2005 was a very big year for me, and not just because of Hurricane Katrina! My big learning adventure began in January with a trip to the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico where I earned a Living Food Lifestyle, Total Well-being Education Certificate after 2 weeks of living on and learning how to prepare raw foods. In February, I went to Belize for a spiritual healing retreat with Rosita Arvigo, who apprenticed with Don Elijio Panti, a renowned Mayan Shaman. There I experienced the healing techniques of Mayan Abdominal Massage and decided to go to massage school so I could become a practioner and share this knowledge with the people in my community. But before massage school started, I went for 4 glorious week long Aromatherapy classes offered by Australasian College in Syros, Greece! There I learned about essential oils hands on and it was such a truly beautiful experience. We gathered our own plants, including thyme, rosemary, pine, and geranium, and brought them back to Dorene's charming home where Robert had set up his still and instructed us how to distill their oils. We were right there as the oil separated, experiencing the smells, visualizing the oil separating, and collecting them into our bottles to take home with us. The aromas and interaction with the plants permeated our being. We became intimate with the plants habitat, gathering them in the most incredible places: nunneries, abandoned estates, old watering and washing areas, on coastal pathways.....The island was a sea of smells and I still remember the syrup smell of immortelle that lingered the month I was there, even though the bloom was past its prime to harvest. Our days were filled with harvesting, distilling and learning, and our nights were filled with Greek language and culture lessons and nights out on the town. And, always, plenty, plenty of good, fresh food and spirits.
After 4 weeks of the most incredible interaction with the plants, their environment and their odors, I came back to the states and began my massage studies. In the midst of them, Hurricane Katrina blew threw and everything stalled, but I finally graduated in January, 2006. I picked up my aromatherapy studies again at that time, signing up for Aroma 201. I also began my certification training in The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Massage which I will complete in October. I opened my own studio in June of this year (2006) in my home in Abita Springs, Louisiana. I named it Regeneration Springs after the free flow artesian well that I have on my property. I have one of the few wells left in Abita Springs. At the turn of the century, there were plenty and they were known as the healing waters, and many people came here for cures.
Aroma 201 has been a valuable addition to my massage work. Abdominal massage addresses female and male difficulties, digestive and emotional issues, sacral congestion and low back troubles, and I can mix up my own oils to address each of these areas. The course comes with 40 essential oils to learn from and I felt that having a set number made it easier to learn the many aspects of essential oils: their habitat, how they are distilled, how they can be adulterated, research, organoleptic impressions, wonderful recipes for blends, etc. I now feel like I have a strong foundation for these 40 oils and for studying more oils, knowing how to approach them and to ascertain their quality, and how to make my own blends.
The picture above is of me in my home town. Check out my website at