Helen Nagle-Smith

Getting to Know a New Essential Oil

There are hundreds of essential oils available, yet for those of us who train as an aromatherapist we will have most likely learnt about just 65-70, so how do we get to know a new essential oil? In this session Helen will walk you through her process.

  • Subtle aromatherapy (e.g. What messages can we get from spending time smelling this essential oil? What questions should we be asking of it and how long should we work with it for?)
  • Botanical information on the plant (what clues does this give us?)
  • Traditional use / history of the plant (what can we learn from this)
  • Scientific information (e.g. chemistry so we can understand who it is safe to use it with & understand contraindications)

I trained under Gabriel Mojay at the Institute for Traditional and Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy, qualifying in 2006. I have had my own aromatherapy and massage practice since.

Over the years I also have worked on different projects in a variety settings including corporate massage, training special education teachers to use aromatherapy in their sensory classrooms, and offering aromatherapy to clients within a local Multiple sclerosis charity and a transition unit for teenagers with complex special needs.

For the last few years I have been co-writing aromatherapy CPD courses for The Well School and teaching. In 2020 I wrote my book Working with Unusual Oils Volume 1 which includes profiles on 18 essential oils not normally included in initial aromatherapy training. Since then I have written for several international aromatherapy journals (including peer reviewed ones) such as IJPHA, Aromatika, In Essence and Aromatherapy Today. I am publishing Working with Unusual Oils Volume 2 very soon and have more planned. Turns out I really like writing about aromatherapy!

  • ITHMA (London) Diploma in holistic clinical aromatherapy and therapeutic massage
  • ITHMA (London) Diploma in anatomy and physiology and basic clinical science

Also trained in acupressure massage and oriental body work, reiki (first and second degree), holistic facial massage, pregnancy massage, seated acupressure massage, no hands massage / beyond hands massage.


  • RSA in counselling skills
  • Sociology Degree

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