NHS purchase orders welcome.  Address to Shirley Price
Aromatherapy limited, 8 Hawley Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire,
LE100PR and
kindly fax to 01455 615054 or email


The Distance Learning Course
(DLC) in aromatherapy has
been designed for aspiring
students who are not able to
attend the in-house training that
is offered by SPICA.  

The learning is assessed by
means of course notes,
background reading of
appropriate text books (many of
which are included in the
course pack although several
other books may need to be
purchased), and observation of
massage techniques presented
in video form.  The course is
presented in a box file.

The student will be required to
complete each module, of
which there are four, before
proceeding to the next one, and
will be required to submit
written evidence to SPICA as

A qualification in anatomy and
physiology is also required –
please contact us for a list of

Upon completion of the course
and assessment session, the
student will be awarded the
SPICA Distance Learning
Diploma in Aromatherapy.   
Students are advised to take
between 1 year minimum and 3
years maximum to complete the
4modules (5 if anatomy and
physiology is required).

Whilst studying the DLC you
are eligible to take out “Student
membership” of the
International Federation of
Professional Aromatherapists
(IFPA).  After completing the
course you may take out
“Associate membership” of the
IFPA, and will be eligible for
insurance cover.  This cover will
be the same as that offered to
full members of the IFPA, but
the premium will be slightly

Distance learning

learning leaflet

Q. How do I know Sp's products are good quality?
A.  The Sp staff's reputation is for providing the standard by which oil quality is set worldwide. In the
east one evidence is Sp's 5 STAR rating on the chinese online community Taobao compiled from the
votes of thousands of users over many years.  This is a better rating than Boots, Body Shop and
Neals Yard products which are also well regarded.  In the west there is Sp's 5 star customer service
rating on Amazon.  In fact our product service and quality is so good Amazon stock our product in
Amazon warehouses and provide free next day delivery which is handy if you need just a few oils.

We obtain ecocert certification for our organic oils and certificate of analysis from our suppliers for
every batch of oil.  However good the certification whether ORGANIC, FAIRTRADE and all the labels
consumers are bombarded with sight should not be lost of the fact that it is the date of distillation
which is the most important factor in delivering an effective essential oil and carrier oil.  

Many shop bought oils seem lifeless because they are well in excess of 18 months old.

Q: How soon will I start seeing results from using Shirley Price Aromatherapy products?
A: Some people see results the first time they use Aromatherapy and the Essentia skin care products.
If the skin has more advanced long-term needs, such as treatment of skin aging (Frankincense &
Argan), eczema (Special E) and acne (Special A), results may not be immediately visible; however,
skin health will continue to improve as you follow the advice of your professional therapist.

Q.  How are the oils used?  
A.  You will find the publications by our founders Shirley and Len Price very helpful to further your
knowledge particularly the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Workbook which was revised in 2000.  

Q.  Where can I find your oils locally?  
A.  Generally in pharmacies and organic outlets specialising in high quality research based skincare
products where the quality of the ingredients is of paramount importance.  Our distributors often also
distribute the other leading high quality brands like Neals Yard Remedies.

Q.  Where can  find out more?
A.  Here are the trade body websites.  Aromatherapy has come to be recognised through the
excellence of its practicioners as one of the core therapies of complementary medicine and holistic
health and beauty.  Indeed aromatherapy may be said to be a foundation therapy.

Q: What are the long-term benefits of using Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd products?
A: Plain and simple – better ideally good health.
When you are fit your professional therapist can more effectively address issues that may arise from
time to time, as your needs are constantly changing.

Q. What are essential oils used for?
A.  Besides the control of common ailments or the symptoms of health conditions, they are used in
the home and by beauty therapists to promote well being among their clients.  

Q: Why do I need a professional therapist?
A: For the same reason doctor and dentist check-ups are necessary: for better health which can
often be a matter of better nutrition or exercise.

Q.  I take regular medication. Can I still use essential oils?
A.  It is preferable to check with your GP first and then use them under the guidance of a qualified

Q.  I use a homeopathic remedy; do I need to take any precautions?
A.  Yes, strong smells can antidote homeopathic treatments, so as a general rule Homeopathy and
Aromatherapy  should not be used together.

Q.  I am eleven weeks pregnant and not sleeping well what can I use?
A.  There are a number of oils that can be used however you should seek the advice of a local

Q.  I have just been diagnosed as having cancer.  I would like an essential oil to help me relax what
can I use?
A.   Before using essential oils you must seek permission from your consultant or GP and then use
them under the guidance of an aromatherapist.

Q.  I have epilespsy and have heard aromatherapy can bring on a convulsion is this true?
A.  Some essential oils are very stimulating and can affect people suffering from epilepsy.  You
should ask your GP.

Q.  Can someone with diabetes have an aromatherapy massage?
A.  Yes if the diabetes is under control with medication or diet.  Gestational diabetes sometimes
occurs during prenancy and care must be taken.

Q.  Who purchases aromatherapy products?
A.  Consumers, people receiving aromatherapy treatments and needing oils for self use, carers for
themselves and people they look after.

Q.  Why use aromatherapy?
A.  Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy, essential oils are inexpensive, there are very few side
effects with aromatherapy, massage and essential oils can enhance and compliment the effects of
some ordinary medication so that less is likely to be needed or medication avoided altogether for
example in stress.  This must be done under the strict control of the customers medical practicioner.

Q.  How commonly is it used?
A.  Over 50% of the UK population uses or has used some form of complementary medicine.

Q.  What is the history of Aromatherapy?
A.  Clinical results and wellness did not begin with the invention of antibiotics!  Plants and the
components of essential oils have been used since records began and before. Much of medical
history and self help practice is taken up with phytomedicine and nutrition - the eating of fruit and
vegetables in particular.   Neanderthal man has been found buried with 9 medicinal plants including
yarrow.  I like to think of neanderthal man using rose water (easily obtained by adding rose petals to
the cooking pot) to flavour his meals.  

Herodotus records how Egyptian mummifiers filled the body with every aroma herb and essential oil
they could get their hands on as a preservative.  Many medicines have been derived from plants or
use synthesised active components found in plants.  Essential oils are mentioned in the Bible
particularly frankincense and myrrh.  

Essential oils are a relatively modern phenomenon and serve as a more convenient way of
accessing the chemicals in plants than boiling and macerating herbs though many prefer to use
herbs as well to be assured of their freshness.  Around 1550 there was an aroma boom in Europe
and the essential oils recorded and used in pharmacies increased from just 3 to 61.  Some essential
oils were used for their antiseptic qualities in the the first and second world wars particularly in
dealing with gangrene.  In 1835 an important book was published by Dr Charbenes on the
possibilities of therapeutic possibilities of the wide range of chemicals found in the more highly
evolved flowering plants.  What we call essential oil is in fact a cocktail of upto 200 aromatic chemical
components.  A leading figure in France Charbenes inspired the french scientist Gattefosse who
coined the term aromatherapy around 1928.  He revived interest in essential oils after accidentally
discovering the healing qualities of essential oils after receiving a burn.  Indeed they probably saved
his life as he describes the symptoms of gas gangrene.  

In the 1960s Dr Jean Valnet, a military doctor, highlighted the need to expand knowledge of natural
products and diet and moved aromatherapy from theory to documented medical practice.  His books
remains in print and led a movement for Doctors to become trained aromatherapists which is today
personified by Dr Daniel Penoel co-author of L'aromatherapie exactement.  Valnets book set the
format for subsequent books around the world.  

At the same time Marguerite Maury (married to a french doctor and homeopath and with clinics in
Paris and London) picking up on the application of essential oils in massage introduced
Aromatherapy Massage into the UK through beauty therapists.  Three of Marguerite Maury's
students in particular Shirley Price, Eve Taylor and Danielle Ryman (all alive and working today)
popularised and spread the treatment around the world.

Q: I have just heard of Shirley Price Aromatherapy -- how long have you been around?
A: SP’s story starts in 1974, when therapist Shirley Price founded Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd in
Hinckley England.  A talented public speaker and trainer, with her husband Len a chemist, she
became an international best selling author and co-founded the international trade bodies IFPA and
the IFA as well as the Aromatherapy Trades Council and more.  

The professionalism of the Shirley Price International College of Aromatherapy (SPICA pronounced
Spaika) stood out in an industry when western medical acceptance of complimentary healthcare and
aromatherapy was then in its infancy.  People were aware that the chemotherapy on offer by mass
western healthcare systems offered was getting miraculous results but at a price in terms of side
effects and was not getting at the underlying cause of their ailment or satisfying the individual.  Thats
where complementary therapy came in (or I should say came back in - during the 1930s pharmacies
offered products which were plant based rather than synthesised).  Now its as big as synthetic
chemotherapy again.

The SPICA college went on to found satellite training colleges around the world while skin care
companies seeking to supply high quality essential oils added Shirley Price oils to their listings.  The
factory and training workforce grew to 30 employees.  Shirley Price sold the college and business in
1998 and retired.  

The new owners acquired the well regarded Lothian Herbs Aromatherapy a complimentary business
with a strong export and retail brand and product range of quality conventional essential oils.  The
Essentia skincare range was developed into a full natural  skincare range.  The company's products
appeared in Boots, Sainsburys and Tesco.  The export business developed strongly.

Shirley Price Professional Aromatherapy continued to stock the finest essential oils for therapeutic
use as well as conventional essential oils and organic skincare bases and products.

Today in 2010 Sp continues to be export led with sales to over 40 countries accounting for over 80%
of sales.
The core clientelle of Shirley Price Professional Aromatherapy continue to be some 1700 practising
aromatherapists many of who trained with the company.

The company supports the bi-annual IFPA conferences with a trade stand.  The oils come from the
worlds leading essential oils agents with some oils sourced directly travels around the world to visit
customers and suppliers.

Q: Where are Shirley Price Aromatherapy’s products made?
A: We are proud to make all our products in our factory in Hinckley England.  All our products are
handmade so individually checked by our long serving and dedicated staff.  We ship from England to
over 40 countries around the world.

Q: Does Shirley Price Aromatherapy test on animals?
A: We are against animal testing and record this on our labels.  Historically toxicity levels have been
tested on mice by the regulatory authorities.  We have never, and will never, conduct animal testing.  
However our products are used on animals therapeutically.

Q: Is Shirley Price Aromatherapy privately owned?
A: Yes, Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd is a privately-owned company with headquarters in Hinckley
England and distributors and stockists committed to real aromatherapy in countries around the world.

Q: How can I become an authorized Shirley Price Aromatherapy distributor or independant stockist?
A: Certified professionals interested in more information about carrying the Shirley Price
Aromatherapy and Essentia product lines or training for IFPA membership can contact us.  We look
forward to hearing from you and meeting you very soon.

Q.  What is the trademark?
A.  We have a number of trademarks.  The principal trademark is Shirley Price Aromatherapy
Number 2495200.  
IPO Reference

The original 1980s lozenge logo incorporates the flower design.  In the late 1990s this changed to
the leaf logo which shows up better on essential oil bottles.  To guard against fabrication we are
always working on our labels.  The present Asia design made for Chun Hun of Taiwan incorporates a
leaf design and wrap around label.  

Other trademarks and labels include

Shirley Price Care For  2174765,
Lothian Herbs Aromatherapy
Essentia 1263514.

Q.  What are your plans for Sp?
A.  To sell goods as organic in the UK you need to be licenced by the Soil Association as Sp is. The
Shirley Price name and College is in good hands and only goes on products of the highest quality
fully compliant with our and international standards and which our handmade in our factory in the
United Kingdom.  

Q.  Where is Shirley Price?
A.  Robert Tisserand built an awesome organisation and then semi retired to California.  After doing
the same but selling the business in 1998 Shirley and Len retired to Southern France.  They still
write and update editions of their bestselling aromatherapy books.  

Q.  Why Ecocert?
A.  Most of our suppliers are of central european location rather than UK growers who are accredited
Organic Producers by the Soil Association.

Q.  How should I study?
A.  Aromatherapy is a core discipline and results in lifelong learning and enquiry.  Being a practical
discipline much of the learning outside the formal training comes from work experience and sharing
the experience of other practioners through annual meetings and those of the regional groups.  
Regarding the formal training my own advice is to take a concentrated 6 month course with of course
preparation before and followup after.  Those who study aromatherapy find this a period during
which their concentration and enthusiasm is the greatest. Certainly those who study aromatherapy in
this way do find themselves granted extraordinary enthusiasm and energy.

Q.  How do you advertise?
A.  We rely on the word of mouth recommendation of our students and that of our long standing
customers and distributors.  Thank you all.

Q.  Why dont Shirley Price Aromatherapy show up on search engines like google and yahoo.
A.  Its a mystery!  Spread the word!

Q.  Do you replace oils?  
A.  Yes there is a money back guarantee.  Of course things move on in our family of distiller growers
and we do try a few new oils from time to time if the distillation which involves an extensive team goes
'off'.  Here is a reply from one supplier to such a query over a sample of organic frankincense.  “The
odour of this material is correct. I can understand why they (and you) think it smells of petroleum. Its
a very strong terpenolic topnote but that is typical of Frankincense. There is genuinely nothing wrong
with this at all.”  This is a very well regarded supplier and it raises an interesting point.  Over the
years the noses in the laboratory have found what is acceptable to aromatherapists and their
customers so what might be a scientifically correct oil from a distillers viewpoint may not be
acceptable to all.  Whatever your view you can be sure of our guarantee and our best attention to
ensure it is not called upon!

Q.  where do your essential oils come from?
A.  Our conventional list contains oils from some 30 suppliers including the best regarded essential
oil agents in the world.  Each oil we select is the best of its type whether it be conventional or
organic.  as a teaching college we believe in transparency. Our students benefit from visiting the
growers and consumers take comfort that they can see the fields where the oils are grown and the
distiller if only online.  In the table of our conventional essential oils below we showcase some of our
suppliers with online resources.  Our organic oils also represent excellent value.  Sp can often buy
organic at the same cost as conventional.
Who founded Shirley Price Aromatherapy?

The place of founders Len and Shirley Price in the history of
modern aromatherapy

While Aromatherapy in its modern form started in the beauty
salons and rejuvenation clinics Len and Shirley Price brought
professional aromatherapy in the form of holistic clinical
aromatherapy to the fore.  Authors of books from coffee table
glossies to a heavy tome for university degree level study they
worked closely with educators and practioners in France like
Dr Daniel Penoel before retiring in 1998.  Shirley Price
Aromatherapy has continued their work training professional
aromatherapists in the UK through the Shirley Price
International College of Aromatherapy and though satellite
and correspondent colleges.  Shirley Price Aromatherapy
supplies conventioanl and organic aromatherapy oils,
skincare and special treatments like Chamomile eyedrops
through well qualified distributors to the highest standards in
over 40 countries worldwide.

History of modern aromatherapy

Find out more

Shirley  Price Aromatherapy   シャーリー・プライス
・アロマセラピー <エッセンシャルオイル・アロマセ
ラピー・トレイニングコース> シャーリー・プライス
く研究と開発を行っています。 当社のエッセンシャル
(ピュア)なオイルとして認められています。 シャー
願者を招き続けています。 また、シャーリー・プライ
スのディプロマは、International  Federation of
Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) により完全に認
います。  シャーリー・プライス アロマセラピーへ
Lavender in history

The ancient Greeks called the
lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian
city of Naarda. It was also commonly
called nard.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs
used in the biblical Temple to prepare
the holy essence, and nard is
mentioned in the Song of Solomon

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.

During Roman times, flowers were sold
for 100 denarii per pound, which was
about the same as a month's wages
for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from
the local barber. Lavender was
commonly used in Roman baths to
scent the water, and it was thought to
restore the skin.[citation needed] Its
late Latin name was lavandārius, from
lavanda (things to be washed), from
the verb lavāre (to wash). When the
Roman Empire conquered southern
Britain, the Romans introduced
lavender. The Greeks discovered early
on that lavender if crushed and treated
correctly would release a relaxing fume
when burned.
Chemical composition and antioxidant

The antioxidant activities and the
determined major components of six
popular and commercially available
herb essential oils, including lavender
(Lavendular angustifolia), peppermint
(Mentha piperita), rosemary
(Rosmarius officinalis), lemon (Citrus
limon), grapefruit (Citrus paradise),
and frankincense (Boswellia carteri),
were compared. The essential oils
were analysed by GC-MS and their
antioxidant activities were determined
by testing free radical-scavenging
capacity and lipid peroxidation in the
linoleic acid system. The major
components of the essential oils of
lavender, peppermint, rosemary,
lemon, grapefruit, and frankincense
were linalyl acetate (28.2%), menthol
(33.4%), 1,8-cineole (46.1%),
limonene (64.5 and 94.2%), and
p-menth-2-en-ol (34.5%), respectively.
The highest DPPH radical-scavenging
activity was obtained by the lavender
essential oil and limonene, with RC50
values of 2.1 +/- 0.23% and 2.1 +/-
0.04%, respectively.
Essential Oil chemistry

Essential oils are made up of many
chemical constituents. No two oils are
alike in their structure or their effects.
Below is a list of some of the main
constituents found in essential oils:

· Alcohols
· Aldehydes
· Esters
· Ethers
· Ketones
· Phenols
· Terpenes

Each of these can be broken down into
numerous smaller units. Take
terpenes, for example. This
classification includes monoterpenes,
sesquiterpenes, sesquiterpene
lactones, Di-terpenes, etc. Listing them
all is beyond the scope of this brief

Each constituent has its own action, or
effects. For example, the ketones
found in lavender, hyssop and
patchouly, stimulate cell regeneration.
Whereas, phenols, found in oregano
and thyme oil, are highly antimicrobial.

Because the chemistry of essential oils
is very complex, essential oils are
diverse in their effects. This also
supports their antimicrobial effects,
because the wide variety of antiseptic
compounds in essential oils makes the
mutation of microorganisms extremely
difficult. In l985, Dr. Jean C. Lapraz
stated that no microbe could survive in
the presence of the essential oils of
cinnamon or oregano.

Basic Chemical Structure

Essential oils molecules are made up
primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and

The aromatic constituents of essential
oils are built from hydrocarbon chains
(carbon and hydrogen atoms). They
are normally joined together in ring-like
chemical structures. The chains are
held together by carbon atoms linked
together. Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen,
sulfur, and other carbon atoms attach
at various points of the chain, to make
up the different oils.

The aromatic-ring structure of
essential oils is much more complex
than the simpler, linear
carbon-hydrogen structure of fatty oils.
Essential oils also contain sulfur and
nitrogen atoms that fatty oils do not

The basic building block of many
essential oils is a five-carbon molecule
called an isoprene. Most essential oils
are built from isoprene. This is the
building block that makes up the

When two isoprene units link together,
they create a monoterpene; when
three join, they create a
sesquiterpene; and so forth.
Triterpenoids are some of the largest
molecules found in essential oils. They
consist of 30 carbon atoms -- or six
isoprene units linked together.

Different molecules in the same
essential oil can exert different effects.
For example, the azulene in German
chamomile has powerful
anti-inflammatory compounds. The
bisobolol German chamomile also
contains has sedative and
mood-balancing properties. Other
compounds in German chamomile
perform still different functions, such
as speeding the regeneration of tissue.

This is because the chemical structure
of an essential oil determines its
function. Phenols generally create
antibacterial activity. Carvacrols have
anti-inflammatory activity and
Limonines are antiviral.

A single species of plant can have
several different chemotypes based on
its chemical composition. A plant such
as basil grown in one area might
produce an essential oil with a
completely different chemistry than
basil grown in another location.
Who are we?
Beginning life in 1974 Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd
has become a trusted certified organic manufacturer
and handler of aromatherapy products and skincare.
These products are made with fresh season pure
essential oils suitable for personal care and
aromatherapy use.

Shirley Price products are sold through
knowledgeable distributors in 40 countries

Who do we train? Shirley Price Aromatherapy has
helped over 6000 alumni of the Shirley Price
Aromatherapy College qualify as professional
aromatherapists.   Besides the accredited
aromatherapy certificate Shirley Price run a quarterly
program of CPD seminars at the factory in Hinckley.
T: 01455 615466

From its factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire Shirley
Price Aromatherapy provides training and ships some
10,000 aroma items a month for aromatherapy,
beauty and grocery.  
Click the picture to see helpful aromatherapy massage student revision massage videos