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The Aromatic Guinea Pig

I love aromatherapy. I love the reading and learning about it which is why I decided to go from hobbyist to professional, and pursue my certification. But for someone as auto-didactic as myself, getting back into the routine of homework to be assessed, was a little difficult. Having been years since I'd done anything more academic than brush up for a pub quiz, the first few assignments weren't easy. Then after finally finishing the first of several books of required reading, figuring out my professor's preferred format when turning in homework, and understanding the rationale behind turning in pages of a Physiology coloring book, I began to hit my stride, until the experiments began.

As a soapmaker, I'm generally making soap, herbal teas, or oil blends, but the sheer volume of things I had to make was a bit daunting. There were creams and lotions, salves and cerates, elixirs and melittes. I made them all. And with a plethora of products, I have become my own favorite test subject; an aromatic guinea pig.

My bedside table is full of pots of potions I've been rubbing, liniment I've been frictioning or oil I've been applying to some part of my body; and with each unit, that collection grows. It allows me to understand the benefits of each oil and it's fragrance. It teaches me things; like bay isn't just a fragrant leaf used when boiling crabs,but the oil can also as an insecticide for pests, a stress reliever, an antispasmodic and sedative for nervous conditions like epilepsy and convulsions.

It means with every new experiment, I get a front row seat. When it goes right, I'll know what I should use in my next pain potion. And when it goes wrong, I learn and retain more about what needs to be adjusted or omitted in the next formula. Soon I will be responsible for 50 case studies; pestering friends and families for conditions to treat, asking penetrating questions about lifestyle, prescription drugs and then crafting substances to treat it, And while I'm looking forward to that too, I know it'll be more difficult to get scientific feedback from others. It's like asking a real guinea pig how things are going and only getting that "whoop whoop" sound as a response. But that's part of the process too; learning to pose the right questions to elicit a useful a requirement of a certified aromatherapist. So, for now, I 'll continue to study, to experiment on myself and to compile information on how each substance works in preparation for administering to others. Until then,

I am guinea pig, hear me whoop!

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