Aroma Qi Therapy and Interview with Terese M. Miller, DOM, CA

Aroma Qi Therapy is a modern blending of ancient Taoist philosophy and plant medicine.


Terese Miller, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Terese Miller, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Aroma Qi Therapy was created by Terese Miller, Doctor of Oriental Medicine.  Since plants and Qi are two of my biggest interests, I was eager to talk with Terese about her work. Below are some of my questions followed by Terese’s responses.

What has changed in your practice since adding essential oils into your work?

Everything. Immediately, being able to blend for my acupuncture clients was such a relief. The blends work so well for all the everyday things that I would normally have them taking herbs to resolve. People are so compliant with the aromatherapy because they like it, and it works and smells good!
Working energetically in treatment, the oils are such powerful allies to my clients and myself. The blends in particular bring a wise and loving healing presence of deep intention into an already sacred space.

Qi is often translated simply as “breath.” What is your sense of the connection between aroma, breath and Qi?

Qi is everywhere. Qi is the animating force. It is in the food we eat, the words we speak, the emotions we feel or won’t allow, and it is most certainly in the breath. Breath is vital to life as it carries the Qi of the air to our inner bodies. In an Eastern energetic sense, we experience respiration not only with our Lungs and diaphragms, but through our skin as well. Our entire being is involved in respiration. We are Qi absorbing beings. We absorb the Qi of all living matter to which we are exposed.
The aroma of an essential oil is but one of the aspects of its power. Even if you did not have a sense of smell, the breath and the totality of your being would transport the Qi essence of the living plant into the truest part of you, and you would be changed. A shift would occur in your body, mind and spirit in accordance with the inner wisdom of you, meeting the wisdom and generosity of the essential oil or oils.

Do you apply essential oils to certain points or meridians in the same way that you might use acupuncture needles to treat a point?

It really depends on what I feel called to do in the moment that I am sharing with my client. I like to take a blend to the body in the area that most needs it. The back Shu Points (Yang), and the front Mu Points (Yin) are convenient landmarks for making contact. I may take an oil or blend and add a few drops with a small amount of carrier in my palm and rub them together. Then find my front and back contact using my Yang (right) hand on the Yin (front) and my Yin (left) hand on the Yang (back). This is a very powerful contact for me in sensing all the movement that begins to happen, and the client feels cared for and held.

Do you find that using blends is more effective than using single essential oils to affect the meridian system?

I personally do. Whether they are Chakra Blends or Elemental Blends, I feel the synergy of the blend increases the power to move and transmute the Qi.

Could you give us an example of how you approach the classic western condition of Liver Qi?

Stagnation from the Taoist 5 Element approach using your 5 Element blends. For example, let’s say the client works as a Real Estate agent in a busy office. They have frequent headaches, grind their teeth at night, and have sciatic pain. They are sure the sciatic pain is from driving too much. They come to you as a last resort to clear up the sciatica since none of the other 8 doctors, physical therapists, or massage therapists have the ability to help them. How do you think about their situation and what might be your approach?
Again, personally, this client would be receiving cupping, needles, Cranial Sacral Work, possibly herb and some lifestyle counseling in their sessions with me because these are tools that I use. I would also use the 5 Element Blends.
So, for the sake of our conversation about 5 Elements Blends, I would most likely use the Wood blend. I believe these botanical elements are really adaptagenic in our Qi nature. Liver is the Yin organ of the Wood element. I would do the treatment I described above in the answer to question 3. The Liver Mu point is between the ribs, over the liver, on the right side of the body. I would hold the blend with a calming, balancing intention and wait until there was a sense of something shifting for the client. This could be pain relief, or it could an emotional release. Anything is possible.

I am very excited that you are now teaching your work! I know that you have been integrating Chinese Medicine and essential oils for many years. What is your vision for your Aroma Qi Therapy Program?

It is exciting and important for me to finally be able to share what I have learned. I am purposefully starting slowly. This first offering is really for anyone with an interest in 5 Elements and Essential Oil Blends that could balance them in a person. My intention is to convey a basic understanding of 5 Elements in the universe, nature, and human health and how this theory can contribute to a greater state of balance. I want students to understand my personal theory of the botanical relationship of the oil producing plants to the elements. It is that theory that is at the base of my blending. I am excited to share concepts of Qi and Taoism in a healing process “without borders.”
For the future, I am already looking at classes that would be longer than two days to go deeper into these very complex concepts of Taoism in treatment using the 5 Element Theories and the blends. I would introduce a process whereby the blends could be used with respect to the Nurturing and Controlling Cycles of 5 Element theory. This would continue to be intuitive work but with more information. Concepts of sedation and tonification would occur using the oil blend on “Antique points” instead of needles.
I intend to offer continuing education credits, etc. as time passes. These longer classes would be geared for professionals and entail some pre-requisite reading perhaps. I would love to keep you posted, Cindy. And a big Thank You for this amazing interview!

Thank you Terese!
What is the best way for interested people to contact you?

Aroma Qi Therapy Class information and registration: December 7 & 8 Aroma Qi class (Hurry, it’s almost full!).
Website: Essential Elements
Future Classes:  I will be listing new dates for this first class to be repeated in 2014 very soon on the website as well as AIA and NAHA Events Calendars.

Posted in

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Minta on November 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    SO informative….loved reading this!!

    • Cindy Black, L.Ac. on November 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      I had a great time talking with Terese – glad you enjoyed reading the interview. I can already see that her work is going to transform the Aromatherapy world!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.