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Feb 5, 2020 10:45:00 AM | achs alumni Alumni Highlight: Rachel Hayes |

Rachel Hayes is a licensed Therapist who earned her Graduate Certificate in Aromatherapy because she wants to incorporate aromatherapy into her practice.

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Rachel Hayes is a licensed Therapist who earned her Graduate Certificate in Aromatherapy from ACHS because she wants to incorporate aromatherapy into her practice. Although she hasn’t yet used her newly acquired certificate, she has had many experiences with aromatherapy in her personal life.

Experience with essential oils

Rachel Hayes 1 2Rachel uses essential oils when she experiences relapses in her Multiple Sclerosis. “I have multiple sclerosis and that’s how I started using aromatherapy. I got diagnosed almost ten years ago and then about four years in, whenever my body would relapse they would send me to the hospital for an infusion of steroids. And then it stopped working,” she says.

Luckily, Rachel found some relief with Frankincense essential oil that her aunt suggested she use. In the past, she would go blind during relapses due to ocular inflammation, but she says this hasn’t happened since she started using Frankincense essential oil, which researchers believe has anti-inflammatory properties.

Aromatherapy has also been positive for Rachel’s daughter, who has celiac disease. She suffers when food is cross-contaminated with gluten, but essential oils were able to lessen her reaction. "While I was in school I created a blend that was able to help her because usually she suffers from cross-contamination of gluten,” Rachel says. Her daughter carries the blend around with her and it helps her when she is experiencing discomfort in public environments where cross-contamination is hard to avoid.


  Pictured: Rachel Hayes (right) and her daughter

Essential oils and pain relief

Rachel spoke about the use of aromatherapy to help alleviate pain. Her favorite blend for pain is peppermint, white fir and spearmint. 

If you're interested in using essential oils for pain, here are some ways: [1]

  • Inhaling its aroma by waving an open bottle under your nose or smelling a cloth containing a few drops of the oil
  • Using a mister to spray it into the air or onto linens or clothing
  • Putting it in a diffuser
  • Diluting it with a carrier oil (a neutral oil, such as almond or grapeseed) and dabbing it onto your skin — so you can smell it when you need some relief
  • Massaging diluted oil into your skin, particularly into a painful joint 

The online school experience

Because she got all her degrees online, Rachel did not find the experience of taking online classes with ACHS difficult. In fact, she said that navigating her classes at ACHS was easier than some other classes she took in the past. She says, “My biggest struggle was that I had experienced a relapse from my MS while going to school. I really couldn’t type. I couldn’t feel my hands on the keyboard, which was very frustrating. Luckily [ACHS] was very accommodating and I was able to get a two week accommodation to turn assignments in late. That was really a saving grace because I was falling behind not being able to type.”

Why holistic health matters

When asked what advice she would give to someone who is unsure about the validity of holistic health practices, Rachel says that lack of knowledge is most often the reason for the skepticism. She encourages people to be mindful. She said that doctors often have negative connotations of holistic medicine, but that it's called “practicing medicine” for a reason. There will always be things that even your doctor doesn’t know yet. 

Are you interested in being interviewed for the blog?

We would love to highlight more ACHS students and graduates. An article on our blog is a great way to share your holistic health story, show off what you've accomplished, or spread the news about your new wellness practice. Please fill out this form and our Social Media Coordinator, Gillian Wilson, will be in touch with you to schedule a phone interview. 





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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the Social Media Coordinator of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS-Building-ExteriorFounded in is a PortlandOre.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, wellness coaching, and integrative health modalities. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named three of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2019 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 15% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit

Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.