The Aroma 911 online course opens with a warm welcome video from our instructor, the Spice Mistress herself, Glynnis Osher. Through a combination of videos and audio, supported by transcripts and PDFs of the course materials, we work our way through three modules: Module 1 covers safety, chemistry, best practices, and the profiles of the course’s thirty-eight foundational oils; Module 2 covers first-aid recipes (including blending guidelines and dilutions), modes of delivery (e.g. hand/palm inhalation, diffuser), and additional first-aid actions to take in conjunction with aromatherapy; Module 3 is more focused on beauty and self-care, and ends with an invigorating meditation (which you can enhance with one of Glynnis’s anointing oil recipes). There is also a bonus meditation audio meant to help with setting your intention before daily self-care practices such as meditation and yoga.
Glynnis’s passion for aromatherapy is infectious, and her voice is so animated that frankly she could read me the telephone book and I probably wouldn’t get bored, so hearing her talk about something I was actually excited about (i.e. essential oils) was wonderful. In addition to being led by a fantastic instructor, I found the course PDFs aesthetically pleasing and easy to follow. In an attempt to save paper I copied the PDFs over to my iPad and made notes on them digitally, but if you were so inclined, you could make yourself a lovely printed Aroma 911 bible to use throughout the course.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the entire course, I think the part I liked best was Module 1, Lesson 2, in which Glynnis walks us through thirty-eight key essential oils, often elaborating on the information contained in the PDFs with interesting trivia. As I said in my previous post, there’s an overwhelming amount of information on aromatherapy both online and in books, so it was wonderful to have an expert distill of that into something more digestible. I also felt like I was getting the inside scoop, as Glynnis described many essential oils that I’d never heard of before – and may never have encountered had I just searched “aromatherapy” on the Internet.
My favourite newly discovered oil is Spikenard, an ancient, earthy oil often used for sacred applications. Spikenard is a particularly interesting oil for two reasons (beyond its enthralling scent): its history as a sacred oil illustrates how so many essential oils come with fantastic backstories; on a less positive note, Spikenard’s status as an endangered plant shows us why it’s important to research essential oils and their retailers before buying them. Through researching Spikenard I learned about issues of conservation and essential oil production, as well as alternatives to endangered essential oils. For example, if you desire an oil that’s endangered/not available from a sustainable source, it’s often possible to substitute another oil with similar attributes: an essential oil with similar properties to Spikenard is vetiver. If in doubt about a substitution, the Aroma 911 Facebook group is a fantastic resource.
During the time it took me to complete the course, I regularly posted in the Aroma 911 Facebook group, and always received quick and helpful responses from Glynnis. Admittedly the community isn’t that active, but it’s still great to have such easy and personal access to the instructor, and I did receive some good advice from another community member when I asked about a hair rinse for dry scalp (hint: rosemary is the key ingredient, but a few lovely blends were suggested). I may have completed the course – at least in the sense that I’ve now gone through all the materials – but I still have many recipes to try, and as I continue to grow my aromatherapy knowledge, it’s encouraging to know that I can turn to Glynnis and the Aroma 911 community for expert advice whenever I need it. This was an unexpected bonus to the course.
Another nice surprise was how much non-aroma-related self-care advice was included in the Aroma 911 course. Beyond aromatherapy Glynnis provides guidance on healthy breathing techniques and meditation, and gives other practical self-care advice. Of all of the additional knowledge that Glynnis shares in the Aroma 911 course, her ability to draw Ayurvedic principles into each lesson is, in my opinion anyway, most exciting.
Glynnis is a specialist in Ayurveda, which I knew very little about before starting the course, so I’ll keep my definition simple and based on how I experienced Glynnis’s use of Ayurvedic principles in the course. Many of her recommendations were based around the seasons, and on finding balance between the body, mind, and nature. Being relatively new to self-care (or at least effective self-care), I found Glynnis’s broad and inclusive perspective of aromatherapy (looking beyond the essential oils themselves) hugely instructive. Her knowledge has planted a wee tree in me that’s branching out in so many directions, and Ayurveda is one of them.
Knowing which aromatherapy oils to use not only for specific healthcare purposes, but also in specific seasons feels a bit like magic. It’s been wonderful to have an essential oil (or essential oil blend) for every occasion: waking up, focusing on work, unwinding at the end of the day, going to sleep . . . Beyond any science-based therapeutic benefits essential oils may have, there’s the joy one can derive from intentionally creating a certain energy in one’s space via a scent which helps to foster mindfulness and gratitude. In my fourth and final blog post, I’ll talk more about how the Aroma 911 aromatherapy course has affected my day-to-day life.
Essential oils used while writing this post: Thieves Oil diffuser blend (an ancient, divine-smelling recipe Glynnis has distilled from the many existing versions)
About the Author
Dana Jeanne Keller is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant who lives between Scotland, Canada, and Germany.
Her specialties are book publishing, film, folklore, the occult, and spirituality. Among other things, she enjoys yoga, meditation, and disappearing into nature.
Learn more: danajkeller.com