AIA Recap 2017

Just back from conference ready to share some highlights with you!!
We were intellectually & spiritually nourished at the Alliance of International Aromatherapy (AIA) Conference at Rutgers University School of Plant Biology in New Jersey- our host site.

Thank you to the hard working conference team of AIA for putting together a top notch speaker program, along with lots of fun! I am swirling with new and inspired ideas, with deep gratitude for our precious plant and tree kingdoms that nourish, protect, and heal us. Now these kingdoms need our protection, and this conference reaffirmed my commitment to practical and sustainable practices.

I deeply resonated with this year’s topic “Out of the Bottle and Into the Garden”.

The emphasis was on our sacred plants, the communities of people that harvest and distill them, our responsibility to be good stewards and protectors of these precious plants that offer healing to us.

I am a strong advocate to my clients and students that we need to revisit how to be present with the aroma instead of the “brand”, and the trend of “macro dosing” with essential oils in the USA is not a wise or sustainable approach to aromatherapy.

When you open your bottle and breathe the aroma, remember that you are interacting with the spirit of the plant.

I often am asked – where do you buy your oils? Rather, I long for someone to ask...

  • What is this plants gifts – what are it’s traditional uses?
  • How is the plant / herb / wood / fruit – different than the oil it produces?
  • Is this source sustainable and ethically farmed, are there practices in place to keep production sustainable?
  • Where does the plant grow?

We heard from experts like Marco Valussi, from Italy on quality and ethical issues of bringing the worlds medicinal plants to market. His work puts him on the ground in places such as Nepal and in the mountains in Verona supporting the people who are harvesting, distilling our precious oils like Spikenard from Nepal. To see their faces and how hard the work of gathering and distilling in the high mountain regions is eye opening. We learned about how they had to reestablish their infrastructure to gather and distill after the devastating earthquake suffered by the people of Nepal.
The essential oil industry brings both gifts and challenges to the people of Nepal as they rebuild their roads, distillation equipment, collect the energy (wood fires) to distill the Spikenard.
We often don't consider the human intervention and the sheer raw material required to fill out little brown bottles!

So next time you open your bottle- give thanks to the plant, the people who grew gathered and distilled it,  and the spirit of the plant for it’s gifts. It had a long journey to get to you.  Let's learn the stories of the plants!

If this re-connecting to the plant language really resonates with you, I invite you to join me at CenterPoint Massage School in St. Louis Park MN for a class I'm teaching called “On the Spot – Essential Oils for Mood Shifting”

Sunday, October 29, 2017 • 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Register by October 19th!

We will help connect you with your inner wisdom, listening to the plant / oils for it's healing messages to help bring  balance to your daily life!

Please visit CenterPoint Massage School's website to register for this class in advance. I expect this to fill up quick, plan accordingly!

My paraphrased take-aways from speakers–

From Nyssa Hanger of Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy - her talk titled “Lessons in Dialogue and the Future of Our Field”

  • Nyssa is a second generation Aromatherapist, daughter of the beloved Sylla Sheppard-Hanger.
  • She blends her education in religious studies and her Aromatherapy expertise to share her most valuable lesson learned from a document called “Dialogue Decalogue”, by Leonard Swindler – http://dialogueinstitute.org/

  • It’s like a 10 commandments for how to discuss sensitive “hot” topics to build bridges. Worth checking out, I can see how this approach to communicating matters deeply to the very passionate essential oil enthusiasts in our field!

John McGann PhD from Rutgers, Associate Professor of Psychology Behavioral and System Neuroscience.His focus is the olfactory system and how we perceive odors.

  • Our brains never stop learning new smells. This is important - our smell brain is not static!
  • Humans can smell “trillions” of odors. We really can smell as good as a dog! ( it just depends what you are smelling)
  • Use a variety of oils to stimulate brain activity.
  • For those working with the elderly to stimulate memory and improve brain functioning – this is an important piece I teach in our training programs. You need to mix it up! By using a variety of aroma’s, you wake up receptor sites and perk up the brain!

On that same topic – We learned from Doreen Peterson, B.A, ND,Dip. Acu. , RH, and President of the American College of Health Care Sciences - (of which I am proud alumni!)

Neuroprotective Essential Oils for Cognitive Enhancement and Alzheimer’s Support

  • Quite a bit of research happening in the use of essential oils for those suffering with Dementia and Alzheimer's. We have 47.5 million people living with this horrible disease, this number is expected to double every 20 years.
  • We can use some essential oils as neuro-protectives for cognitive enhancements.
  • Coriander – shown to improve short term and working memory!
  • Rosemary – Neuroprotective – improves the speed of recall, use while studying! She called me out to get those patches out there!!  (try the perk up patch!)
  • I could go on, but you have probably stopped reading by now! If you want to learn more I suggest you sign up for my Foundations Certificate course at Normandale Community College this fall – I’ll be updating the curriculum with new informatio. Registration opens soon, check the website for details.