RIDGWAY — ECCOTA is offering a chance to learn the basics on essential oils Friday, and even the chance to make their own.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Elk County Council on the Arts Gallery on Main Street in Ridgway, Janet VanEerden will offer a DoTerra Essential Oils Make & Take.

“We are always really excited by the opportunity to host classes in mediums beyond what people consider traditional art and creativity,” ECCOTA Executive Director Sara Frank said. “Janet is one of our watercolor artist members, but we welcome anyone to approach us about sharing their creative skills and knowledge through classes.”

“I was thrilled to learn that ECCOTA was interested in allowing us to have classes there,” VanEerden said. “I have enjoyed working with ECCOTA for a few years as an artist and just love being in the gallery. I am so appreciative of what ECCOTA does in our area to encourage individuals and our whole community in the creative arts.”

The event, which costs $25 for ECCOTA members and $35 for non-members, will cover the basics of essential oils and provide a chance for participants to make their own blends to take home.

“Class attendees will not only get information on essential oils, but also get to make a 10-milliliter blue glass roll on called ‘Memory Blend’ and an ‘Uplifting Spray’ blend in a 4-ounce blue glass spray bottle,” VanEerden said. “Attendees will also receive an oil blend recipe book with decorative labels for each of the recipes.”

Essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted from plants which some believe can have positive interactions within the body and contribute to health and wellness.

“It has truly been a joyful journey to discover the beautiful way God designed the chemistry of the oils to work in our body at the cellular level,” VanEerden said. “I have been dabbling with EO’s for about 20 years and using them daily for about five years. When I started, I never intended to teach a class. I only began sharing information when someone I knew needed help with a problem I thought I might be able to help them with. When I saw how well they worked and how often they worked, they really got my attention.”

Once known as “hippie medicine,” according to VanEerden, essential oils have grown in popularity and become more “mainstream” in recent years.

“Even with the growing recognition of the benefits of essential oils, the mention of oils can still evoke a good eye roll and I completely understand this, because I felt very skeptical when I was introduced to them as well,” she said. “The fun part of educating people about these powerful little tools in our wellness pyramid comes when you get to help someone have an experience that changes their opinion about oils. If you are dealing with some kind of health concern that interferes with your quality of life and out of the blue you find some relief or support that you hadn’t had before, it can be a game changer. That is what happened to me and I am so grateful that I was introduced to them.”

VanEerden warned the growing popularity of essential oils has led to fraud and sale of low-quality products.

“It is a shame that people would take advantage of this excitement about oils and put sub-quality oils on the market but this happens often and it can be dangerous,” she said. “Consumers need to be aware that there are many levels of quality out there so they should find out about sourcing and testing to make sure that they are using the highest quality oil or the additives, fillers and synthetics used in lesser quality oils can be dangerous.”

VanEerden said she and her team are available to provide “oil experiences” at homes and businesses. Those looking for more information can follow janet.vaneerden on Instagram or contact her at [email protected]

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