Just Add Essential Oils


Package from Barbara Switzer’s essential oils class titled “Essential Oils: Today’s Potions for Health & Well-Being.”

Lorrie Fisher, 45, who lives in Bozeman, Montana, was fed up with unnatural store-bought cleaning supplies. “I’m like ‘why am I breathing all these chemicals? Why?’ This can’t be good for me,” said Fisher. She conducted extensive research looking for a solution. 

The solution she found was essential oils. According to Healthline, “essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent, flavor, or essence.” They are often used for aromatherapy or as an alternative medicine. The global essential oils market is estimated to be worth $16 billion by the year 2026. People of all ages use essential oils for different purposes ranging from cleaning to pain management to creating a safe space.

Fisher started her essential oil journey seven years ago when she bought her first two oils, tea tree and spearmint, from one of her coworkers. For about three years, she continued to use oils for cleaning until she attended an essential oils class taught by her neighbor. From there, her love of essential oils grew to become something she uses “all day, every day.” 

Fisher said essential oils have changed so many aspects of her life. “I use it a lot for mood boost,” she said. For stressful days, she uses a combination of oils called an Adaptiv blend created by the essential oil retailer dōTERRA. The Adaptiv blend contains wild orange, lavender, copaiba, spearmint, magnolia, rosemary, neroli, and sweetgum oils. Fisher uses a variety of essential oils in her beauty products such as skin toner, sugar scrub, shampoo, and conditioner. She also cooks with essential oils. When asked about her current favorite way to use oils, Fisher smiled and replied, “all the ways.” 

Fisher has hosted many classes about essential oils. She enjoys teaching others about the products’ history and common uses. “I explain how things that we might be familiar with, like lavender or eucalyptus or rosemary, are things that we are familiar with by word but have more than just one common use,” said Fisher. She expands upon this by listing some of the uses for lavender oil. According to Fisher, lavender oil can be used for soothing a sunburn, flavoring food, and getting rid of the sting of a bug bite. “There’s a lot of different uses and that’s the part that blows everyone’s mind during a class,” said Fisher. Prior to the pandemic, she would teach “make and take” classes, where people would create their own essential oil sugar scrubs and take them home. She encourages people to be open-minded to the life-changing benefits of essential oils. 

Fisher’s enthusiasm for essential oils has influenced many, including her mother and father. Her mother, Barbara Switzer, 66, lives in Sheldon, Vermont, and has been using essential oils for four years. Four years ago, Switzer and her husband, Mike, went to Montana to visit Fisher. They usually go on hikes but were unable to do so this time because her husband had been experiencing knee pain from arthritis. “We got there and we told them right away, ‘we are going to have to limit hiking. Dad is going to have trouble even going for an after-dinner walk,’” said Switzer. Fisher suggested he try out some of her essential oils. He agreed to it, despite being somewhat of a skeptic. He began using dōTERRA deep blue rub, copaiba oil, dōTERRA deep blue oil blend, and vetiver oil. “And three days later, he was out walking with us,” said Switzer. After seeing the powerful healing effects, she began her own journey into the essential oil world. 

Another angle of the essential oils from Barbara Switzer’s class.

Switzer has continued using essential oils for a variety of purposes. Essential oils have become a part of her everyday routine. Every morning, she uses yarrow flour oil and pomegranate oil on her hands to prevent wrinkles, takes essential oil combination vitamins, and creates a flu preventative drink. Her flu preventative drink is composed of two drops of each of the following: apple cider, frankincense oil, oregano oil, dōTERRA ‘on guard’ oil blend, and wild orange oil. When ingesting essential oils, it is important to check the labels to ensure the product is safe for internal use. Switzer keeps a thick binder filled with hundreds of essential oil recipes for everything from a migraine cure to a natural bug spray. 

Although Switzer has only taught one class, she has inspired others around her to use essential oils. “I talk a lot. It is all sharing experiences and listening to people,” Switzer said. If somebody in public mentions of a back pain or other ailment in an everyday conversation, she will ask if they have tried essential oils and proceed from there. “I get so excited; I just want to share it with everybody,” she said.   

The love of essential oils extends outside of the Switzer/Fisher family and into the local Burlington community. Birdie Bergeron, 21, has been using essential oils for five years. “At first, I thought it was just kinda a hippy-dippy thing, and then I learned more about it, and my perspective on it really changed,” said Bergeron. “I started [using essential oils] when I was in my senior year of high school, and it was more just because I would get really bad headaches, and someone suggested it.” 

Bergeron utilizes essential oils to help create an environment for herself. She fills clay diffusers called love stones with essential oils every day. For her headaches, Bergeron uses lavender oil. “My mom never wants to come into my room because she thinks they’re too strong,” she said laughing. After using essential oils for a while, Bergeron noticed she was having fewer headaches and feeling calmer, overall.  “I’m definitely more in tune with my surroundings,” she said. 

Along with using them for herself, Bergeron also uses essential oils socially. She shared a funny story, pre-covid, about this experience. Bergeron hosted a party in her dorm room. She and her roommate had a bunch of people over. At the beginning of the night, they diffused orange oil and other bright fragrances. As the night carried on, Bergeron and her roommate wanted the party to wind down, so her roommate put lavender oil in the diffuser to calm the guests. “This other girl at the party pulled me into the hallway and was like, ‘is everything okay? I noticed you switched the oils to lavender, and I wanted to make sure you were okay.’ So, people do notice,” she said. “I like to use it to create an atmosphere and environment for myself and others.” 

In Burlington, she has found most people she talks to also use essential oils, which makes her feel normal. “When I talk to my parents about it, they’re like ‘you’re crazy,’” said Bergeron. “Most people my age are very accepting.” She encourages others, who have not used oils before, to consider them when creating a safe space or creating their own calm. “I think people should keep in mind that it is a tool they can use, maybe not even as medicine, but just like fragrance or whatever they want.” 

Although these three women have had positive experiences with essential oils, scientists are not convinced. “Currently, there is no evidence-backed research showing any illnesses that can be cured through the use of essential oils or the practice of aromatherapy,” according to an article by ScientificAmerican. “The results on the other possible benefits of essential oils as, for example, mood elevators or stress relievers, are more mixed. But most are still inconclusive.” 

While there is still a lot of uncertainty in the scientific community on whether essential oils work medicinally, many have witnessed their benefits firsthand, as shown by the people interviewed. If you are curious about them, do some research. Try essential oils for yourself and see what you can discover.