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Giant's Interview with Robert Tisserand By Gergely Hollodi

Pg. 16-22 10 minute read

We are so pleased to bring you another "Giant" in the 2024 Spring edition (11.1) of Aromatika magazine.

Gergely Hollodi had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Tisserand for our "Giant's" column. Robert is the founder of the Tissarand Institute.

How did you get involved with Aromatherapy?

My initial involvement was as a teenager and through my mother. She trained with Micheline Arcier, who had been a student of Marguerite Maury. She was taking clients at home while I was still living with my parents, so aromatherapy was happening in my home. The first time I heard the word was before she started her practice. I was about 15, and my mother was talking to a friend of hers about essential oils, and I asked them, "What's aromatherapy?" I don't remember what they said, but I found it intriguing. In May 1967, Mme. Arcier arranged a trip to Paris for her students to hear a presentation by Dr. Valnet. My mother returned with a signed copy of Aromathérapie, and I very quickly appropriated it. My mother didn't read French anyway, and my father helped me understand some awkward passages.

Where and who did you study with?

I trained in massage therapy at the Northern Institute of Massage, and I also trained in reflexology and touch for health. I have never trained in aromatherapy.

Who was your inspiration or the most influential person/people in the aromatherapy/aromatic medicine field, and why?

Dr Jean Valnet because, for the first ten years at least, his book was the only one on the subject that I owned. It was also the only book in print on aromatherapy in any language. I phoned him once in the 1980s to thank him for all his work with essential oils and to tell him how much I admired him. To my surprise, he had also heard of me and returned the compliments. The conversation was in stilted Franglais, as neither of us was very fluent in the other language.

What is/was your philosophy in teaching aromatherapy?

My philosophy in teaching is to communicate how essential oils and the human body/mind interact with each other. For me, it's not enough to know that peppermint oil is good for itch – I need to know why. This is an ongoing process of discovery since aromatherapy is a very new discipline compared to herbal medicine. To learn more about Robert Tissarand and his work, visit:

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