Aromatherapy, Blog

My Aromatherapy Journey

My aromatherapy journey seems to have began without my awareness. Looking back, the seeds were planted in graduate school back in the early 90’s. I loved using lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in a terra cotta light bulb ring to set the “mood” for getting projects done and relaxing. They were great companions during those stress-filled years of studying and late night research papers while working full-time.

Fast forward to 1998. I was a working professional and a new mom. I decided to take an infant massage class with my then 6-month old son. Being a new mom, and wanting nothing but the best for my baby, I distinctly remember the warning and always heeded the directions of the licensed massage therapist when she spoke of essential oil safety with children and the importance of dilution.

The class taught us that only a few essential oils such as Lavender (Lavendula angustifoila) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), were recommended for such young children & to always diluted in sweet almond, jojoba or similar base oil for infant massage. Regular massages in the afternoon during his fussy time seemed to miraculously send him off to sleep. A drop of Lavender on a teddy bear in his stroller seemed to make trips to the mall less stressful for us both. A drop of Roman Chamomile on his crib sheet made for a great transition to a restful evening.

By his toddler years, there were no more infant massages for that busy boy, and my remaining essential oils were used to occasionally make bath salts and homemade potpourri. Gradually over the following years, the aromatic and therapeutic use of essential oils somehow slipped away.

That baby is now graduating high school and ironically, a few years ago a friend recommended the use of essential oils to set the “mood” to get his school work done. As a homeschooling family, it was perfect because I could pick the essential oils that appealed solely to him. He quickly found Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) seem to be the perfect pairing for him, supporting increased alertness & focus which can be a challenge when learning at home. We diffused each school morning using an inexpensive electrical wall outlet diffuser and with great success. Soon I wanted to explore more beyond these few essential oils that had proven so beneficial to my family.

Interestingly, the timing dove-tailed with my new mission to create a safer home environment by ridding my home of traditional cleaners and home fragrances. I had learned of the benefits of Tea Tree (Melalaeuca alterfornia) for cleaning, laundry and first aid, but still no real awareness of the huge range of essential oils out there that could bring my family to the place I sought.

A quick search of the internet soon revealed a massive explosion in essential oil consumerism that had apparently took place while I had grown oblivious. There was much information to find, but something felt unsettling.

Harkening back to that infant massage class, I recalled the licensed massage therapist and her message of essential oil safety. Somehow, that message was not lining up with what I was hearing from well-meaning friends and seeing on Pinterest and “natural mommy” blogs.

Being the “investigator by nature” that I am, I began to research and soon found myself enthralled in professional sources which had a message quite different than what was being populated on social media & in circles of friends. That digging led me to the knowledge of the practice of aromatherapy on a far greater scale, much deeper in time and across the globe than I ever knew.

It did not take me long to discover that the beautiful botanicals God gave us offer natural remedies & glorious aromatics, but …they must be used with care and in a responsible and educated manner. As a mom, I would be horrified to unintentionally harm my family while thinking I was doing something to help them.

I read a number of accounts by professional aromatherapists of this happening with the recent widespread home use of essential oils. Paired with those safety guidelines from that infant massage class in 1998,  I knew I had to become an educated user of aromatherapy.

My journey led me to discover AromaWeb and it’s fantastic directory of educators and schools as well as National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) which I used to research and dig deep and explore this incredible world of aromatherapy. I discovered many of our country’s earliest practitioners and international leaders in this field and followed everything I could by them.

After reading book after book and taking every free class and seminar I could find from some of these amazing educators and schools, I knew that I needed to move to the next level. As I knew I’d never want to stop studying and learning, it made the most sense to invest that time and formally gain knowledge from professional schools.

After a year of contemplating, I enrolled in aromatherapy school and graduated from The School for Aromatics Studies. I’m currently enrolled in their French Aromatherapy (Aromatic Medicine) course in addition to frequent seminars and webinars from with other outstanding professional aromatherapy educators. 

I am very excited about continuing my education and all that is to come as I explore this beautiful side of aromatic living. It truly feels like a brand-new beginning… even though looking back first steps on this path began 30+ years ago.

As anyone who knows me can attest, my passion for helping others through sharing, educating, facilitating and connecting them to the information and resources they seek has been lifelong.

One thing I hope my blog does is help everyone feel at ease in learning about the use of essential oil and in an authentic, wise and safe manner. As I have said for years, I care not what brand you use, only that you use pure, unadulterated oils, use them safely and guided by professionals sources both inside and outside of the US. The use of essential oils and other botanicals has a deep, long and rich history in many cultures and generations. We can learn from all of them.

xox, Hope Maria

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