SGBF ~ Aromatherapy for Breast Cancer

SGBF ~ Aromatherapy for Breast Cancer

A few weeks ago, Sylla and I went to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center to speak at a Lunch and Learn event for stage 4 breast cancer patients. It began with each of the women (and one husband who was accompanying his wife) sharing where they were at in their treatment. We learned why some of them were excited about NED (No Evidence of Disease) and felt touched that we could be there to support those going through harder times.

It was particularly special for us because Sylla (my mom) is a breast cancer survivor. She shared about how she found that cancer was a great uninvited teacher, that “it wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her change her life.” Though she’s now 20 years with NED, she still carries those lessons forward.

Even before she found her cancer in 1997, Sylla had helped her friend who also worked at Moffitt with a program called “Look Good, Feel Better.” With a mutual background in cosmetology, Sylla and her friend would teach these women skin-care and make-up techniques so they can begin to feel better as they re-integrated into everyday life.

So we thought, why not call our talk this week “Smell Good, Feel Better,” since that is one of the guiding principles of aromatherapy. In addition to sharing with everyone a basic introduction to essential oils, we highlighted what they can do in their lives.

  • Use essential oils in the air to help keep air clean and help support the immune system. Since many cancer patients’ immune systems are compromised, and since most essential oils carry at least mildly if not more so antimicrobial properties, this simple practice can help suppress the chance of getting a cold.
  • Have Peppermint or Ginger essential oil in an inhaler or a drop on a tissue to ease the discomfort of nausea.
  • Topical blends with anti-inflammatory or analgesic oils can help with muscle aches and pains.
  • Use the oils to help create a positive mental attitude. You can pair a scent with a relaxed state and then re-create that state as needed.

We mentioned in our student forum that we were going to speak and a few decided to send us items to share with these women. It was soon after so only one box got here in time, but we got to leave them with donations from Terrae Oleum. It was a joyful experience to share our love for the oils with these women and their caregivers. The other donations will get used at a bigger event next month!

Since our students were right on the ball wanting to help with more donations for these cancer patients, we’ve decided to collect donations for their retreat in September for a project we are calling, “Smell Good, Feel Better.” If you’d like to donate manufactured, compliantly labeled items (these cannot be homemade), contact us.


End of Spring Sale!

End of Spring Sale!

May 1 marks the transition from spring to summer and we want to celebrate with some great deals on your aromatherapy books and courses. All of our books are on sale for May 1 and May 2. Everything is at least 20% off and some are more!

We’ve also extended the early-bird discount on our next live class, Aromatherapy for the Mind, until midnight on May 2. Check out the class and the sale products below and get in on this exciting summer deal.

Aromatic Spa Book


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Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual


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Aromatherapy Practitioner Course

from 895.00
Package Type:

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Aromatic Mind Book


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Natural Aromatic Materials, Second Edition


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Chemistry of Essential Oils Kit and Book


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Learn how to use essential oils for mental health in Aromatherapy for the Mind on May 7th in Tampa. Learn more about the class here.

Sign Up for Aromatherapy for the Mind Below

Early-Bird discount ends May 2 at midnight. 

Aromatherapy for the Mind Workshop


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Dreaming of Monoterpenes

Dreaming of Monoterpenes

A student writes about her experience learning essential oil chemistry. We love how she is using both educational materials and her own intuition to make chemistry as enlightening endeavor. 

Early this morning, I was aware that I was dreaming of hydrocarbons. Just the word, hydrocarbon, and then there was a line, and then I saw 5, 5, and then I woke up.

Hydrocarbons, two fives… what was I dreaming?

So, too sleepy to make my way to the kettle, I remained in bed and wondered. Yesterday’s revision came to mind. My memory is still hazy, I remember two isoprenes, and think of alkanes that have ten carbons, but are they two fives? And then I remember, two isoprenes make up a monoterpene, and they are C5H8. Five carbons. Two fives. Was I dreaming of monoterpenes?

I turned to my notes from Dr Pappas’ lecture series on the chemistry of essential oils. Yes, I have remembered correctly. Taking notes on the laptop is great. If I highlight a word and right click, I can press “look up” and the computer shows me a card with the meaning, and sometimes even a diagram, with a link to the wikipedia article. I’m taken to the one about isoprenes, and as I see the diagram of its skeletal structure I try to imagine how two of them would join and make a monoterpene. And now I have the Beatles song in my head, “Come Together” only instead of “over me” its saying “isoprene.” Wow. Have I officially become a geek? Well, if so, I’m okay with it. But I think I still have a lot of studying to do before the answer to that is yes.

I search to find out if there’s an animation of isoprenes joining, but to no avail. That’s okay because I’ve just opened my new chemistry kit flip book onto a diagram of an isoprene next to a monoterpene, and I can pretty much imagine how the two become one.

I love this chemistry kit. It arrived yesterday sealed up and packaged well. The package smelled of oranges. It’s got 24 samples of the main chemical constituents found in essential oils, and I’ve opened three of them so far, at random. One smelled like thyme (thymol, of course!), then there was one that reminded me a little of tea, maybe because of bergamot? It’s name is linalool. And then I opened one I didn’t recognise, it has a really long name and it’s an aldehyde. Well, that’s a lesson for another day.

I want to find out which monoterpenes have straight chains, because in my dreams I saw a straight-ish line. I find there are acyclic monoterpenes, and linalool is one of them. I decide that this is going to be the scent for the next few days. Looking in the flip book, I see that it has a huge variety of healing properties including antiseptic, fungicide, sedative… I think after the intense couple of days that just passed, new moon and all, it’s the perfect choice. Or I could go for citral, citronellal, or citronellol, which are also acyclic. I look in the flip book, hmm, it seems they’ve also got those healing properties. I’ll stick with linalool just because it sounds so funny.

This post written by our student, Mira Saad, who is currently enrolled in our Aromatherapy Practitioner Course

Order your kit today!


The Gift of Essential Oil Chemistry

The Gift of Essential Oil Chemistry

Sometimes we get excited about something only to find out it can’t happen after all. Ever felt that? But sometimes we come to realize we are getting something better after all. We just did.

As many of you knew, we had a “long shot, short notice” class with Dr. Robert Pappas. Dr. Pappas is a leading chemist in the field of aromatherapy and the founder/director of Essential Oil University. But after the initial announcement of the class, several unforeseen issues arose, and we quickly realized we had to cancel.

We had many already signed up and fabulous support from all over Florida and more! All have been refunded since the cancelation, but it is good to know that there is lots of support for a class on essential oil chemistry from such a knowledgable teacher.

If you don’t know already, the Atlantic Institute has a long history with Dr. Pappas. On our online store you can find two papers co-authored by Dr. Pappas and our director, Sylla Hanger. One is on Artemisia arborescens and its special uses in skin care, and the other is on the first known distillation and analysis of the essential oil of Eucalyptus camaldulensis, found and analyzed by the authors themselves!

If you’d like to learn about the personal history of these authors, you can read the story of how they met and started working together on Sylla’s blog, Vintage Aromatherapist.

    Leave your suggested question below!     Leave your suggested question below!

The BEST NEWS is we are planning an interview with Dr. Pappas in the new year in preparation for a more extensive workshop with him in Florida within the next year.

We are compiling a short list of questions to ask Dr. Pappas on essential oils, their chemistry, adulteration, standards and myths.

We need your help. What is the one question you would ask an expert in essential oil chemistry? Is there something he has not covered on his myths series or elsewhere?

Let us know what’s on your mind.

Please submit your question below. 

Name *


Another Turn of the Year

Another Turn of the Year

Many are celebrating Halloween this weekend, but we like to remember the more ancient meanings of this holiday. At the Atlantic Institute, we honor those who came before us with knowledge of the cycles of the year.

November 1 marks the halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It is when we descend into the darkest time of the year. Plants start to slow their growth and shed their leaves, preparing their seeds to lie fallow for the winter. What that means is that it is time for quiet reflection and going inward. One may start to look back on that past year’s activities and decide how best to move forward once the light starts to return in a few months.

Though our modern lives don’t necessarily have to follow these patterns like our ancestors, for most of us the holiday season keeps us so busy that we have to place a hold on many of our projects.

Just like you, we are taking the next few months and making plans to begin in the Spring time. We thrilled to see the growth of our staff-family and have new help with creating ways to better teach you the intuitive science of healing with essential oils.

As Sylla moves closer to retirement and Nyssa continues to build this incredible program her mother created, we are looking for serious students that may one day like to become an aromatherapy educator too.

Read about what it takes to teach aromatherapy and why we need more of you!

We encourage you to reflect on what your heart needs to blossom…remember that the greatest gift you can give the world is your own self-healing. Let us know how we can help.

Transform Your Practice with The Energetics of Essential Oils

Transform Your Practice with The Energetics of Essential Oils


Learn the intuitive science of healing


"Let your perfume become your medicine"


The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is thrilled to be pairing with Master Herbalist Peter Holmes (L.Ac, M.H.) for the Energetic Uses of Essential Oils workshop this Sept. 27-28!

The workshop will be at the fabulous Lido Beach Resort (700 Ben Franklin Dr. Sarasota, FL 34236).

Peter is a British-trained Medical Herbalist and practitioner of Oriental Medi-cine with over 30 years’ experience in using botanical remedies and essential oils in clinical practice. His accessible, experiential lecturing style will allow you to grasp a deeper understanding of this branch of aromatherapy, which will in turn boost your practice!

But why should you incorporate the energetics of essential oils into your treatments?

Here’s why:

Essential oils and aromatherapy are very complex, and they require a lot of study to understand the components and select the oils that will give your clients the best results. But if you understand the concepts of energy medicine and apply those to your selection of essential oils, you have a better chance of finding the right oil or oils to use for complex conditions.

This is especially true when there are mental or emotional issues blocking your clients from experiencing the positive effects of treatment. Finding one oil that resonates with your client on an energetic level can boost your results from “okay” to “excellent.”

In this context, essential oils are actually similar to acupoints and reflex zones, in that the oils are electromagnetic and governed by the universal laws of energy flow. You can use essential oil energetics both through inhalation and by applying directly onto body zones and points. Once put into effect, the oils will modulate neuroendocrine functions through neuropeptide activation without putting any strain on the digestive system.

The result? Profound energetic changes in the individual, which you can directly measure by changes in pulse, breathing, and the client’s overall complexion.

The seminar will include a fresh, dynamic approach to using essential oils for treatment based on integrated energetic principles—and the reasons why this approach works. Peter will also provide practical information about the energetics of essential oils so you can start using the techniques right away.

Energetics of essential oils are highly complementary to conventional aromatherapy, body work, energetic healing and so much more.

By incorporating energetics into your practice, you’ll boost your chances of seeing true and lasting change in your clients.

So don’t wait! Register here

More workshop details:

CEU’s are available for Florida LMT’s and A.P., D.O.M.: 12 CEU’s—CE Broker tracking #20-439918.

The basic tuition for the workshop is $325, with a Special Buddy Rate of $275 each for two (total: $550).

You can find information to register for group-rate accommodations by visiting this link

Class lectures will specifically include:

  • The Five Energetic Movements of essential oils and their therapeutic applications
  • The Six Fragrance Qualities of essential oils: the dance of energetics, pharmacology neuroendocrine dynamics
  • How to perform the clinically valuable Six-Condition assessment on a new client
  • The specific energetic functions and indications of over 25 major essential oils

 The schedule for the event is as follows:

 Saturday, September 27th
Class begins at 9:00 a.m., and attendants are asked to arrive early for check-in.
Come prepared for a full day. There will be an hour break for lunch, and you can opt into a prepared lunch on the registration page.
Class will end at 5 pm.

Sunday, September 28th
Class will begin at 9:00 p.m. and will finalize at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break will again be included.

For more information, reach out to the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy through our Contact form, or contact Patricia Ann Starr at 941-356-7768 or


Aromatherapy Beginner's Training begins Feb. 17 - CLICK HERE to reserve your spot! Dismiss