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Aromatherapy – Bridging Lifestyle Medicine and Functional Medicine

I first made the association between aromatherapy, systems biology, and precision medicine in Volume III of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Both systems biology and precision medicine underpin the foundations of Functional Medicine. 

I recently came across Kerry Bone’s new book, Functional Herbal Therapy, and it occurred to me that aromatherapy should be sitting alongside herbal medicine in providing a holistic framework that compliments the principles of Functional Medicine.

However, it is my believe that aromatherapy still suffers an identity crisis. In my masterclass, I will examine some of these challenges such as the ease in which aromatherapy is easily commercially exploited; in some parts of the world, aromatherapy is still considered a DIY hobby; that there are some untrained and unregulated individuals calling themselves aromatherapists that also often promote unethical practices; there are many diverse ways in which essential oils are incorporated into many different therapeutic disciplines;  there is a need to have consistent and improved education standards and the ease in which essential oils can be used, just to name a few.

I believe the therapeutic principles that are the foundations of functional medicine also underpin the practice of aromatherapy. For example, aromatherapy is very much patient centered rather than a disease centered practice, aromatherapy formulations are created based on constitutional individualities, essential oils support body systems and functions rather than focusing on eliminating diseases and pathologies.

I believe that Systems Biology is ideally suited at making sense of the complex chemistry of essential oils and how they work in synergy to support body systems or the multiple biological activities associated with an essential oil or constituent.

For example, in my chemistry mini-masterclass, I discussed how 1,8-cineole found in eucalyptus oil is often recommended for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While 1,8-cineole is promoted as an expectorant in aromatherapy, it has a diverse range of biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, free-radical scavenging, mucolytic/secretolytic, bronchodilatory, antiviral and antimicrobial. All these other biological activities also contribute to 1,8-cineole being effective in the management of COPD.  

What makes aromatherapy so exciting is the influence at a psycho-emotional level via the olfactory pathway. This makes aromatherapy an effective strategy to improves one’s emotional regulation, to restore resilience and to help restore the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which in turn improves one’s response to stress. In doing so aromatherapy restores one’s sense of purpose, something that many health professionals are now realizing to be a very important element within the healing process.

Which is something else I will touch on, and that is understanding how true healing works. I introduce the work of Dr Eric Cassell and Dr Wayne Jonas, who state a sense of wellbeing can only be achieved if one finds meaning and purpose in their life.

In order to fully heal and be well, we need to enhance the connection across the four dimensions of a human – body, emotional, social, and spiritual. I explore how this can be done using archetype medicine or the doshas of Ayurveda or the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese medicine. 

I am so excited about aromatherapy because there are not many therapies that are underpinned by complex pharmacology interactions; but also provide the amazing psycho-emotional support that plays such an important role in managing so many pathologies.

We will explore a very different paradigm for the practice of aromatherapy, one that will help us re-evaluate the way we have been traditionally taught aromatherapy and also create a framework that will ensure aromatherapy will become a truly remarkable healing practice for the 21st century.


About Salvatore Battaglia

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Salvatore Battaglia has been passionate about natural therapies for most of his life. He holds qualifications in natural therapies, herbal medicine, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Salvatore’s dedication to aromatherapy has seen him hold positions in professional associations and government committees to ensure that the educational standards of professional aromatherapy are maintained and improved.

Salvatore has been teaching aromatherapy since 1988. He is often called upon to speak at international conferences about aromatherapy, running a holistic and ethical business and what it means to go natural and organic.

Salvatore has been an advisor to hospital boards and nursing homes to establish aromatherapy clinical trials for pain management, intensive care and depression and for the management of dementia and aged care.

He is the author of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, which was first published in 1994. To date, more than 130,000 copies of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy have been sold. In 2018, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Volume I – Foundations & Materia Medica was published, and in 2021 The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Volume III – Psyche & Subtle was published. Volume II – Science and Therapeutics is expected to arrive in 2023. The book is internationally acclaimed as the most comprehensive text book on aromatherapy. It has now been translated into Japanese and Korean.

Salvatore is the author of Aromatree in which he outlines a new holistic model for teaching and understanding aromatherapy. The Aromatree identifies the relationships that exist between the individual essential oils and the different parts of a plant such as leaves, roots, resin, wood, fruits, seed or flowers. He has also recently published Aromatherapy and Chakras, which examines the traditional healing practices and philosophies based on the chakra system, and how essential oils can be integrated into this holistic model.

In 1991, Salvatore created Perfect Potion. Perfect Potion’s purpose is to naturally enhance people’s lives through certified organic aromatherapy products, natural skin care and essential oils. Perfect Potion has been regarded by government and industry regulators as having established the benchmark for aromatherapy products in Australia.

Perfect Potion has enabled Salvatore to see his lifelong dreams come true – expressing creativity by creating a diverse range of holistic products and by creating innovative education programs to empower people to take responsibility of their wellbeing through natural means such as aromatherapy..

He shares his passion for the world, natural therapies and aromatherapy with his wife, Carolyn Stubbin, his beagle Lucy and cat, Abbey.

IFA Registered members will be able to view the recording in the members area - after the event