Her Personal Aromatherapy Journey ~ A Wellness Arts Interview

Cha RobertsCha Roberts has been in business since 1999. She began as a massage therapist, progressed to become a colon-hydrotherapist and eventually became part of the teaching staff at the Fingerlakes School of Massage (FLSM) for 10 years. As part of her work there, she taught a 2-day aromatherapy course, Swedish massage and constitutional hydrotherapy. She left the school in 2010 to pursue teaching on her own as the owner of AromaEducators. Cha may be reached at (607) 331-6076 or by email at AromaEducators@gmail.com.  The website is www.AromaEducators.com and they may also be seen on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

What got you interested in Aromatherapy?

As a youngster I loved mixing up scented liquids with creams. Often a cream would lack fragrance and to enhance its smell, perfumes or fragrant oils would be added to create a lovely aromatic experience.  My first real use of essential oils occurred while I was a massage student at FLSM. A two day aromatherapy class was part of the massage curriculum and I was hooked.

After graduating from FLSM, I began co-teaching Swedish Massage and Constitutional Hydrotherapy. When one of the co-owners of the school, Andrea Butje, started the aromatherapy certification program I jumped at the opportunity to be in that class.  My initial training as a Certified Aromatherapist in 2001 eventually lead to co-teaching the very same aromatherapy class I had taken at FLSM.

My vision developed into creating a school to educate others about my passion; teaching students about the molecular components of essential oils and their use in Aromatherapy applications. My primary focus grew into providing information on the proper use and safety of how to use them proportionately in creating products. In 2013 I became certified to teach Andrea’s Aromatherapy Certification Program (ACP) that I had graduated from and in the 3 years since my first class in 2014 I have successfully graduated 35 students in 11 programs at my school.

 What has been the evolution of your business?

While working and traveling for many years, I considered the holistic health field as a second and chosen path. Once I became certified as an Aromatherapist (2001) with my teacher and mentor, Andrea, I continued advanced training through Aromahead Institute and Rhianna Lewis, owner of Essential Oil Resource Consultants (EORC) in Proveonce, France. Both are brilliant educators and have unique styles of teaching about essential oils and their chemical constituents that made it interesting and accessible.  Learning about Essential Oils and the possibilities of their use is deeply nourishing and my passion to teach and share this knowledge compelled me to continue studying with a wide range of Aromatherapy practitioners who are known in this industry.

The ACP is geared toward people who are interested in new and different possibilities in their life. Perhaps a career change or a desire to update their business skills is fueling this decision. Those in the healthcare industry may wish to add aromatherapy and essential oils to their practice. Many of my students are self-employed as distributors for Essential Oil (EO) companies who wish to deepen their knowledge about EO’s in order to support their own client needs and support their business savvy. A comment I hear often is “Wow, I didn’t know that” in reference to some surprising fact when research about an EO they were interested in is highlighted.

My students also learn there are 10 chemical families that we can study and that represent the entire world of essential oils. Each chemical family, in general, has their own therapeutic properties that are helpful. They learn many examples of this.

In the Fall of 2016 I completed a Certified Herbalist Program with Heartstone Herbal School in Van Etan, NY.  Adding this knowledge base to my own education helps to round out my awareness of plant medicine on a deeper level. Essential oils are from plants and they complement the herbal world so very nicely. I am appreciative of how powerful plants are and the role of both combined can be.

What has been your greatest achievement?

Learning how to teach has been a wonderful achievement. In truth, the skills I gained while at FLSM fully prepared me for teaching the aromatherapy classes independently. I enjoy teaching and I love learning. When I am teaching students and don’t know something, when they share something, I am always appreciative. I get a great deal of clarity in my own learning because I am teaching these classes.

There are times when a student is confused about a subject and I have to help them understand the concept at hand. This helps me realize I may also have some confusion around that piece as well. This kind of classroom scenario pushes me to clarify my understanding so I can explain it better now and in the future. But, the real bonus is that I actually “get” it, too.

What have been your greatest struggles, either personally or in business?

I work alone. It’s difficult because there is so much to do. Being organized and focused is a challenge. However, I do work with a phenomenal marketing specialist which is a major plus. I am beginning to seek assistance with others who do help me get better organized in other areas.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

When people come to the program, they are not sure what to expect. Then they learn it is a bit more work than they realized.  Anyone can pass this program, it simply requires confidence. Patience and commitment to achieve the end result will get them there. It’s not difficult, but a wonderful challenge and quite rewarding.

Sometimes I have a person in the classroom who believes they are not receiving enough information. I have come to realize with this type of individual there may never be enough detail to suit them. This class is deeper than most people know, but it is still a basic foundation course. They may have to wait until the next advanced class to find their answers. The training from this course allows them the appropriate terminology and skills to understand the next level of education to build on.

If you could have a Do-Over, what would you do differently?

I would have taken the Teacher Certification sooner. I had an opportunity to do this in 2009 and I didn’t take it for many reasons. When the opportunity came a second time, I jumped on it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Teaching more classes. I still see clients privately and I would like to devote myself to teaching only.

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