16 Aug

Billings aromatherapist finds trade to be preventive

Of the Gazette Staff

The nose of a dog can be, literally, a million times more sensitive than a human’s. Sharks, also known for their smelling abilities, use their nose power to locate prey – and survive.

Although people generally don’t have to rely on their sense of smell for survival, Billing’s aromatherapist Kate Rossetto says a person’s sniffer is the still the most primal of the five senses.

“If you think back to caveman days, our sense of smell was highly developed,” she said. “We used it to find food and to stay away from danger.”

In the past 40 years or so, Rossetto has finely tuned her sense of smell for a different reason: For well-being and balance in her own life and others.

Rossetto’s story begins in the ’60s, when she realized her attachment to nature and gardening.

“I love going outside and getting my feet in the dirt,” she said. “More people need to take off their shoes and just walk in the grass, or sit under a lilac bush. The body will respond.”

Back then, Rossetto also knew plants had been used for centuries as foods and medicines. Fascinated, she started growing her own herbs and ordering essential oils through a catalog. Not long after, she began creating her own oils.

“As I got better at it, I bought my own plants – they’ve taught me a lot,” she said. “No one can teach you how to work with a plant; you’ve got to experience it yourself.”

A native of Red Lodge, Rossetto moved to Hawaii after her children were grown. She refers to the state as a “juicy, feminine place.”

“I was surrounded by exotic florals,” she said. “Hawaii just opened up another creative place within me.


Although Rossetto developed much of her practice on her own among the Birds of Paradise and yellow hibiscus, she also took aromatherapy classes in Los Angeles and is now a certified aromatherapist.

Rossetto said that while learning her craft is ongoing, many aspects of aromatherapy can’t be obtained from a book or in a classroom.

“Aromatherapy is such a misused word,” she explained. “People think it’s just a good smell. But it’s an ancient modality of healing. It’s the use of aromas from plants for healing – sometimes physical issues.”

According to the holistic online Web site, aromatherapy is used for everything from pain relief to skin care. It’s used to alleviate tension and invigorate the body. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When essential oils such as lemon, lavender and peppermint are inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves.

And aromatherapy is becoming more popular in the world of alternative therapy. In Japan, engineers have incorporated aroma systems into entire buildings. Scents of lavender are pumped into certain areas to calm down waiting customers, while lemon and eucalyptus are used to keep staff members more alert.

The mountains eventually called Rossetto back to Montana. Upon her return several years ago, she started her own aromatherapy business, Scents of Balance. Rossetto is quick to point out that “nature identicals” or man-made smells put into oils and candles, often don’t have the same effect.

“It’s very simple, really,” she said. “It would be like the body eating plastic. You always want to use organic essential oils. The highest quality usually has the best effect.”

Rossetto suggests scents such as rosemary or peppermint to stimulate the brain – maybe during a session of homework or if someone is feeling sluggish. Lavender has an opposite calming effect. They are also less expensive than some of the more luxurious and often imported oils, such as rose and jasmine.

Along with her aromatherapy consultations, Rossetto practices Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. She also takes her talents to Perfect Balance Yoga and Massage, and teaches sporadically through Night Owls and the Montana State University-Billings Outreach program. Rossetto has even been known to offer gardening classes from her own home during the summer. And she hopes to work with kids in the future.

“I’d love to,” she said. “Kids know about computers, but so many of them don’t know about the Earth.”

Many of Rossetto’s clients discover her simply through word of mouth.

“I think we all come with these gifts, and things we’re good at,” she said. “I’m creative with plants, and I’m a resource for people.”

“I feel responsible for teaching people about nature. We’re so over-stimulated with everything else in our world. I use plants to bring my life into balance, and that’s what I teach others.”

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.</small<

26 Sep

Billings Gazette Press: Aromatherapist connects people, nature

Aromatherapist connects people, nature


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.”