AROMA ACUPOINT THERAPY
Aroma Acupoint Therapy, or AAT (as we like to call it) is a gentle, completely safe and yet profoundly effective treatment modality that utilizes the energetic potential locked within pure essential oils. Treatment involves placing particular oils on specific acupoints or reflex zones on the body in order to trigger energetic changes in the individual that will bring her back to a state of balance. Aroma Acupoint Therapy works on the basis of mutual resonance through the systematic and intentional combination of essential oils and acupoints, resulting in a more significant clinical effect than using either of these treatment methods alone.
HOW AROMA ACUPOINT THERAPY WORKS
How does Aroma Acupoint Therapy work? The basic premise is that essential oils, being energetically just as active as acupuncture points, have the ability to stimulate the points in a similar way as needles. However, the difference between them lies in the fact that unlike acupuncture needles, essential oils are also able to provide a content of information to the point that will suggest a particular type of therapeutic action. The basic aim is always to select an oil that possesses the same function as an acupoint; an oil that will activate a particular point function.
The mechanism of action at work here is unproven, as Aroma Acupoint Therapy is a very new treatment modality. Still, there are several theories that would help explain the bodymind’s often immediate response to oil-point treatment as well as this therapy’s longterm effectiveness. One is that the oils are able to activate peptides connected with the points that through the meridian energy pathways transmit the suggested action to specific target tissues, organs, and so on. The simplest explanation, however, is the universal principle of reciprocal resonance. Oils and points possessing a similar quality and function will energetically resonate with each other.
THE FRAGRANCE ENERGETICS OF ESSENTIAL OILS The basic framework for the use of essential oils in Aroma Acupoint Therapy is a clinical, empirical model of the energetic properties of essential oils based on their aromatic or fragrance qualities. The oils are broadly divided into high, middle and base tones, corresponding to their rising, circulating and sinking energetic movements, respectively. Within these lie the specific categories of their aroma qualities, such as Pungent-Fresh, Pungent-Spicy, Green-Sweet, Green-Lemony, and so on. So Rosemary oil (Rosmarinus officinalis), for instance, is a Fresh-Pungent oil with secondary Sweet and Green qualities. Every aroma category has specific energetic and functional properties that all oils belonging to it have in common. So Fresh-Pungent oils are generally stimulating, energizing, uplifting, awakening and warming. They are used in weak, cold and damp conditions with their typical symptoms of fatigue, cold extremities, etc. (see also below). Roman camomile (Anthemis nobilis), for another example, belongs to the Green-Sweet oil aroma category and is usually chosen for its cooling, relaxing, pain-relieving and centering effects that are typical of this category. Within an oil’s group function then lies its own separate functions, which span specific physiological actions, psychological functions through to spiritual functions. Any of these may be engaged during treatment.
THE TREATMENT SEQUENCES
Aroma Acupoint treatment consists of just one or two drops of an essential oil being lightly applied to the acupoint with a finger or cotton swab and held in place for a short amount of time. The practitioner will select one or more treatment sequences or patterns that typically involve activating between three and eight points. In the context of acupuncture, this may be optionally followed by needling the points. Although Aroma Acupoint Therapy lends itself beautifully to being used alongside these other types of treatment, it does not rely on these for its effectiveness and successfully stands alone as a method of treatment. The practitioner will choose to perform one or more treatment sequence per session. These are named after the most prominent symptom in the pattern, e.g. Racing Mind, Neck and Shoulder Tension, PMS with Heat, Emotional Withdrawal, and so on. They are organized according to an underlying syndrome of energetic or functional imbalance. The treatment sequences are specific to modern-day patients, their health concerns and their frank disorders. They are particular to what we actually see in the Western clinic day in and day out. Once the practitioner gains greater experience and comfort levels with the treament patterns, she will know when to modify the pattern to give a more individualized, client-tailored treatment. On the basis of increased knowledge of the oils on one hand and the acupoints on the other, she may select other point-oil combinations appropriate to the treatment.
The origins of Aroma Acupoint Therapy go back to Peter’s acupuncture practice in the 1980s when he became involved with Aromatherapy as it developed in England at that time. Realizing that essential oils were just as electromagnetically powerful as acupuncture needles, he began experimenting on patients by placing a drop of oil on a point instead of stimulating it with a needle. Many years of experimentation and observation then led Peter to develop the experiential model of aroma energetics for the essential oils described above. Since the early 1990s this model has formed the foundation for understanding the inner or energetic nature of essential oils and their effects on body, mind and soul. It is the cornerstone today of the energetic approach to using the oils in Aroma Acupoint Therapy.
In 2010, Peter began collaboration of his work with essential oils with Tiffany Pollard, a practicing acupuncturist and bodyworker. Tiffany’s multi-practitioner clinic in Washington allowed for the use of the oils on a much greater scale than ever before, involving their consistent use in treating up to 75 patients a week. This intensive, ongoing exploration of the clinical actions of essential oils rapidly generated a large pool of clinical experience that eventually led to the creation of the first Aroma Acupoint Therapy workshop in September 2011.