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.
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
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.
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.”
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:
- Buy more essential oils than you need
- Expect essential oils to work miracles
- 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!
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.