Aromatherapists - are you insured to cover all the essential oils you use?

I recently discovered after talking to a couple of insurance companies that offer malpractice insurance to aromatherapists in the UK that you are officially only covered by insurance for those oils you studied in your original course! Yes, it actually says "as covered in the course". Like me, as an aromatherapist you probably have experimented with lots of oils outside of the 40-60 you covered in your original training so what do we do in order to protect ourselves?

Ideally, you may have attended courses that discuss more unusual essential oils and achieved an attendance certificate but I would bet my bottom dollar that you have not done this often or for every essential oil in your box. I argued the case that in our aromatherapy training we are taught to understand the chemistry of our essential oils and can apply that knowledge to understanding the safety data for any essential oil - BUT how to prove that you have done it?

The answer is your evidence of continuing professional development or CPD for short.

Members of a professional association such as Complementary Health Professionals are asked to record 15 hours of CPD every year. 6 hours of this has to be face to face at a seminar, workshop or a therapy support group and you usually get a CPD certificate for this. The other 9 hours are to record evidence of other self learning and as practitioners, we are learning all the time in our practices. We created a log book for our members to record this type of CPD, which can be downloaded from our website.

So, for aromatherapists we strongly advise that you record the learning and knowledge you have attained on additional essential oils outside of your original training. This should be kept in a portfolio and also entered onto your CPD log, in terms of the hours spent on each oil. Then, should the ocassion ever arise where a legal lawsuit is instigated you will be covered by insurance for any oil you have used and can provide evidence of your CPD record. To help our members, we have created a template you can download to help you record your additional essential oil knowledge in the members area on our website.

If you are unsure of the essential oil list that you already studied, perhaps I can help a little. You can of course go back to your school and ask them for a list. If the school no longer exists you could ask your professional association for advice but these are the oils listed in the National Occupational Standards for aromatherapy and chances are you will have covered at least these (but maybe more):

List of Essential Oils generally covered in an Aromatherapy Syllabus:

Lavandula angustifolia Mill.

Lavandula x intermedia Emeric ex Loisel

Lavandula latifolia Medik.

Salvia sclarea L.

Origanum majorana L.

Rosmarinus officinalis L.

Thymus vulgaris L.

Mentha x piperita L.