Friend of Oil in Kind and clinical aromatherapist Natalie Miller, first discovered essential oils during her struggle with depression. She's now a well-known name in the Australian aromatherapy scene, working with leading essential oil brands to educate aromatherapy enthusiasts all over the world. She's supported residents in aged care, been on the IAAMA council, and made regular appearances on TV, radio and at major events. We couldn't wait to find out where this all-round amazing human draws her inspiration from, and get her take on the future of aromatherapy.
How did you come to learn about aromatherapy?
Besides knowing about oils like Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus, and essential oils being lovely smells, I didn’t really know much about it all until I fell into a pit of depression. It was during this time I came across two books which inspired me to write a Living Life List aka a bucket list. I sat down and really thought about what were the things I always wanted to do, to know, to see. One of the things on that list was learn aromatherapy. Armed with this clarity and new found inspiration, I enrolled myself into a two year diploma course. Nothing like jumping all in.
As an aromatherapist, you’ve worked with many essential oil brands and institutions both in Australia and Globally. Tell us what makes you most passionate about aromatherapy.
I love how it can permeate through all aspects of our being. It can affect us on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. It can move us into action, support us during down times, and give us a sense of hope. I am an educator at heart, and I believe that it is through education we can support and change the lives of people with essential oils. My passion comes from seeing amazing changes in the lives of people I’ve helped, whether that be in aged care or through essential oil education.
You’re a strong advocate for the mindful consumption of essential oils. How do you personally practice this in your daily life?
I’m like everyone else when we first get introduced to essential oils, we want all the oils, as I too wanted all the oils. In the early days, every time I heard about a new oil or learned about a new oil, I wanted it. I’d get excited about having the new oil in my kit, but I didn’t always use them. But through further education, I realised how wasteful that was. When we start to understand how much raw plant material goes into making these precious products, we start to change how we think about them, how we value them. I soon learned more about sustainability and how a number of oil producing trees and plants were becoming endangered. This made me think twice about my daily usage. I don’t buy all the oils now, which can sometimes be really hard especially when everyone is raving about it. I only purchase what I need. On a daily basis I use my personal perfume, which I created at the beginning of the year. I don’t diffuse daily, I diffuse when the need arises. I treat my oils with respect and reverence, making sure I’m mindful of WHY I’m using it.
As an educator you have become a mentor for many of your students. Who inspires and motivates you when it comes to aromatherapy?
There are many who inspire me and motivate me in this field. Leaders in our field such as Robert Tisserand and Salvatore Battaglia inspire me with their knowledge, and their thirst for continued learning in the field. Kim Morrison, Pat Princi-Jones, Robbi Zeck are incredible women in this field. I love their passion, their hearts, and how they’ve continued to grow and learn, and educate others. Innovators such as Mark Webb and Rhiannon Lewis, who have amazing minds, whether it be from a medical or chemistry perspective. Not only are all of these people amazing leaders in the field, they are amazing educators, writers, formulators and practitioners.
The aromatherapy industry has changed so much over the last 10 years. In your opinion, what does the future look like?
This is such an interesting question, and one that is not easy to answer to be honest. I guess I'd like to see a greater focus on education. Many people focus on brand, but to me, that is only a small part of the equation. We should focus on education, learning what our oils can and can’t do. I’d love to see professional aromatherapy more accepted within the wider community, and be used more as part of an integrative healing model. For example, mental health and well-being is currently in the spotlight. I believe that essential oils can greatly support people in this area, but the medical model don’t see it’s value. Essential oils are really a wonderful, safe and effective modality, and can contribute to everyone’s health and well-being on many levels.