Aromatherapist Marianne Bogolowski in the spot light – Long Term Care

Q1. How did you become interested in aromatherapy?

A. My mother received weekly aromatherapy treatments throughout the trials, tribulations and pain of breast cancer. When my mother’s breast cancer had reached 3rd stage, her aromatherapist asked me to massage her with a blend of anti-anxiety oils daily. These oils, applied with love and care provided tremendous relief both physically and more importantly, emotionally. During this difficult time, my mom suggested that I should study aromatherapy. I was a graphic artist and a mother of two small children at the time, so the challenge of going back to school seemed unattainable. However, because aromatherapy had such a positive impact on my mom’s end of life, the thought of being able to help others in this way overrode any misgivings I had.

Q2. What education did you pursue?

A. In 2002, I attended the Mohawk McMasters Complementary Therapies course for 3 months. The classes unfortunately were cancelled so I then continued my studies at the Balnea School in Burlington.

Q3. Have you pursued other studies since then?

A. In 2006, I studied medical aromatherapy under Dr. Daniel Penoel in France and I have also studied with Eve Taylor (considered worldwide as the pioneer of modern aromatherapy). I received a Healthy Breast Nutrition and Yoga Teacher Training Certificate, studying under Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur and have also studied Iridology.

Q4. You have a business called Aroma Care. One of your current clientele consists of Long Term Care residents. Could you give us your step by step approach to procuring these contracts?

A. Sure. What I needed was to gather and submit information to the health care facilities. So the steps went something like this
• Research, research, research – such topics as use of essential oils in chronic care for pain, anxiety, dementia, depression etc. Compile all of this information.
• Compose a cover letter with my logo attached
• Compose a fairly in depth outline of the benefits of aromatherapy and what I could provide the clients with – ie what I can do for you
• I arranged an appointment with the supervisor stating that I was interested in offering a program for the residents. I presented my “envelope” of information and briefly discussed the benefits of aromatherapy.I was asked to meet with the activity directors. I brought a power point presentation which was helpful in relaying the benefits of essential oils as well as the many ways the oils can help to enhance health both physically and emotionally.

Q5. Given that you are working with the elderly, I am assuming that you would not use a massage table. How would you provide aroma care?

A. Care is provided in an “as is” position, basically, wherever they are. Because many times they have difficulty moving and are unable to get up or even turn on their sides. I must accommodate for them in whichever way they need. I have a foot stool that I bring with me to each facility and it doubles as storage for all my different blends. In it I carry a foot spray, with approximately 5 different blends. For feet and lower legs I have the client elevate their legs so they rest on my lap. For elimination difficulties, I massage the abdomen in a supine position on bed. For shoulder and neck pain or headaches, the client would sit in a comfortable chair. This allows easy access for back massage.

Q6. Who determines the clients you will be seeing and how long are the treatments?

A. The activity director will inform me if someone is experiencing pain for example, and ask me to see them. As well, I will simply visit a resident and ask if they would like an aromatherapy treatment. (the answer is always yes)I have been approached by physicians and asked if there is anything I can do for a patient who is experiencing issues such as agitation or anxiety. Aromatherapy sessions provided by the chronic care facility are 15 minutes. If someone wants to have extra time, the activity director will talk to the family to see if they wish to pay for this extra time.

Q7. It is interesting that you are hired under the Activity Centre department could you explain this?

A. Yes, I think things are slowly changing in terms of aromatherapy being known as a health benefit but for now, chronic care facilities are more open and comfortable with offering aromatherapy as a “program”. As we all know, it will take time, education and persistent promotion to bring to the forefront the benefits of essential oils

Q8. What were the main hurdles to overcome and how did /do you overcome them?

A. Questions regarding fragrance and allergies……but I found that once I explain that the scent of the oils are not synthetic but rather a natural occurring aroma from plants all fear of allergies disappear. The other hurdle is always in play and this one is knowing when to stop and take care of myself. I also provide aromatherapy to staff members at the Oakville Hospital and I find that my thumbs ache due to the strain of massage. How I alleviate this is to schedule a massage for myself and to try to remember to check in with my body to ensure that I am not overworking or overextending my own body.

Q9. What is the most frequent complaint of the elderly client?
A. Pain.

Q10. What blend of oils would you use for pain for this clientele?

A. My generic blend would consist of peppermint, black pepper, ginger, clove, sweet marjoram a little juniper berry and sometimes german chamomile.

Q11. Do you create individual blends for all clients?

A. I create generic blends for specific health issues such as constipation, agitation and anxiety, as well as an anti-inflammatory blend and palliative blend etc. I also create blends individually especially when there are other health problems to consider.

Q12. What information is given to you in regards to the chronic care clients? Do you consult with nursing staff?

A. At the majority of long term care facilities, I can access the client charts. The charge nurse will inform me of the history of each client as well as any health issues. I chart in my own log book plus I chart in the resident’s on site file. Charting would include such information as blend of oils, any complaints of discomfort, changes in client demeanour etc.

Q13. You mentioned that you work at Oakville Hospital. Could you describe what you do there and what brought you there?

A. I work in the staff wellness program. This was a serendipity moment as I had scheduled an appointment with the staff wellness supervisor who arranged to have her assistant sit in as well. After discussing aromatherapy and the benefits, I offered a 15 minute shoulder and head massage. This was the turning point. After the massage, they shared with me that they had massages in the past but with aroma massage there was a sense of connection and mindfulness. I was hired on the spot. The staff wellness program now offers 15 minute chair massage to the staff. A department is chosen and posted each week, staff sign up for a time slot and I provide aromatherapy massage for 4 hours each week. This type of massage is strenuous as you are endeavouring to loosen knots in shoulders and upper back area and as I said earlier, can lead to achy thumbs.

Q14. What is the staff feedback?

A. Great! The staff love this – feedback is all smiles and positive. I receive emails from the supervisor passing on testimonials staff have written on how much they enjoy this and how it reduces stress.

Q15. Do you work alone?

A. When I started working in long term care facilities, I asked a friend Carla Piccolo, who is also a CAHP, to join me. We work as a team although we do not work at the same facilities. We practice aromatherapy at the Long Term care facilities and the Oakville Hospital wellness program. It is great to have this mutual support and we meet every Wednesday morning to discuss strategies, blends etc.

Q16. What inspires you the most in your aromatherapy journey.

A. Inspiration comes with each person. With each new day, there are new challenges, and meeting and exceeding them is what inspires me. To make another human being feel cared for, happy and comfortable is a great joy for me! I love what I do and I am truly, truly grateful for this humbling work.*Marianne has been invited to present information on the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils to physicians in the Oakville area. We hope to re-interview Marianne following this presentation for feed back from a physicians perspective.
Submitted by Ewanna Gallo. CAHP,  CFA Board Member

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