Sharing Uncommon Scents

Sharing Uncommon Scents

One might think that aromatherapists share some of the same sensibilities. Most of us are in this field because we want to help other people. We believe that plants have the ability to help us heal. What’s even more, we’ve dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of learning the art and science of working with essential oils. However, many who have been in our field for some time may also notice great disparities in how we use our tools, what we teach, and how we practice. Thankfully, there is something brewing that has the potential to bring our community together even more, while also exposing us to a much wider audience.

At the Alliance of International Aromatherapists Conference in Denver last September, we met and befriended two passionate women who are spearheading the first documentary about our industry. Angela Ehmke and Kristina Bauer have begun the tremendous task of putting together Uncommon Scents. They debuted their intention at the conference last fall.

Mark Webb’s Class in Atlanta

Kristina also attended Mark Webb’s enlightening class on aromatic medicine last October. Mark Webb completely supported this project and ended up bringing the community together even more.

Before we met for this class in Atlanta, Kristina and Mark decided to take advantage of having several well-known aromatherapists in the same room. They arranged for a panel to take place featuring Mark, Gabriel Mojay, Marge Clark, and our very own Sylla Hanger. Kristina and Angela arranged for a film crew to come and video this discussion. Additionally, they conducted some individual interviews with the speakers.

Though many of the students had already gone through three days of intense learning with one more day ahead of them, practically the entire class returned for the panel that evening. So many of us were in awe, witnessing aromatherapy history in the making. We gained so much wisdom by hearing our industry leaders speak about the state of aromatherapy, as well as where we’re headed. There was a strong sense of solidarity and hope present, despite the “good fight” against the bad marketing claims, over simplification, and commercialization that we all constantly face.

Funding This Project

The thing is, to produce the film, these women are going to need to raise a lot of money. Luckily, in our digital world of crowdfunding and close social media circles, meeting their goal for production can become a reality. The intention for the panel discussion and the interviews was to have initial footage for the film. It will also be part of a crowdfunding video for their major fundraising campaign this year.

But we wanted to give them more than that. 

Mark suggested that we also have a silent auction to help pay for the cost of the film crew. He donated several essential oil kits to the auction, and Marge Clark offered several of her oils. We were inspired to offer several books as well. Everyone got so excited, and bids went through the roof! By the end of the weekend, we gave Kristina and Angela enough to cover the costs for this part of production. They were humbled by their gratitude, not expecting such a flood of support. They thought our gift was the opportunity for the panel. We showed them how much we believed in them. We weren’t going to wait for their campaign to start to help fund them.

It felt so good to support them that we just couldn’t stop.

Bringing Us Together

The following weekend, we hosted Gabriel Mojay in Tampa for a workshop called “Harmonizing the Spirit.” Kristina attended as well, and we couldn’t help but prepare a silent auction for this class, too. Gabriel Mojay donated three of his aromatic sonnets along with original photographs of the plants. He also contacted Rhiannon Lewis. Together, they donated a complete set of back issues of the International Journal for Clinical Aromatherapy, along with recordings from the Botanical Conferences. With these and several other donations, we were able to raise another several thousand dollars.

Upon first meeting both Angie and Kristina, we knew they were our kind of people. We have a special place in our hearts for those who have a vision and pursue it—especially when that vision could help bring our sometimes-disjointed aromatherapy community together. 

As someone who’s grown up with a finger on the pulse of this industry through my mom, Sylla, I’m aware of how passion builds walls in this small community. However, last fall, I felt the presence a new generation emerging in our field. All due respect to those who’ve come before us, but it seems we’re learning to come together like never before. This film is just one example of that. Let it be known that our “elders” are leading by example.

Through these experiences, I see that we all share the common sense of coming together to support one another. It looks like this sentiment is not so uncommon after all.

Make a Donation

It doesn’t stop here, either. We’ve decided that we’re going to hold another silent auction at our Chemistry of Essential Oils class with Robert Pappas next February in New Jersey. Bontoux will be adding to our list of auction items. Robert Pappas has also agreed to donate something special from his personal collection.

More importantly, we urge all of you to consider supporting this movie. Click here to learn more and find their crowdfunding page.


This post was written by Nyssa Hanger, Assistant Director of the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.

We Are Setting Roots in South Carolina!

We Are Setting Roots in South Carolina!

The Atlantic Institute is growing!

We are happy to announce that we have a new instructor on board. The wonderful and talented Shellie Enteen will now be teaching our classes. Shellie lives in South Carolina but hopes to serve those seeking live classes in the Carolinas and Georgia. Massage therapists may recognize her name from her regular column, The Aromatic Message, in Massage Today. Since 2001, Shellie has contributed over 40 wonderful articles on all aspects of aromatherapy to this publication.

Shellie also hosts a weekly radio show on the Esoterically Speaking Network. On this show, she promotes using essential oils to help cope
with the current energies. She recently interviewed Sylla on her show, and they discussed what is going on in the field of aromatherapy. Check it out here. 


We thought we would put Shellie in the interview seat and ask her a few questions, so you can get to know her a little better.

Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy: How did you get started using essential oils?

Shellie Enteen: In the mid 1980s, I received an Aromatherapy Full-Body Treatment from a friend who’d studied in England and felt the incredible power of Lavender. Then I was introduced to Pat and Gerri at Nature’s Symphony and started incorporating them in my massage oils.

AIA: What were some of your first favorite ways to use aromatherapy in your daily life?

SE: Back then, I used them mainly for therapeutic results—for myself and for clients.

AIA: What is one of your favorite ways to use essential oils now?

SE: It’s hard to pinpoint one specific way, as these oils are in many aspects of my life now, including cleaning. I am a big advocate of perfumes, room diffusion, and recognizing the subtle aspects for all kinds of therapy.

AIA: Describe a favorite memory from your experience of teaching aromatherapy students.

SE: I have so many wonderful memories from teaching, but one that stands out is when I was in Dallas, TX, giving an Introduction to Aromatherapy class for LMTs. I was talking about Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). I mentioned in the “subtle” information [part of the class] that it helped relieve anger and that I personally felt that made it a good choice for clients with TMJ clenching. Unbeknownst to me, a student was trying out my theory with the bottle I’d passed around. She started waving her hand, and when I called on her, she revealed that she had been struggling with severe TMJ and the moment she applied a drop of chamomile to her joint area, the muscles immediately let go. It was quite an impressive demonstration for everyone.

AIA: What do you think is most important for new students to know?

SE: Apart from the basics of essential oil properties, methods, and safety issues, I think having a full understanding of the aromatherapy industry and how essences are sourced and created is important for students to be able to make wise choices.