On any given day, Carrie Alwine’s classroom may smell like lavender, oranges, peppermint or a combination of other natural scents. Alwine, a third-grade teacher at Apollo-Ridge Elementary School, uses essential oils to scent her classroom.
She uses a diffuser to disperse the scented oils throughout her classroom. The students enjoy the aromas, and have even named the dispenser “Bill.”
“They love it,” Alwine says. “They fight over who is going to fill the diffuser and who is going to pick the scent.”
Becoming a Believer
Alwine became interested in using essential oils in summer 2015. After attending a few essential oil parties and talking to her friend Julianne Olsen, Alwine was intrigued. But it wasn’t until she saw lavender oil in action with her 8-year-old son, Kallen, that she become convinced.
“He had a bad headache and was actually throwing up. When I rubbed lavender on his temples and his feet, it went away,” Alwine says.
From there, Alwine began purchasing a variety of oils and getting advice from Olsen, whose husband is a chiropractor and often practices homeopathic remedies. The Olsens have been using essential oils since 2004.
In addition to using the oils on Kallen’s headaches, Alwine says her other son, Brayden, and her husband, Matt, ask for them to help with various ailments and to increase their immunity.
“Brayden has a diffuser and will put in eucalyptus oil when he has a cold, or use lavender oil to relax. And my husband travels all of the time, so he uses an immune booster,” she says.
Like with Alwine’s family, Olsen says her five sons, all between the ages of 2 and 10, also turn to oils to help them relieve stress and stay in good health.
“We just had (Pennsylvania System of School Assesments) tests and my son asked me for a peppermint roller to help him keep alert through the tests,” Olsen says.
A certified public accountant, Olsen works long hours during tax season and says she always comes down with “something.” This year, though, was different. With everyday use of essential oils, Olsen says she stayed healthy.
“I didn’t miss one day. This was the healthiest tax season I’ve ever had,” she says.
In fall 2015, Alwine decided to take her scents to her classroom, replacing traditional commercial air fresheners with oil diffusers.
“The natural oils are much better to use, they are healthier for all of us,” she says.
Her students quickly started asking to choose the scents and to have the honor of filling Bill the diffuser with the oils.
“Everyone wants to fill Bill,” Alwine says.
“We use ‘kid-friendly’ scents that they will enjoy. The kids really have fun with it and our classroom smells great.”