance. These substances are extracted from various parts of aromatic plants, such as roots, woods, seeds, fruits, leaves, and flowers. Only about 5 percent of all types of plants are used for their essential oils.
Since the early 20th century, the professions of cosmetology, medicine, and psychology have rediscovered the healing powers of essential oils that were known to earlier civilizations. Scientific studies show that inhaling the fragrance of certain essential oils has physiological and psychological effects on the brain. Aromatherapists study the oils and their effects on individuals. They use this knowledge to help improve their clients' quality of life.
Most aromatherapists are licensed in other areas of health care or body care, using aromatherapy as a supplementary tool in their licensed profession. Among these licensed professionals are beauticians, chiropractors, cosmeticians, massage therapists, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses. A few individuals who specialize in aromatherapy work as chemists, educators, or authors. A very few grow plants for the distillation of essential oils, become consultants, or start their own lines of aromatherapy products.