Sitting in a semi-circle with two diffusers sending sweet scents of lavender and peppermint into the air, each person passes around small, dark bottles of essential oils. Several women in the class rub a drop between their hands and then cup their hands to their faces to experience each oil.
Jaime Smoody and Angel Hutchins work together to lead the class on dōTERRA essential oils at Empowered Wellness, a fitness studio in Rochester. Jaime and Angel have a friendship rooted in education and essential oils. Both are employed at Willow Creek Middle School: Jaime teaches 6th- and 7th-grade pre-algebra, and Angel works as a 6th-grade guidance counselor. Both Angel and Jaime are business partners with essential oils. “I’ve been using the oils for three years and building my business for two and a half years,” Jaime says.
In the class, Jaime and Angel take turns explaining the benefits of the essential oils we sample: peppermint, lavender, frankincense and melaleuca. Peppermint is beneficial for headaches and fevers because it cools the body. Melaleuca, sourced from Australia, nourishes the scalp and skin and can be used for mouth irritations. Frankincense is an all-purpose oil that can beautify the skin and balance the mood.
“I love to use the oils to make all of my own lotion bars, body butter, shower gel, household cleaners and laundry detergent, to avoid the artificial scents and additives,” Angel says.
Essential oils don’t just work for people; they benefit animals as well. Jaime tells a story of using the lavender oil on her dog. “My dog has allergies, and it really helps to calm his skin down,” she says.
Others share their experiences with essential oils. Some testify that they have used the oils daily to help with asthma; others tell of how they topically apply the oils to provide beneficial relief from pain.
Essential oils can be effective because they work at the cellular level to protect the cells in the body, acting as nutrients that penetrate cell membranes and fight against threats. The oils can be used aromatically with a diffuser, topically by applying directly to skin or internally by adding a drop of oil to drinking water or by taking in capsule form. Oils are powerful and potent enough that only one or two drops are needed but safe enough that there is no risk of overdosing.
“It’s not like medication,” Jaime says. “But if there ever were a topical reaction, you can just dilute it with fractionated coconut oil.”
Oils can be mixed together to achieve the desired response, and different oils can assist the body in the same way. Lavender and frankincense both can be used to soothe or balance emotions. Peppermint is often used to calm the stomach. “It just depends on what your body responds to best,” Jaime says.
And just like lavender, frankincense and peppermint, friendships, too, can be mixed together to calm, balance and soothe emotions. Jaime and Angela testify to that.
ALTERNATE ESSENTIAL OIL BRANDS
People’s Food Co-op of Rochester sells essential oils, providing SunLeaf oil reed diffusers, perfume, body oils and aromatherapy products. Visit the store or browse SunLeaf products online at sunleafnaturals.com.
Young Living also provides a large selection of essential oil products for wellness, home, beauty and balance. Visit their website at youngliving.com and connect with a local representative.
Kim Zabel is a writer and photographer. She also works with cancer survivors as a Livestrong instructor at the Rochester Area YMCA.