‘In Essence’ Vol 12 No 4 Spring 2014.
Harriet Robinson talks to Surrey-based aromatherapy practitioner Carol Jordan about her long career in aromatherapy and what she loves about her work
Carol Jordan has been a qualified aromatherapist for over 20 years and has been a member of the IFPA since its inception. She is also a qualified practitioner of several other therapies, as she explains below. Carol currently practises both from her home in Surrey and at a local GP practice.
HR: Why did you decide to study aromatherapy?
CJ: I went to a talk on aromatherapy at our health club and, when I told my husband about it, he said “I think you should do that” and I agreed.
At the time there were various health problems around our family that I thought aromatherapy might help with. My five-year-old son was using medication for asthma four times a day, my husband had had a disc out in his back, my mother-in-law was bedridden and I had had a very painful shoulder for several months. All of us have benefited from aromatherapy over the years since then.
Qualifying in aromatherapy also enabled me to return to work but to work from home, building up my business while my son grew up, which was perfect.
HR: Why did you choose to study on an IFPA-accredited course?
CJ: I studied at the Raworth Centre in Dorking, Surrey over two decades ago. Raworth was an IFPA member school but no longer exists. I chose it because it was highly recommended to me and it was located only 20 minutes from my home.
HR: How have you developed your career since graduation?
CJ: I have qualified in several additional therapies since graduating in aromatherapy. I completed a one-year therapeutic and sports massage course with an osteopath – that was brilliant and taught me how to work without injuring myself. I also qualified in reflexology and became a Reiki master.
The next course was Counselling Skills, followed by training on Hot Stone Fusion for Massage and Reflexology, Temporomandibular joint disorders, and Emotional Freedom Technique. My most recent studies have been practitioner training for the Chrysalis Effect and as a Wellbeing Coach for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Fibromyalgia.
For the first 15 years of my aromatherapy career I practised from my home but I also had a practice in a therapy centre in Sevenoaks, Kent, for a number of years. For the past five years I have worked from home and also at a GP practice in Horley, Surrey. I also see around 20 people a week in various local residential care homes. Most of them are fairly young with severe cerebral palsy-type conditions.
I am currently the Aromatherapy Consultant for The Association of Physical and Natural Therapists. I have examined students in therapeutic massage and reflexology and taught revision aromatherapy and massage. I also teach Reiki. I have just passed 20 clients at Sussex Healthcare on to my student!
HR: What is it that you like about your work?
CJ: I absolutely love my work and, although I am nearing retirement age, I have no intention of giving up work because it’s so rewarding. For example, one of my clients is a young man with severe learning difficulties who lives in a nursing home. He is autistic, unable to speak and will not let anyone touch him, even members of his family. When I visit him he immediately puts his head in my lap and stays there for the whole time I am treating him, which is half an hour. Staff at the nursing home thought this was so remarkable that they videoed it.
HR: Can you tell us something about your special interests?
CJ: I suppose it would be my work in residential care homes. The clients I visit, mainly young and with conditions such as cerebral palsy, have to have everything done for them. Most of them are in wheelchairs and most do not speak. I also see two elderly people with Alzheimer’s. But I find treating all kinds of people very interesting – I currently have one client with multiple sclerosis who says I keep her going and that’s very rewarding.
HR: What are the benefits of being an IFPA member for you?
CJ: Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a conference for a few years because none of the recent venues have been particularly convenient for me. I do read In Essence from cover to cover and pick up information on oils for particular conditions – I enter all this information into my own oil glossary. I belong to the Sussex IFPA Regional Group and enjoy going to our meetings and networking with others there. We meet about six times a year and discuss a variety of subjects, usually involving essential oil use. I also value the quality of membership as I think that is paramount.
HR: What are your favourite essential oils and why?
CJ: I love vetivert although I have stopped saying this in my talks because people think I am rather odd! It reminds me of kicking through autumn leaves as a child. At the moment I’m also using plai a lot – I find this brilliant for pain. I choose my oils for the residential care homes using a pendant and plai comes up very regularly. I am allergic to jasmine and I hate ylang ylang!
HR: What’s the most important thing you have learnt that you would like to share with other IFPA members?
CJ: In terms of an aromatherapist’s working life I am very grateful for the advice given by an osteopath during the one-year massage course I completed. He taught us how to protect ourselves from injury when working by, for example, using tai chi stands such as lunging and standing with feet wide apart and knees bent; leaning into the move with your feet in the above positions; using your body weight because this protects your hands and never use fingers and thumbs bent back (I use my forearms and fists which also prevents overuse of the hands). This advice has prevented me from injuring myself for the past 20 years.
I have to say that I love my work so much that I am not retiring any time soon even though I turned 65 in December 2013!