Community Wellness Draws Larger-Than-Expected Crowd

Portland, OR, November 26, 2008 --( More than 40 people filled the ACHS Apothecary Shoppe College Store Saturday, November 15 for a free community wellness event. The College hosts several events a year with themes like lavender distillation and HerbDay, which emphasize seasonal tips for holistic wellness.

The November 15 event marked the College’s 5th Annual Holiday Open House. The three-hour demonstration featured several easy-to-make, all-natural holiday gift ideas and an extensive question and answer period, as well as how-to information about the use of essential oils. The College also set up several tables where, after the demonstration, participants were invited to make hand butters and sugar scrubs on the spot.

The Open House lingered into the late afternoon to accommodate the larger than expected turnout. In addition to several College students and alumni, about half the participants were from the greater Portland community with some attendees coming all the way from Ohio and Vancouver, BC.

“It’s great,” Heather Baley, ACHS Registrar, said about those in attendance. “We love to visit with our students and grads. But we’re also really happy when the community comes to our events. People are obviously interested and care about holistic health. We want to be part of that conversation, to get information about wellness out there in a fun and practical way.”

To that end, Tracey Miller, ACHS Dean of Admissions, kept the demonstration simple. She started with a hot plate and over-sized pot, then measured out beeswax and cocoa butter, dropped them into the pot, and began to stir. In front of Miller, small glass jars were scattered around the table like jewel-toned gumdrops. Each held a different ingredient for the day’s event: beeswax, lavender, and sweet almond oil, to name a few.

From start to finish, it only took Miller about 20 minutes to make the hand and nail butter. Aside from the beeswax and cocoa butter, there are few additional ingredients: sweet almond oil, lanolin, and the pure essential oil of your choice.

Equally simple and quick, over the course of the afternoon, Miller also demonstrated how to make an herb sugar scrub, aromatic body sprays, and aromatherapy room sprays. (All of the recipes are in the ACHS Holiday Recipe Book, available to download for free at

The main lesson here: Wellness doesn’t have to be complicated. As one participant said: “If you can’t eat it, you [probably] shouldn’t wear it.” Using natural products is a fun do-it-yourself project, but it is also a great way to preserve the integrity of the herbs, butters, and oils you’re using, to get the most nutrients and health benefits available.

“Common household items make wonderful gifts when mixed with essential oils and herbs,” said Baley. “Purchase essential oils that speak to you, and you can combine them in several ways to make custom blends. I like to share my creations with family and friends and always keep a room spray at my desk, when I need a little Aromatherapy.”

All of the Open House demonstrations will be available on ACHStv soon. To watch the videos, go to:

For more wellness tips and natural, easy-to-make holiday gift ideas get a free download of the College’s Holiday Recipe Book at

Australasian College of Health Sciences
Lauren Shapiro