Understanding Complience in Aromatherapy Practice

Understanding Complience in Aromatherapy Practice

As a certified aromatherapist and instructor mentor, I have observed that one of the primary reasons a formulation may not yield the desired results is due to non-compliance. Compliance, in this context, refers to the client's adherence to the prescribed use of an essential oil blend. Even the most meticulously crafted formulation will be ineffective if the client does not use it as directed. Several factors influence compliance, including the client’s preferences, the method of application, and various sensory attributes of the product.

The Importance of Compliance

Compliance is critical in aromatherapy because it directly affects the efficacy of the treatment. A fantastic blend with therapeutic potential becomes useless if the client is reluctant to use it. Understanding the client's preferences, lifestyle, and environment is essential to ensure they feel comfortable and motivated to incorporate the formulation into their routine.

Factors Influencing Compliance

  1. Client Preferences and Environment

    • Understanding the Client: The first step is to thoroughly understand the client’s needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Tailoring the formulation to their specific requirements increases the likelihood of compliance.
    • Environment: Consider the client’s environment when recommending a method of application. For example, a diffuser might be suitable for someone who spends a lot of time at home, while a perfume roller might be better for someone constantly on the go.
  2. Texture of the Formulation

    • The texture plays a significant role in whether a client will use the product. Clients with skin conditions, for example, may find certain textures irritating or uncomfortable. Ensuring the formulation feels pleasant on the skin can enhance compliance.
  3. Packaging and Aesthetics

    • Packaging and aesthetics significantly impact a client's willingness to use a product. Attractive, user-friendly packaging can make a product more appealing and encourage regular use. Additionally, the product’s appearance should align with the client's expectations and the message it conveys.
  4. Aroma of the Formulation

    • The scent of the formulation is crucial. If the aroma is too strong, too weak, or disagreeable to the client, they are less likely to use it. It is essential to create a balance that meets the client's olfactory preferences.

Methods of Application in Aromatherapy

1. Aroma Sticks

  • Characteristics: Portable and easy to use.
  • Pros: Convenient for on-the-go use, discreet, and can provide quick relief.
  • Cons: Limited duration of aroma, may need frequent replacement.
  • Suitable for: Personal diffusion without being invasive in the environment.  Also, for busy individuals who need a quick and portable aromatherapy solution.

2. Steam Inhalation

  • Characteristics: Involves inhaling steam infused with essential oils.
  • Pros: Effective for congestion, fast relief.
  • Cons: Requires preparation, not suitable for all environments.
  • Suitable for: Mostly for personal home settings to use with minor congestion.

3. Diffuser Methods

  • Characteristics: Disperses essential oils into the air.
  • Pros: Continuous aroma release, can cover large areas.
  • Cons: Requires a diffuser, less portable.
  • Suitable for: Individuals who spend a lot of time at home or in an office and want a consistent aromatic environment.

4. Body Oil

  • Characteristics: Essential oils diluted in a carrier oil.
  • Pros: Nourishes the skin, suitable for massage.
  • Cons: Can be greasy. and leave a film if not prepared properly.
  • Suitable for: Clients who enjoy massages and have dry or normal skin types.

5. Body Lotion

  • Characteristics: Essential oils blended into a lotion base.
  • Pros: Moisturizes the skin, easy to apply.
  • Cons: May contain additional ingredients that could irritate sensitive skin.
  • Suitable for: Individuals with dry skin or those who prefer a non-greasy application.

6. Ointment

  • Characteristics: Thicker, more concentrated formulation.
  • Pros: Effective for targeted relief, longer-lasting.
  • Cons: Greasy texture, can stain clothing.
  • Suitable for: Clients needing targeted relief for specific areas, such as joint or muscle pain.

7. Aroma Patches

  • Characteristics: Adhesive patches infused with essential oils.
  • Pros: Continuous release of aroma, discreet.
  • Cons: Limited surface area, may cause skin irritation.
  • Suitable for: Individuals seeking a discreet, long-lasting aromatherapy option.

8. Foot and Full Body Baths

  • Characteristics: Essential oils added to bathwater.
  • Pros: Relaxing, beneficial for skin and overall relaxation.
  • Cons: Requires time and a bathtub, not suitable for all clients.
  • Suitable for: Clients who enjoy relaxing baths and have the time and facilities for such practices.

9. Perfume Roller

  • Characteristics: Essential oils in a convenient roll-on bottle.
  • Pros: Portable, easy to apply, discreet.
  • Cons: Limited to small application areas, may need frequent reapplication.
  • Suitable for: Individuals who prefer a portable and discreet aromatherapy solution.

10. Gel Formulation

  • Characteristics: Essential oils blended into a gel base.
  • Pros: Non-greasy, quick absorption, easy to apply.
  • Cons: May contain alcohol or other ingredients that could irritate sensitive skin.
  • Suitable for: Clients who prefer a lightweight, quick-absorbing product, particularly those with oily or combination skin.

11. Atomizer Method

  • Characteristics: A fine mist of essential oils dispersed through a spray bottle.
  • Pros: Easy to use, quick application, can be used on skin or in the air.
  • Cons: Limited duration, may require frequent application.
  • Suitable for: Individuals who prefer a quick, refreshing application and those who like to refresh their environment with a light mist.


In aromatherapy, our goal is to empower clients to take an active role in their self-care and health improvement. As practitioners, we play a vital role in initiating this journey by ensuring our formulations are not only effective but also user-friendly and appealing. By considering factors such as the client's preferences, the texture, packaging, and aroma of the product, we can enhance compliance and, consequently, the efficacy of our treatments. Through understanding and addressing these factors, we can better support our clients in their wellness journeys.


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