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The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists

The foundation of the world's largest professional aromatherapy association

On 1st April 2002 members of the UK's three largest international aromatherapy associations merged to form a united representative body known as The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA). IFPA is a democratic practitioner-led professional association and a UK registered charity, and consists of over 3000 practising members worldwide.


Discussions regading IFPA's formation began in July 1999 by the Chairs of the International Society of Professional Aromatherapists (ISPA), the Register of Qualified Aromatherapists (RQA) and the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA). The planning process was subsequently directed by a Steering Committee consisting of the three association Chairs and their Vice-Chairs. Additional committee members from each association also played a key role, addressing a wide range of issues including those of the constitution, administration, education and training, public relations, insurance and publications. All those involved worked tirelessly to ensure that the amalgamation process progressed as smoothly as possible, and produced a positive outcome for both the practising members and the public.

Official Launch

IFPA's Official Launch was held at the Parliamentary House of Lords on 25th April 2002, hosted by Baroness Doreen Massey and opened by the actress Jenny Seagrove. Attending the celebratory event were guests from every sector of the aromatherapy profession and essential oil industry, together with leading lights in complementary medicine as a whole. The IFPA's acting Co-Chairs Linda Orton-Jay, Ian Smith and Gabriel Mojay each gave short speeches about the aims and objectives of the IFPA and the future prospects for the aromatherapy profession.

Founding Co-Chairs Ian Smith, Gabriel Mojay and Linda Orton-Jay
with Labour Peer the Baroness Massey and actress Jenny Seagrove
at IFPA's official House of Lords Launch on 25th April 2002

IFPA's Aims and Objectives:

• To advance the knowledge and practice of professional aromatherapy through maintaining and ensuring a high standard of vocational education as a prerequisite for individual membership of the IFPA.
• To publicly promote the professional practice of aromatherapy by its members.
• To regulate this practice in a way that ensures high standards of professionalism and safety.
• To encourage and facilitate scientific research applicable to the practice of aromatherapy.

IFPA is committed to the professional development of aromatherapy at all levels of government, and actively supports the parliamentary statutory regulation of the profession as the most effective way of safeguarding the public and establishing a common level of practice.

IFPA's Executive Council

IFPA's executive Council consists of a Chairman, two Vice-Chairs, an Honorary Secretary, a Treasurer, and 10 further Council members who chair subcommittees concerned with the following areas of concern:

• Education and training
• Accreditation and examinations
• Publicity and public relations
• Research and scientific matters
• Membership and regional group coordination
• International liaison
• Government affairs and regulation
• Publications
• Conferences
• The essential oil trade and industry

Membership categories

• Full membership — for practising aromatherapists who meet the full requirements.
• International membership — for practising aromatherapists who meet the full requirements and who reside outside the United Kingdom.
• Student membership — for those who are currently undertaking training in aromatherapy and who are not yet in professional practice, allowed for a maximum of three years.
• Associate membership — for practising aromatherapists who do not fully meet the requirements for full membership, but who are sufficiently qualified to be allowed a period of two years to undertake further training in order to meet them.
• Fellowship — awarded to senior members who have served the Federation or its antecedents.
• Honorary membership — awarded in recognition of services to the profession.
• Friend — open to those who are not in professional practice, but who have an interest in aromatherapy.

Requirements for full membership

IFPA's requirements for full membership are based on the standards of education and training established by the Council, as recommended by the Education Committee. They are founded on 250 hours of in-class training provided by educational establishments that are accredited and inspected by IFPA's Accreditation Committee.

IFPA's professional aromatherapy training standards

The therapeutic application of essential oils from theoretical and practical standpoints should consist of a minimum of 120 hours of in-class training. Instruction in therapeutic massage should consist of no less than 60 hours of in-class training, and studies in anatomy and physiology should comprise a minimum of 50 hours of in-class tuition. Each of these main components should entail extensive private study and practice additional to in-class tuition. This should include 50 hours of logged unsupervised massage practice and 60 hours of aromatherapy case studies. A further 20 in-class hours or equivalent of business and ethical studies is also required.

Clinical Audit

IFPA is committed to auditing and documenting all aspects of the therapeutic outcomes of its members' professional practice, including the rare occasions where there may be mild side effects. IFPA has initiated among its membership an adverse reactions reporting programme — so that we can expand our knowledge base in a way that further enhances clinical safety and best practice. At the same time, we hope to be able to further promote our gentle yet effective therapy as one that is increasingly employed in stress management, chronic pain relief, elderly and hospice care, and in health improvement and disease prevention generally. Through working to create a more cohesive, united profession, our intention is to underpin these applications with a broader range of practitioner-based clinical studies.

International networking: building a global aromatherapy community

IFPA is actively seeking to establish closer links with aromatherapy organizations and practitioners abroad. As a part of this process, it seeks to encourage its international members to form approved local branches of the Federation, so that the IFPA can truly fulfil its role as an international representative body for the profession. With respect to national aromatherapy bodies, IFPA remains eager to strengthen ties and exchange information — to work with its sister organizations overseas to further establish, on a worldwide basis, professional aromatherapy as a viable, respected system of modern natural medicine.

For further information regarding IFPA membership,
our annual conference, or our professional journal 'In Essence' contact:

IFPA Admin Office, 82 Ashby Road, Hinckley, Leics LE10 1SN, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1455 637987