After graduating from Simmons College with a B.A. in Business/Management, I traveled to England to explore the part of the world my great grandfather came from. It was there in England that I finally found what I seemed to have been seeking most my life: a connection with the natural world. I was blessed to live in the countryside just south of London where I was able to be immersed in the natural world of blue bell forest, wild medicinal plants, and sacred trees.
I went on to move to West Sussex, England. During my initial time there I developed lower back pain that was almost debilitating. A friend referred me to her friend, Sophie, an aromatherapist. I was intrigued. Aroma what? I made an appointment with Sophie. Our first session took place in Horsham, England at a beautiful country home. We utilized an upstairs loft for the aromatherapy session. I will always remember the sun beaming in through the skylight, it was a glorious day in the English countryside.
Sophie talked with me about various aspects of my life and then proceeded to create a customized massage blend for our session. She then applied the blend via an aromatherapy massage. I fell in love with the massage and the essential oils. All I truly remember from this session is that I fell asleep while she was completing the massage. When I awoke the very first thought I had was “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!”. And although I rarely saw Sophie again, her impact on my life was great.
Within three months of this experience I was registered at Raworth Centre of Natural, Nutrition and Sports Therapies located just outside of London in Dorking, England. My instructor, Martin Stubbs, was amazing. His love, passion and commitment to aromatherapy overflowed into all of the students attending. After 6 months of full time training and clinic, I graduated with a Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy and Reflexology from Raworth Centre as well as the International Therapist Examining Board (ITEC).
I continued my studies in England (and for years to follow) with Jan Kusmirek of Fragrant Studies/Fragrant Earth in Glastonbury. Jan Kusmirek was truly instrumental in my development as an aromatherapist. He was a pioneer in exploring unique base materials for essential oil application, emphasizing that the medicinal benefits of the delivery system (base product) were just as important as the essential oils. He was also a pioneer in offering a full range of organic essential oils and other products solely for the Aromatherapy practitioner through his company Fragrant Earth.
After returning to the United States in 1991, in hopes of beginning my practice in aromatherapy and sharing this incredible therapy, I found instead that aromatherapy was not very well known. I was constantly being asked “Aroma what?” or “What is aromatherapy?” and it was then that my path in aromatherapy education unfolded. In many ways I believe that my path in aromatherapy was divinely inspired. It has been such an incredible honor to be a pioneer of aromatherapy in North America.
I opened one of the first aromatherapy schools in North America in Boston, MA called the “New England Center for Aromatherapy” and was instrumental in inspiring the creation and naming of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy after my own local organization, the New England Holistic Aromatherapy Association.
My school in Massachusetts grew steadily and we soon changed the name to the Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy (IDA). Dynamic Aromatherapy is still my passion for it is a field open to creative and dynamic practices. The school has since evolved into a collaborative educational center offering courses from leading educators in the field of aromatherapy including Cathy Skipper, Dr. Florian Birkmeyer, Roxana Villa and Nicholas Zemp.
Over the years I was blessed with much traveling, sharing my knowledge and application of essential oils. I was also blessed with studying Herbal Medicine with Erin Groh in WA state, David Hoffman via distance learning, and Rosemary Gladstar via 7 Arrows Herb Farm and Michael Ford. I have traveled throughout the United States, from Alaska to Florida and Massachusetts to California as well as international travel and have been able to explore aromatherapy practices and businesses in Canada (from Toronto to Vancouver), England, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan.
My education includes:
- Certificate Spa Bodywork Instructor Education: Anne Williams, Abingdon, VI, August, 2007
- Certificate of Herbal Medicine: Foundations, Erin Groh, Marysville, WA, Spring, 2004
- Certificate of Attendance, Purdue University, Advanced Essential Oil program: Part I, Summer, 1996
- Diploma of Reflexology, Raworth Institute, Dorking, England, U.K., 1991
- Diploma of Holistic Aromatherapy, Raworth Institute, Dorking, England, U.K., 1991
- Bachelor of Arts, Simmons College, Boston, MA, 1989
Locations I have taught at include:
- Bastyr University, Adjunct Faculty, Psychology Dept.
- 7 Arrows Herb Farm
- Boston Adult Continuing Education
- Duke University
- Aveda Institute (Chapel Hill)
- Ashmead College
- Ojai School of Massage
- Universal Companies
- O’Malley and Potter Inc.
- Dandelion Botanicals
- San Diego Hospice
- Green Touch
- New England Center for Massage
- Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics
- Miller-Motte Technical Community College
- Augusta School of Massage
- The Umstead Spa/Hotel
- Sage Aromatherapy
- Essence Aromatherapy
Our students have included: massage therapists, estheticians, social workers, psychologists, individuals interested in being empowered with their own health care choices, hospice volunteers, individuals wishing to create their own aromatherapy businesses, herbalists, and others interested in aromatherapy.
I have played an active role in the setting of standards for aromatherapy education in North America, and have authored published articles on this and other aromatherapy issues. My first textbook Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers was released by Prentice-Hall in September of 2007.
Between 2000 and 2003, I served as president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. During my time with NAHA I was invited to speak at the Aromatherapy Association of Japans conference where over 500 individuals were in attendance. During our trip there we toured Tokyo, Kyoto, and experienced a Japanese style aromatherapy massage. It was an extraordinary experience and one I shall always cherish.
I am a strong advocate for the application of natural remedies for self care healthcare and believe education is the key to self empowerment. I am currently integrating my love and passion for Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine into my work and practice. We will be offering more classes on these topics in the new year. I have been practicing and studying yoga for the past 4 years and am currently enrolled in Arjun Das’s Viver Ayurveda program.
Since the beginning of my career with aromatherapy, I have been a strong advocate for growing aromatic and medicinal plants, regardless of location. I often share my experience of living in Boston (Cleveland Circle area) in a studio apartment that had a fire escape just outside my front windows. There I planted in containers a variety of aromatic and medicinal plants which thrived. Since that time I have been blessed to own at least two acres of property and grow both food and medicine in our gardens. Building relationships with the many plants which offer up their aromatic liquids or medicinal properties for us to utilize for our health and well being, serves to deepen our relationship with the natural world and with our senses.
In my personal time I enjoy gardening, spending time with my son, reading and researching, making our own medicine from both herbs and essential oils, walking with my dogs, and just being outside in the natural world.
As an aromatherapy educator, activist, and practitioner, I offer an engaging, dynamic, and cooperative approach to insuring each student and graduate of the School for Aromatic Studies receives the highest quality aromatherapy education! Let’s connect on facebook.com/jade.shutes and facebook.com/AromatherapySchool, Linkedin and twitter.