Better health: Essential Oil Center takes root in Batavia

Jan 3, 2018

BATAVIA — A sprig of lavender to ease anxiety, a whiff of peppermint to subdue nausea, a drop of frankincense oil to ward off an asthma attack. Although these age-old remedies may sound antiquated, their benefits have been touted time and time again throughout history. Batavia’s new Essential Oil Center is the one-stop shop to find out just why that might be.

The Essential Oil Center, located at 4152 W. Main St., will host a grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Anyone interested is invited to check out the location and to see hundreds of oils and oil-infused products.

Founded after Michelle Gillard, suffering from a personal malady, saw success with essential oils, the Essential Oil Center will offer “something for everyone,” Gillard said. That includes everything from make-and-take classes with sugar scrubs and foaming soaps to informational sessions on how to create a chemical-free home.

Essential oils, highly concentrated versions of natural oils in plants, are obtained through a distillation process that uses many parts of the plant, including the roots, leaves, stems and flowers.

The process leaves a highly concentrated oil, which has the characteristic fragrance and properties of the plant from which it was extracted. It’s said to contain many medicinal and therapeutic benefits Gillard said she’s experienced firsthand.

“I started using essential oils about 3.5 years ago,” she said. “And I had some good success with that. I basically, you know, started talking to friends and family and doing vendor shows about them, but trying to educate them in a 30-second to two-minute window was very difficult.

“What we found is that people don’t have a lot of education about essential oils,” she continued. “They’re becoming more popular, and the problem is that there are good essential oils and then bad essential oils and people don’t really know the difference.”

She and co-founder Vicki Wood saw a window of opportunity in the absence of a reliable information source and began exploring options to help thwart the spread of misinformation. At first, she and Wood offered at-home sessions, but with the chaos of families bustling around and the added stress of having to tidy the house, “it just felt like the right move to make a public space,” she said.

Now, the Essential Oil Center, in a “classroom kind of setting,” will offer a casual education experience for the novice to the avid essential oil user. The classes vary, but all are meant to educate the public.

“We’re looking to educate people, not only on oils, but just on the fact that there’s so many holistic ways to help yourself and your family,” Gillard said. ”Since I began using essential oils, I’ve basically transformed my home into a chemical-free home. You can use the oils for everything from cleaning to laundry to medicinal purposes, to making the house smell good.”

But not all oils are created equal, Gillard said. She said the products typically sold in big-box stores like Wal-Mart might not carry the same benefits that her products do because of the “kind of scary” labeling laws in the United States.

“We want people to ask questions and do their research,” Gillard said. “Basically, to be labeled as a 100 percent pure essential oil, they only have to have 5 percent essential oil in the bottle. It’s really just about kind of educating people and giving them knowledge because, as I always like to say, you’re the gatekeeper of your home.”

Research of her own has led Gillard to became an independent distributor through Young Living essential oils.

“They’ve been around for 20 years,” Gillard said. “They own many of their own farms. They have very high standards and testing and make sure all oils are pure. You can even go out to their farms and plant seeds and see the materials they use, that type of thing.”

At the Essential Oil Center, she hopes not only to emphasize the importance of natural products like those, but to show the public that “you don’t have to just go out to the doctor and get medication all the time. There are other ways to help your body outside of prescription drugs,” she said.

Upcoming classes, which are free, can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/TheEOCevents. Questions or comments may be directed to Gillard at (585) 297-0779 or Wood at (585) 749-9411.

By Jessica Dillon, Batavia Daily News