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The Aromatherapy Experience—Trends for 2023

Tuesday, February 07, 2023 7:46 AM | Shannon Bachorick (Administrator)

Anita Kalnay, RA®, EOT®

“All therapies and all knowledge will be absolutely obsolete. People need immediately exalted experience. And that is all human life is.”
Yogi Bhajan

The “me” mentality is perhaps being ushered in by the new Gen Z population. Not in a narcissistic way, but rather in ways that encourage and allow themselves to “celebrate themselves and participate in self-care.”1 The “time-out” that we all experienced through the COVID pandemic years definitely changed all of our personal patterns and gave us each more time to reflect and experience daily living on our own terms. 

It was also a time when the last of the boomer generation coincidentally found themselves at retirement age and handed over the baton to the next generation to manage in their own new ways.

And transition years are always tricky! 

Here are a few of these new trend highlights to consider:1 

  1. Self-care and the experience of taking time for yourself and participating in what is important to you is top of the list!
  2. Making trusted and personal connections with those whom you serve. As aromatherapists, we each attract our own client group and that can be quite different based on our area of practice.
  3. Hyper fatigue: The International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) report for 2023 highlights a focus on mental health and wellness. Although many of us might seek opportunities for escapism, we also seek connection and belonging. Consumers will want to discover more about how to protect their mind and body, developing a curiosity for spiritual and ritual practices as well as emerging wellness solutions that are on the horizon. 
  4. Environmental wellness: By finding ways to honour nature through our personal practices, service offerings and products. These need to align with our values. Our own personal integrity is surfacing as we learn to be open to sharing our authenticity without fear of repercussion or social abandonment. As aromatherapists, we are very lucky as the tools of our profession itself come from nature and we have a role to understand and advocate for sustainability. 
  5. Trust is the main reason why our clients support our efforts and value our products and services. We are creating a vision for the futuretogether—through our willingness to engage and prioritize what we value, including where and how we spend our valued dollars. 

I find it interesting to take a closer look at trends research as every new vision has a starting point of asking questions: who, what, where, why, when, how and what if.

Now is the perfect time to create a new vision for moving forward personally and with those whom we consider to be close, including our professional aromatherapy peers and associations who support us.

A few years ago I felt called to simplify the entire focus of my aromatherapy practice and just call it the aromatherapy experience.”

Encouraging and developing our creativity is also another area of unlimited potential.

“Our creativity will be our sensory system. And through this sensory system we will be overflowing with energy, touching the hearts of people, and feeling the feelings, and filling their emptiness.”2

The premise that creativity itself is a flow3of our most authentic energy in action is a “coming out,” if you will, and a willingness to present that side of ourselves through our interests, skills and priorities and how we use our most inspired energy in creative ways. 

One of the first authors to actually write about flow as creativity was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Also, the nature of kundalini energy is the energy of our most creative and authentic flow itself. And I can’t think of anything more creative than creating a blend for a client! 

The next 2000 years, according to Vedic astrology, reflect a transition into air as the dominant element. We are at the very beginning of this transition. Air rules vata in Ayurveda. Its main premise isconsistent inconsistency. It also rules the nervous system, which could take into account the more recent focus on mental health, emotions and nervous system regulation that many of us may be noticing in our practice. 

It takes risk to be visiblenot only to ourselves, but especially to others—and that’s where an understanding of the polyvagal system comes in. We need to feel safe to do that.4 

The premise of polyvagal theory is nervous system regulation. 

“Our nervous system is always trying to figure out a way for us to survive, to be safe.”—Dr. Stephen Porges

The autonomic ladder, as envisioned by Deb Dana (2018), is one way to visually represent these physiological states:

Parasympathetic/ventral-vagal state: Our centred, “true self” state, where all social interaction, connection and creativity occurs.

Sympathetic state: Feeling of threat or danger, and feeling the need to either fight or flee from a situation to seek safety.

Dorsal-vagal state: Our “freeze” state, when we feel our lives are so immediately threatened that we become immobilized.

We may have studied many of these topics either on our own or as part of our work as aromatherapists, but now we are being asked to intertwine our shared knowledge and take it to the next level! 

I am curious: how you are doing this?

Do you have a vision for yourself as an aromatherapist? How are you engaging the transition as we move forward and embrace new ways of working with our clients and together in teams?

One of the CAOA’s most useful discussions has been our Saturday coffee chats. If you haven’t joined in on one, it is a safe opportunity to share ideas, discuss issues and creatively think outside the box. 

And don’t forget to register for our upcoming spring continuing education event featuring Dr. Kelly Ablard and essential oil sustainability.5

If we want to have a preferred future for our organization and our committed role in society, perhaps we have to “dream it in.”

Please join us. Our association is here to support YOU! 

  2.  quote from the Vitality and Stress course manual.
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