Last weekend a friend of mine invited me to join her and some other friends at a local cafe by her house for an aromatherapy seminar. The cafe a spokesperson from DoTerra to lead the course, which one of the ladies joined as a buyer/salesperson. It was kind of like the aromatherapy version of a tupperware party. 😉
I pretty much went in on zero, though. Last year Mr. J bought us a cheap mist humidifier and some scented oils that we use with it, and I’ve really enjoyed the few times I’ve had the chance to get an aromatherapy massage. Still it was something new and fun to try, and I came out a little more knowledgeable about the aromatherapy market in Japan, and how to choose and combine different oils.
Let me say that part of the reason I agreed to go was because I knew that most of the ladies in our group probably weren’t going to purchase much of anything, if anything at all.
I make a decent salary, but I’m still paying off college debt and Mr. J and I don’t have as much in savings as you might find other Japanese couples have to spend on unnecessary, expensive things. I’ve been in the situation where I felt compelled to buy something because everyone else did, and I didn’t want to give off the impression that I (or foreigners in general) are cheap. Whether I like it or not I’m often the token foreigner in a group of Japanese people who hardly ever have any contact with foreigners, and especially when meeting new people for the first time, there’s always that feeling that they’re re-evaluating or creating their impression of foreigners by what I say and how I act. In the very least, every new encounter is a networking opportunity, so if possible I want to make a good one. 🙂
I also made sure to bring my pencil case, because lectures and courses here are hardly ever the ones where you can just sit back and casually listen. You’ll often see the people around you, no matter if they ever plan to use this information in their lives or not, furiously scrawl down everything the lecturer is saying. Essentially it’s a way to show politeness that you’re interested in what the speaker is saying. I did my best to keep a good balance between looking polite and not coming away with a sore hand.
If curious, some information I came away with:
- Currently Japan uses aromatherapy oils almost exclusively for smell and decoration, which is why you’ll find so many different kind of oils at the 100 yen store or at home/interior decoration stores.
- Cheaper oils like this only smell nice, and have no aromatherapy qualities. They aren’t pure grade or essential oils, and are mixed with other ingredients.
- Medical and classified pure tested grade oils only make up about 3% of the Japanese aroma oil market.
- Pure grade oils apparently have a number of positive benefits, and you can drink most of them.
- Besides ingesting them (a drop in a glass of water, for example), your body can absorb them through smelling and through skin contact.
- One of the easiest ways to absorb them through skin contact is to rub them on the back of your feet.
- Different oils have different effects. For healthy skin: lavender, patchouli, frankincense, cedar wood, myrrh, etc. For relaxation: lavender, orange, etc. For the mind: lemon, basil, rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, yukari etc. For repelling insects: yukari, cedar wood, cyprus, peppermint, lemongrass, clove, patchouli, etc.
After the initial lecture we had the opportunity to choose different oils and mix our own spray and cream samples. Here’s how mine turned out:
But hands down the best part was lunch. 😉 This cafe did a really good tomato-based curry that had a bit of Indian spice flavor to it.
I decided to take the scenic route driving home, so I could get a glimpse of the bay.
Since DoTerra sets run from 20,000-80,000 yen ($200-$800 USD), I doubt I’ll be committing to them anytime soon, but I don’t think I would mind picking up a single oil or two just to use for massage or for winding down at the end of the day.