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New York City gets its first professional aromatherapy school

(Photo: Lallicare Day Spa)

Essential oils are about to be added to New Yorkers’ back-to-school shopping lists.

That’s because Buddha Nose founder Amy Galper just launched the New York Institute of Aromatherapy, and it’s already enrolling students for its debut fall semester.

The school, which is the city’s first professional-level education center for aromatherapy, will offer a 40-hour Aroma 101 course and an upper level 201 course in Aromatic Studies that involves about 400 course hours.

Both levels will allow students to declare themselves “certified aromatherapists,” with accreditation from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

Galper says the idea came to her while teaching informal organic beauty formulation and aromatherapy workshops around the city. “What I realized is that everyone in the class would come up to me and say that they wanted to learn more, but there’s nothing in New York, you can’t get certified here.” (The closest accredited school is in Ithaca.)

So Galper partnered with the East West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies to create a curriculum, and classes, which start in September, will be held at the Sixth Street Community Center in the East Village.

While many registrants will likely be aspiring natural beauty entrepreneurs like her, Galper says that aromatherapy is an incredible skill that can help in a variety of professions—from yoga and Pilates instructors to massage therapists to midwives and nurses. And she’s sure that New Yorkers of all stripes are ready for it.

“Aromatherapy is really a form of herbal medicine and healing and wellness. I think that before, people didn’t get it, and now it’s so much more a part of the lexicon of the wellness world.” —Lisa Elaine Held

Get a taste of the Institute’s approach at Essential Oils, Beauty, & Wellness, a workshop at YogaWorks Soho on August 18, 2:00-5:00 p.m.,