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volant interview
Aromatherapist Lorrie Hargis

Jen Shepherd: A mental health aromatherapy pioneer

Jen Shepherd is on a mission to make aromatherapy part of your daily life. She wants you to recognise that some scents do a whole lot more than just smell good. They can boost your well-being in ways you didn’t even realise.

Jen Shepherd: A mental health aromatherapy pioneer

Ready to feel better physically and mentally?

Jen’s here to tell you how to do just that – and how essential oils can help.

Jen’s introduction to aromatherapy

Jen Shepherd standing beside essential oil steam distiller

When she was in high school, Jen’s father dated a herbalist. She was given an essential oil kit and a nebulising diffuser, which kicked off her aromatherapy journey.

As an undergraduate, Jen took a course called Human Health Possibilities which required her to read The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood. “I remember feeling overwhelmed by the number of essential oils and remedies,” Jen recalls. “During that time in my life, I mainly used lavender and citrus essential oils for scenting a room and to help on an emotional level.”

Despite this very positive initial exposure to the benefits of essential oils, she didn’t get serious about aromatherapy until later on.

volant organic lavender essential oil that promotes relaxation and better sleep
volant organic lavender essential oil that promotes relaxation and better sleep
organic lavender
volant organic lavender essential oil bottle packaging that promotes relaxation and better sleep
volant white diffuser using organic lavender essential oil promoting relaxation and better sleep

Organic Lavender Essential Oil

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volant citrus boost essential oil set bottles. Filled with all your citrusy favourites: Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, and our bestseller Energy.
volant citrus boost essential oil set bottles. Filled with all your citrusy favourites: Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, and our bestseller Energy.
volant citrus boost essential oil set packaging
volant citrus boost essential oil set packaging. Filled with all your citrusy favourites: Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, and our bestseller Energy.
volant citrus boost essential oil set bottles and packaging. Filled with all your citrusy favourites: Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, and our bestseller Energy.

Citrus Boost Set

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On the lookout for healing alternatives

When Jen started battling chronic health issues, she began investigating complementary and integrative medicine to help her heal. Talking about this time, she says, “When I started using essential oils more frequently again, it felt like coming home to something familiar and comfortable.” During this period she encountered essential oils in a professional setting. It was then that she began incorporating them into her job as a clinical social worker, and this led to her studying aromatherapy.

An essential oil for everything

Jen says that her primary reason for using essential oils is to manage pain but adds that they offer excellent support for her emotional and respiratory systems too.

“My favourite options are a diffuser, AromaStick or nasal inhaler, roll-on, massage oil, whipped butter or just dropping essential oils onto a cotton ball.”

She also likes pairing simple, basic, daily activities like praying, reading, studying, writing and even watching TV with essential oils.

Along with benefitting from their aroma while she’s cleaning, driving, hiking, working or trying to fall asleep, Jen also uses essential oils when she’s travelling. “I bring a little kit with me with all the essential oils ... and carrier oils that I may need.”

Go-to essential oils

According to Jen, while she has favourite essential oils, these really depend on what kind of day she’s having and a particular situation.

She’s quick to add, however, that she “really enjoys citrus oils, especially for emotional and mood support. I would say that my two favourite ... oils are probably bergamot and grapefruit.”

volant organic bergamot essential oil used to alleviate tension and anxiety
volant organic bergamot essential oil used to alleviate tension and anxiety
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volant organic bergamot essential oil bottle packaging used to alleviate tension and anxiety
volant white diffuser using organic bergamot essential oil used to alleviate tension and anxiety

Organic Bergamot Essential Oil

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volant organic grapefruit essential oil to relieve stress and rich with antimicrobial properties
volant organic grapefruit essential oil to relieve stress and rich with antimicrobial properties
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volant organic grapefruit essential oil bottle packaging to relieve stress and rich with antimicrobial properties
volant clay diffuser using organic grapefruit essential oil to relieve stress

Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil

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Dos and don'ts for using essential oils

Jen loves the saying, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” She also feels that some of the biggest learning opportunities in the field are concerned with global sustainability, proper education and realistic expectations. We picked her brain for some tips for using essential oils:

Don’t:

  • Buy more essential oils than you need
  • Expect essential oils to work miracles

Do:

  • Educate yourself about essential oils’ limitations
  • Learn about oils from reputable experts
  • Use books, courses, other online material, podcasts and webinars to expand your knowledge

She added that another saying she lives by is from Bob Ross: “We don't make mistakes, just happy accidents.”

Jen’s advice for newcomers

We were keen to find out what insights Jen has for new users, and we weren’t disappointed by what we got!

  • Focus on constantly learning. No one knows everything.
  • Start with less essential oils rather than more, and learn everything about each one as you acquire them.
  • Research the plants they come from, noting the extraction process(es) used and the chemistry of each.
  • Immerse yourself in each oil’s aroma and interact with it in different settings.
  • Learn from the best. Foster an approach and perspective that’s as well rounded as possible.

Jen also urges all users to not take the whole experience too seriously. She emphasised that you should always be having fun!

Getting in touch with Jen Shepherd

Head over to Jen’s website if you want to contact her, or use her LinkedIn profile to connect. She’s also on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Embracing aromatherapy for emotional well-being

It’s obvious that Jen Shepherd’s life is informed by aromatherapy and the enormous good it can do in the right hands. It’s the way she creates a stable emotional standpoint for herself and how she helps the people around her.

If you feel ready to start incorporating essential oils into your everyday life, Volant has everything you’ll need.

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