The Show Must Go On:
An Interview With Jo Kellett
It’s been said that the first rule of show business is to get off the stage while people still want more. Luckily for the world of aromatherapy, Jo Kellett followed this advice and left the entertainment industry to start exploring essential oils.
Jo has been a practicing aromatherapist since 1996. She has appeared on TV, is a published author and esteemed lecturer, and runs popular female-focused well-being workshops around the world. Women's health issues are one of her core focuses and a major passion.
As the current Tisserand Aromatherapy Expert, we asked Jo to tell us more about how essential oils have shaped her life. Here’s what she had to say.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do today and how you interact with essential oils?
My name’s Jo Kellett and I live and work in Brighton on the south coast of England, from where I run my business, From the Seed Aromatherapy. I’ve always had a fascination with how things smell - I was very drawn, as well as repelled, by certain smells when I was small. I had no idea that there was an interesting and fulfilling career ahead of me!
I trained to be an aromatherapist after a career change in my mid-twenties, at the Tisserand Institute of Holistic Aromatherapy. I went on to run a successful private practice and was asked back to the Institute to be one of their Essential Oil Therapeutics Tutors.
I’ve continued teaching alongside my practice and now teach at the postgraduate level (CPD). My area of passion is women’s health, but I’m an inclusive practitioner and I’m happy to treat anyone! I also work for an essential oil company creating their prepared blends.
What was your first experience with essential oils? Describe the moment you realized this would be a big part of your life going forward.
Before I was an aromatherapist, I was a stage manager in London’s busy West End. One spring I came down with a very nasty, flu-like bug. It was almost impossible to take time off as you were expected to work - “the show must go on”!
The wig mistress on this particular show used essential oils in her daily life and could see how badly I was suffering, so she introduced me to eucalyptus and thyme to help reduce my congestion. They were so good! At the same time, my flatmate was also using essential oils in a candlelit burner. I had had enough of the theater lifestyle and knew I wanted a change.
Being an aromatherapist seemed like a wonderful career choice! I’ve now been an aromatherapist for over 26 years. I really do love my job!
How do you personally use essential oils today?
I’m surrounded by essential oils; I use them most days for clients and around the house for myself and my family. I also work closely with a well-known brand to create their pre-blended products. So, essential oils are never very far away from most things I do!
What are things you think go well with essential oils? Yoga, meditation, dinner, drinks with friends, massage, etc?
As a practicing aromatherapist, I’m going to say massage! For me, that’s the most pleasing way to use essential oils. As you have the power of touch along with the power of smell, it’s a potent combination!
However, I also love using essential oils in a diffuser; it’s such an easy, yet effective way to use essential oils. Choose your blend, place the drops in the diffuser and just get on with what you need to do!
You can have the diffuser going on your desk while you’re working, in the hallway as you go about your day, and in your bedroom before sleep to encourage you to wind down. You can use your diffuser if you or someone in your family is coming down with a cold, and you can even choose a blend to motivate or calm you. The options are unlimited!
You’ve probably answered this question a thousand times, but what is your favorite oil? Why? What does it make you feel or how does it help you or your clients?
I do get asked this a lot. I often feel the need for different aromas depending on what or how I want to feel, but there is one essential oil I come back to time and time again, and that is neroli (Citrus aurantium). It’s steam distilled from the blossoms of the orange tree and, in my opinion, is one of the most sublime aromas out there!
It has a sweet, floral, creamy aroma with strong citrus notes. Just one tiny sniff and I feel happy. It’s used in aromatherapy as a de-stress oil and is also a wonderful skin tonic. I love to combine it in a blend with Sweet Orange, which is from the fruit, and Petitgrain, which is from the leaves of the orange tree. It’s such a wonderful, uplifting combination.
What is the most exciting thing happening in your field right now?
I love that people are becoming more engaged and taking responsibility for their general health and well-being. We all know we need to take more time for ourselves and prioritize our health. Essential oils, if used safely, can be such a wonderful way to do just that.
So many people are looking for ways to use essential oils in their daily life, whether that’s to make their own skincare products, use in a diffuser or add as a blend to their bath. I am a huge advocate of anyone and everyone using aromatherapy in their daily life, but this means that we need the correct information out there on how to use them safely and effectively.
What is the biggest mistake you see people making when starting out with essential oils?
Essential oils are effective, but they must be respected. Each bottle is a concentrated essence of a particular plant. Always follow guidelines and don’t think more drops will work better.
Don’t use them neat on the skin or drink them; there’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, and this is a good example of that!
Keep them cool and away from direct sunlight and use them within the manufacturer's recommended best-by date.
What tips do you have for people new to essential oils?
There are hundreds of essential oils out there, so start with maybe five or six.
Think about what you would like to achieve with your essential oils. Are you interested in alleviating anxiety or do you need help with your sleep pattern? Would you like to use them to help you feel motivated or relaxed?
Take the time to read about the main properties of each oil, what they do, and go from there. You can always build on your collection.
Where can people find you, and how do you like to connect with your audience?
I love sharing tips and ideas on how to use essential oils on my website or on Instagram. Head on over to my site to check out my blogs and follow me on Instagram, that way you can keep up with what I’m up to!
Anything else you'd like to share?
It’s great that so many people are using essential oils in their day-to-day life, but I would also encourage you to seek out a professional for treatment. A properly trained aromatherapist will give you a full consultation to assess your needs and tailor the perfect blend just for you. This is a truly wonderful way to experience the power of essential oils!
I really enjoy sharing my experience with professionals and enthusiasts alike, so I’m planning on running a new online Introduction to Aromatherapy course next year. Watch this space!
An aromatherapy expert with a real passion
Jo Kellett loves what she does, and her transition into aromatherapy has been hugely fulfilling. She’s passionate about sharing her knowledge and using it to enrich other people’s lives. Her expertise has also made her a respected voice on the power of aromatherapy for women's health and well-being.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about what she does and that you take her advice about incorporating essential oils into your life in a way that serves you best. Don’t forget to include those all-important aromatherapy massages either!