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NAHA Beyond Aromatics® II The World of Aromatherapy V111 Conference

Posted on November 02, 2017 0

NAHA Beyond Aromatics® II
The World of Aromatherapy VIII Conference
University of Utah Conference Center
October 20 – 23, 2016

Review by

Sharon Falsetto, BA (Hons), CA,

Chief Editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal

Between October 20, 2016 and October 23, 2016, the University of Utah Guest House and Conference Center was immersed in a smorgasbord of aromatic delights from around the globe. Not only did the various aromas wafting along the hallways and lecture rooms of the conference center travel from afar, many of the attendees, speakers, and vendors traveled great distances, too: from Australia, to India, to Europe, and many places in between. Not everyone had such great distances to travel; a lucky few were local to Salt Lake City.  As for myself, originally from the UK, this time I traveled the relatively short distance from Utah's neighboring state, Arizona, for this convergence of aromatic noses and minds!

The Setting

The Beyond Aromatics® II Conference was held on one of the most beautiful campuses and surroundings. For those interested in gardens, the Red Butte Botanical Gardens were situated nearby. However, you didn't have to go far to find nature in all of its glory. The beautiful, tree-lined roads were just beginning to turn from their summer green to shades of red, gold, and yellow; pine cones were underfoot; I discovered some remarkable pine tree resin steps from the University Guest House; and birds and squirrels abound.

For those staying at the University Guest House, twenty-four hour beverages were available in a centrally located reception and lounge area where several conference attendees met up in the evening. Beverages included coffee, a wide range of herbal teas, iced water, and juices.

Throughout the day, all conference attendees were free (as part of their conference registration) to take lunch at the nearby campus cafeteria, a few minutes’ walk. Organic greens, salads, hot meats, snacks, desserts, and fruit were just some of the offerings available.

An Aromatic Bag of Delights  

 All conference attendees were treated to an overflowing bag of aromatic goodies on arrival (with their conference registration), some of which were still being packed by hard-working volunteers just minutes before registration officially opened. Inhalers, balms, oils, sprays, salts, and various other aromatic body care products were just some of the welcome bag goodies donated by vendors, sponsors, aromatherapy schools, and NAHA members. As if that wasn't enough to stimulate your senses, vendors from Australia, India, Europe, and across the United States tempted you with sensory pleasures each time you walked along the conference hallways and rooms. Given the more intimate setting of several vendor rooms, many attendees were lured into lingering longer at each vendor's table!

NAHA's Board and Team of Volunteers

The dedication of NAHA's board and team of volunteers in putting together this conference culminated in an amazing experience for everyone. Each conference attendee received a beautiful, full color Conference Proceedings as part of their registration pack, over a year and half of work and coordination between the editorial team of Kelly Holland Azzaro and myself, as well as NAHA President, Annette Davis and designer, Kelly Peak. The coordination of sound and video recording was orchestrated by NAHA treasurer Eric Davis and his team; the amazing and entertaining emcee Vice President Jennifer Hochell Pressimone kept everyone on track with lectures.   We cannot forget the NAHA directors and volunteers who gave their time each day of the event: Kelly Holland Azzaro, Leyla Bringas, Paula Begel, Rose Chard, Anna Doxie, Shanti Dechen, the Time Labs staff, and several NAHA members who stepped up, unasked, to work as a volunteer when someone needed a break. These dedicated volunteers often started as early as 7:30 AM and didn't finish their work until late evening assisting conference attendees with bookstore purchases, directions, conference information, and a malady of other queries that came up. However tired they were, each volunteer treated each query and question with warmth, care, and a smile. I was the volunteer in charge of author coordination and photography, and Gabriel Mojay also kindly offered his photography skills throughout the event.



Conference Presenters Far and Wide 

Each conference speaker had their own unique style of presenting: some were formal, some less formal, but each kept their audience's attention on the subject matter in hand, with facts, a laugh or two, and a passion for their subject of expertise. The experience and education of the range of speakers clearly shone in each of their topics. Presenters included:

• those from the medical community: Jean Bokelmann, MD, Amy Chadwick, MD, Dr. Pejman Katiraei, Dr. Laramie Wheeler, Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapps Hayes
• long-time aromatherapy pioneers and favorites: Robert Tisserand, Jade Shutes, Gabriel Mojay, Valerie Cooksley, Mindy Green, Annette Davis and Mark Webb
• perfumery aficionado Roxana Villa with her stunningly artistic and visual presentation, and artisan distiller Eric Scott Bresselsmith’s live essential oil co-distillation of juniper and sage.

A Wide Range of Aromatherapy Topics

As if the experience and education of conference speakers wasn't impressive enough, the range of topics covered also stretched far and wide including:

• Animal aromatherapy with Kelly Holland Azzaro
• Aromatherapy in pregnancy with Amber Duncan
• Fertility with aromatherapy with Rachel Koenig
• Custom blending techniques with Jennifer Hochell Pressimone
• Alchemy and medicine of the soul with Cathy Skipper (and Florian Birkmayer)
• Clinical phyto-aromatherapy with Annette Davis
• Aromatic medicine with Jade Shutes
• Sales strategies with Elizabeth Ashley and
• Using aromatherapy to empower human trafficking victims with Karey Shane.

Essential Oil Distillation Event

On Thursday evening, many conference attendees took the short campus bus ride to the nearby Sunnyside Park to experience an essential oil distillation with Eric Bresselsmith, an artisan essential oil distiller based in southern Utah. For many, it was their first experience of observing how plant material is distilled into the essential oils used by people around the world. Although the distillation process takes hours to complete (from set up to final distillate), the “snap shot” experience was enough to ignite that aromatic passion and magic created by the plants! Participants were invited by Eric to come up close and each observe the magical drip of oil into the collecting vessel. The co-distillation of juniper and sage wafting on the night air as the sun set behind us was quite a unique affair.

The Conference Gala Dinner

Following Thursday evening's experience, Friday evening was an event of a different style. The conference gala dinner was held on campus in the Rice-Eccles Stadium. I have to admit that having dinner in a football stadium did not initially “wow” me. However, after exiting the elevator on the fourth floor of the stadium, and faced with a 180 degree of the city just as the sun was setting on a spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountains, immediately accelerated my “wow” factor!   

The view was not the only star of the evening's show. Following a beautiful dinner (and a dessert or two), the keynote speaker for the event, Dr. Habib Sadeghi, motivated conference attendees with his exceptional speech of encouragement to “Speak out! Speak out! Speak Out!” Dr. Sadeghi donated the ‘Love’ buttons to the conference goody bags; these were worn by attendees during the conference – and  the love was certainly felt throughout the entire event!

Bonus Viewing of Uncommon Scents Movie

Conference attendees were treated to a sneak peak of a small portion of finished film for the Uncommon Scents Movie. Written by Kristina Bauer and directed by Angela Jensen Ehmke, the movie is a documentary of a series of interviews with reputable aromatherapy experts discussing the field of aromatherapy as it has emerged, grown, and is understood. Live filming of the movie was also conducted on campus throughout the conference.

Conference Bookstore and Author Signing

Throughout the conference, books of various speakers were available for purchase from the NAHA bookstore. Although an author signing was scheduled for the close of the conference on Sunday afternoon, most books were sold out within the first couple of days! However, several people returned on Sunday afternoon to have their book signed by authors such as Robert Tisserand, Gabriel Mojay, Cathy Skipper, and Valerie Cooksley. I myself was signing books (of my published book) and checking people out at the same time, a source of fun for some!

Post-Conference Workshops

Although the conference closed on Sunday evening, many attendees stayed for the post-conference workshop of either Mark Webb (Aromatic Medicine) or Cathy Skipper* (Alchemy and Medicine of the Soul) on Monday. It was with sad goodbyes that lingering conference attendees left on Tuesday morning.

*Cathy was to be presenting with Florian Birkmayer who sadly couldn't make it at the last minute.

Aromatics and Beyond...

It's estimated that over 70% of conference attendees were new to the world of aromatherapy and that this conference was possibly their first experience to the world of aromatherapy. I think that I speak for many when I say that the experience was one filled with moments and a growing community: Moments of connection; moments of tears; moments of smiles; moments of laughter; moments of inspiration; moments of friendships – both old and new; and moments of passion and love for these sensual gifts, the plants, that united several hundred people for four incredible days in Utah.

See you next time!* 

*The NAHA Beyond Aromatics® Conference is held every two years. The next conference is scheduled for October 24-27, 2018.  Visit www.nahaconference.com for future updates.

About Sharon Falsetto:

  Sharon Falsetto is a UK-certified clinical aromatherapist. She has been living in the United States since 2006 and is the founder of Sedona Aromatherapie LLC. Sharon offers a home study aromatherapy education program: The NAHA approved Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program. Sharon has written professionally since 2008, and she has written and edited books, courses, e-books, articles, and corporate literature for both start-up and established aromatherapy businesses. She has been retained as an aromatherapy consultant by many businesses. Sharon also offers a custom aromatherapy blending service from her home studio in Sedona, Arizona, and she is in the process of creating her own aromatic stillroom in 2017 on her one acre homestead and gardens. Sharon's aromatherapy book, Authentic Aromatherapy, is currently enjoying a reprint in paperback. Sharon is the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal and the NAHA regional director for Arizona. You can visit Sharon’s website at: www.sedonaaromatherapie.com.


Click here to purchase the 2016 Conference Printed Proceedings.  http://naha.org/?/bookstore/beyond-aromatics-conference-2016-the-world-of-aromatherapy-viii

Conference video recording of the event will be available soon in the NAHA Bookstore.

A special THANK YOU to all of the conference's sponsors, vendors, and goody bag donators. http://nahaconference.com/about/sponsors

To read the conference review and view the conference photo collage visit the NAHA Conference website to download a complimentary copy of the NAHA 2016.3 Autumn Journal (PDF located at top left hand side of the webpage). www.nahaconference.com

Visit the NAHA Facebook Page to view the NAHA WOA VIII 2016 Photo Montage Video: https://www.facebook.com/AromatherapyCommunity/

Blog Post Photo Credits: Annette Davis, Sharon Falsetto, Gabriel Mojay, and Wendy Robbins.


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