26 Sep

Billings Gazette Press

Aromatherapist connects people, nature

Story By JACI WEBB

In a world over-stimulated by sight and sound, aromatherapist Kate Rossetto rejuvenates herself with scents that fill her Heights home and backyard garden near Lake Elmo.

A native of Red Lodge and a 1962 graduate of Billings Central Catholic High School, Rossetto became interested in plants in the ’60s. Starting her business in aromatherapy, Scents of Balance, several years ago was a natural extension of that early interest.

“A lot of people think aromatherapy is something that smells good,” Rossetto said. “It’s so much more than that. It’s the plant and its effect on your well being. It all goes back 2,000 years to Egypt. The Egyptians used plants for medicinal and practical uses.”

Rossetto, who lived in Hawaii many years before returning to Billings seven years ago, said some people, even in Montana, have lost their connection to the earth. She encourages her clients and others to renew that connection to improve their mental and physical health.

“Montana is one of the last few areas in the country that is focused on farming and ranching,” Rossetto said. “We’re surrounded by this incredible beauty. What I do best is teach people to appreciate the earth because we’ve lost that appreciation.”

As part of her business, Rossetto passes on what she has learned about the healing quality of plants. She is offering a class beginning Monday, Discovering Aromatherapy, through the City Parks and Recreation Department. The fee for the evening class is $25.

It will cover such things as how to experience a holistic relationship between human nature and Mother Nature and an overview of essential oils, including the history of them and their practical uses. To enroll in the class, call Parks and Recreation, 657-3050.

Rossetto consults with her clients in such areas as therapeutic aromatherapy, organic beauty and skin-care products, natural herbs and herbal products, and custom aromatherapy blends. She uses essential oils that are extracted from plants through a distilling process.

Many of the essential oils she works with come from ancient stands in Asia and Africa. Others, like the lavender and sage Rossetto grows in her yard, are less-expensive and easier to come by.

When Rossetto first started dabbling in essential oils, she ordered them from New York shops and made discoveries about their effects through trial and error because so little information was available.

“As I got better at it, I bought my own plants — they’ve taught me a lot,” she said. “It’s something that’s brought a lot of joy into my life. No one can teach you how to work with a plant; you’ve got to experience it yourself.”

On her web site — www.scentsofbalance.com — Rossetto met British author, Leslie Kenton, who has written several books about essential oils and aromatherapy. One of Kenton’s books, “Skin Revolution,” includes information about Rossetto.

Through their friendship, Rossetto has been commissioned to create a fragrance blend for a spray that may soon be marketed through the label, Living Matrix. Some of Rossetto’s products are available in Billings at Barjon’s Books, 2718 Third Ave. N., and through her Web site.

Rossetto said her aromatherapy clients hear about her business mostly through word of mouth or her Internet site. She views her role as mentor to them.

“I have this attachment and love affair with nature that’s come over the course of 30 or 40 years,” she said.

“I feel responsible for teaching people about nature. We’re so over-stimulated with everything else in our world. Technology is wonderful, but it’s caused some people to get away from what’s real.

“I use plants to bring my life into balance, and that’s what I teach others.”