IFA Logo

Who We Are


The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) was the first established governing body for aromatherapy and has been in operation since 1985. As an educational charity, set up in the public interest, our purpose is the preservation of health by advancing the knowledge and practice of aromatherapy for the safety of the public.

Our expert tutors and specialist practitioners, who created and informed the curriculum and qualifying standards for aromatherapists, were taught by some of the most influential names within the field including the original pioneers of aromatherapy itself.

Having worked with various Government Health committees worldwide, the IFA is actively involved with elevating academic standards and influencing policy in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) field. The IFA pioneered the use of aromatherapy in the NHS, with our first stationed Head Quarters at the Royal Masonic Hospital, which is why aromatherapy is integrated within the UK medical profession today. To this day, the IFA continues to be the authoritative voice for the profession and carries on with the same strong sense of purpose, enthusiasm and commitment, which first inspired its creation. 

The IFA is the largest authoritative body for aromatherapists and is currently active in 73 countries.

Patricia Davis
Founder Member
"It was a time of enthusiasm, excitement, idealism and a sense of pioneering. Before the IFA’s inception Aromatherapists had no organisation or representation at all."
Irene Smith
Member since 1985
“The IFA has always kept to its founding ideals. We certainly started something and the IFA has played a leading role in all aspects of Aromatherapy.”
Margaret Bonner-Walter
Member since 1985
“The IFA has always had dignity and tried hard to do the right thing, both for its members and for the public.”
Pat Christopher-McAlpine
Member since 1985
"My abiding memory of the first meeting of the IFA was how the large meeting room simply buzzed with positivity, activity and enthusiasm.”

Our Mission & Values

Mission Statement

The IFA's mission is to be the world’s leading authority in aromatherapy. We aim to educate the public as widely as possible so they make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Our Values

  • We are dedicated to protecting the public and regulating, fairly, consistently, transparently and proportionately;
  • We ensure we and all those who are displayed on our register(s) remain accountable;
  • We are committed to the principles of equal opportunities, inclusion and diversity;
  • We operate a conflicts of interest policy to ensure all decisions taken are in the publics best interest;
  • We are committed to the sourcing of essential oils in a socially and environmentally responsible manner;
  • We are committed to good employment practices;
  • We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our operations wherever possible;
  • We take pride in delivering quality and strive for excellence in all we do

Affiliations & Commendations

As your professional body of choice, our role is to stand up for your interests before decision making bodies and to strengthen the recognition of aromatherapy as a true complementary modality. We do this in a number of ways, such as:

  • Working with other Complementary and Natural Medicine (CAM) organisations and lobbying groups to address Government agencies as a collective voice to further the profession;
  • Actively engaging in and responding to, government-led debates and challenge industry reports so our registrants’ voices are heard;
  • Sitting on various advisory boards to improve standards internationally;
  • Affiliating with organisations who share our goals and registrants’ interests;
  • Seeking accreditation with those who further our registrants standing and tap into those resources

The IFA strives to be at the forefront of the latest government guidelines and legislation, ensuring our registrants are kept up-to-date

Throughout our illustrious history the IFA has received the following commendations:

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA)
The IFA is an approved Accredited Register by the PSA, a UK body accountable to Parliament and a member of the PSA Collaborative group.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
The IFA is a stakeholder in NICE, which is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health and Social Care in England and advise Government Health policy 

National Health Service (NHS)
The IFA is referred to by the NHS.

Guiness World Record Holder
The IFA is a Guiness World Record holder for its charitable activities in the field.

UK Government National Careers Office
The IFA is referred to by the UK Government National Careers Office

Universities and Colleges Admissions Office (UCAS)
The IFA is referred to by UCAS

Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)
The IFA is an approved verifier for the CNHC of aromatherapy practitioners.

Aromatherapy Council (AC)
The IFA was one of the founding organisations of the AC, who were a (now a non-active) regulatory body for professional standards in Aromatherapy

And because of our internationally acclaimed work, the IFA is affiliated with the following prestigious organisations:

Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC)
The IFA is a Core member of the IHC, which is a collaboration of CAM organisations, who collectively address common areas of interest affecting the CAM field

British Library
The IFA's journal the Aromatherapy Times is registered with the British Library

National High-tech Health Industry: Aromatic Healthcare
The IFA is a committee member of this Chinese Government Agency, whose purpose is to promote the development and regulation of China's aromatherapy industry. 

Federation of Beauty Industry (Hong Kong)
The IFA is an Honorary Advisor on essential oils in skincare to the board

Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC)
The ATC is a specialist advisor to the IFA on the legislation surrounding the trade of essential oils

London Chamber of Commerce Member 
The IFA is a member of the London Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest business networking platform in London

Founding Members

The idea of an association for aromatherapists evolved during meetings between a small group of friends in the spring of 1984. United in their enthusiasm for aromatherapy and love of essential oils the group met informally to discuss their work. As the group expanded, the idea of an association, for mutual support and to represent the rapidly developing aromatherapy profession began to take shape. There were two years of preliminary meetings between the nine people who were to become the founder members of the IFA, these were:

  • Sue Beechey
  • Candice Bishop
  • Patricia Davis
  • Geraldine Howard
  • Len and Shirley Price
  • Germaine Rich
  • Anne Sutherland
  • Robert Tisserand

Hear from one of the founding members herself, Germaine Rich


Honorary & Fellow Members

Honorary membership is awarded to those who have made a profound contribution to the field of aromatherapy. Fellowship is awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the IFA.


  • Salvatore Battaglia
  • Micheline Arcier
  • Tony Burfield
  • Ishvara D'Angelo formerly Patricia Davies
  • Pierre Franchome
  • Daniele Ryman
  • Eve Taylor OBE
  • Robert Tisserand
  • Dr Dietrich Wabner


  • Sylvia Baker
  • Sue Beechey
  • Patricia Christopher-McAlpine
  • Gaynor Davenport
  • Joanna Hoare
  • Geraldine Howard
  • Tammy Liu
  • Nicole Perez
  • Shirley Price


Office Staff

The IFA has a small team of staff who carry out the day-to-day work of the IFA. These currently are:

Pauline Allen

Meet Pauline

Pauline has over 25 years’ experience in education and management. Since 2007 she has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the IFA and staff member since 1997. Previously an office manager for Harper Collins, Kings Court Publishing and MSD, Accounts Manager and Key literature verifying officer in the 90’s for children’s books. She has qualifications in teaching from City & Guilds, LANTRA, aromatherapy, aromacare, examining and assessing and cosmetic product formulation. She is responsible for implementing the Charity's long and short term strategy and ultimately for the day-to-day management decisions and oversees quality control. She acts as a direct liaison between the Board and staff and also communicates the Board’s decisions. She sits on varies education boards within Asia to promote aromatherapy and to map qualifications.


China.jpgJennifer Zhuang

Qualifications Officer
Meet Jennifer

Jennifer has recently joined the IFA team. She has an MBA in Finance from Leicester University, Advanced Diploma in Information Technology and Business Administration, Marketing and Bachelor of Inorganic Chemistry. She has worked at Elthorne Park High School as an examination invigilator for GCSC, and PPE. Prior to that she acted as an assistant merchandiser for BHS, assistant manager at Jones Bootmaker and as a logistics co-ordinator. She was an operation manager of General Cargo Dept in Tianjin working with customs and handling of import and export freight. She is the point of contact for all Centres who reside in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She schedules examinations, translates documentation, and coordinates the Chinese Aromatherapy Times editions. Her working days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. 


Lauren Allen

Operations Manager
Meet Lauren

Lauren has over 10 years’ experience working in operations. Since 2011 she re-joined the IFA after being a Projects Manager for Mears Council and was involved in maintenance operations for fire projects for London underground. Prior to that she worked at the IFA as Education Administrator after leaving university with a BA Honours degree in History. Since then she has undertaken various continual professional development programmes in team management, health and safety regulations, managing conflict and attended a legal secretary course. She is responsible for ensuring quality assurance processes are robust and effective. She deals with day-to-day operations and implements quality interventions where appropriate to ensure continued compliance.


Keely Eleftheriou

Registrar & Website Administrator
Meet Keely

Keely joined the IFA as a staff member in 2017. She has previous experience as a visual merchandising specialist and luxury retail sales associate at Burberry. She has a Level 4 diploma in Buying and Merchandising with experience in procuring goods and negotiation, identifying trends, researching, merchandise planning, fund allocation, corporate branding, customer service, sales, and retail. She has numerous digital skills and qualifications in design and technology, undertaken further studies in team building and data controlling. She is the IFA’s Data Protection Officer and is responsible for the registration and administration of membership applications and renewals, and customer service.