The Secret Healer, Elizabeth Ashley, recently celebrated the second anniversary of her first books going live. With seventeen books on sale, she is one of aromatherapy’s most prolific authors. I wanted to find out more about the writer and what inspired her to write the series.
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How long have you been an aromatherapist and where did you train?
I trained at the Jill Bruce School of Aromatherapy in the West Midlands (England). I have been professionally qualified in aromatherapy, anatomy and physiology and massage since 1993 (23 years). I also hold The Advanced Diploma, Diploma of Medical Dowsing, Diploma of Medical Astrology and The Business Excellence Award.
I was very fortunate to have been born into a rather unusual family. Jill Bruce is my mum! She was a professional clairvoyant and astrologer (and my dad was a secondhand car salesman!) In the 1980s our house was always full of people queuing for a reading from her and after a while she became very upset about all the pensioners she was seeing with similar chronic complaints that modern medicine seemed not to be able to treat. So, she looked around for a healing modality that might be able to help and came across aromatherapy when a book fell off the shelf onto her foot at the library.
Dad always described that mum said “I am going to London to do a course in aromatherapy.” He asked her “What’s that when it’s at home?” She replied “I suppose I’ll find out when I get here!”
She did. Amazingly she trained under Patricia Davies and within months set up her business Jill Bruce Aromatherapy. I was about 10 when I first started labelling her jars and went off to sell “Arthritis Ointment” at a craft fair (we could call it that in those days!).
By 1993, our lives looked different. She and dad were happily divorced and she had remarried a lovely man called Michael Cook, a chemist, massage therapist and dowser. She had set up one of the largest and best accredited schools in the UK. She was the vice principal of the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) and was also involved in committees for the International Society of Professional Aromatherapists (now called IFPA). She and Michael owned one of the biggest touring aromatherapy companies in the UK, with her and Mike treating literally hundreds of people a day with over 140 different lines of pots of cream.
I decided it was time for me to learn what they knew. In those days, the course took a year to complete. We had many workshops we had to attend as well as case histories to perform. It was very hard going, especially since I was heavily pregnant by the end, and with another child under one. Nevertheless I scored 100% on my Anatomy and Physiology paper and 98% on my aromatherapy. (Cade essential oil let me down. We have hated each other ever since.)
In 1994, I also completed my Advanced Diploma. Much of the work written in my books about the astrological aromatherapy is based on that course as well as the detoxification work which was learned from Mike.
What made you decide to write the series?
I am not sure I ever did decide it really! It was a mixture of pressure from people I love and the universe kicking my ass!
Although I carried on practicing aromatherapy, from 1999 I had a career as a recruitment consultant. It was very high pressure and a lot of hours. I had an enormous shock in 2008 to find out that I was pregnant again (there are 15 years between children 2 & 3) and a very large blood clot formed in my lungs. What was essentially a telesales job, could not continue because I could not breathe well enough to speak on the phone. My position was cleverly made redundant and then my husband lost his job too in the recession cuts. We had to find something that would make us some money without my ever having to get off a chair or having to talk too much.
I found someone advertising for a ghost writer and a couple of people had said I was quite good at writing so I put in a bid. I won my first job writing recipe books for cheesecakes! As I was putting in bids for ghostwriting jobs I found several posts where recruiters were looking for aromatherapy knowledge, which I managed to secure. Within six months of ghosting I had written eight Amazon number one bestsellers for other people. So, my friends stepped in and suggested that all the nagging that my husband had been doing about writing in my own name might be a good plan.
The problem was I had no idea what to write. It seemed to me that the Amazon marketplace was flooded with information so I was stuck at a dead end. Then one day I was asked to go to an Empowerment workshop, and as I walked around I noticed there were loads of vendors trying to sell alternative medicine and were not taking a penny. They had good products but they did not know how to sell them. They were petrified of saying anything about them in case they pitched them too woowoo or too scientific.
That night I realised that I might be uniquely placed to help them. I had an extraordinary aromatherapy background, I had the gift of gab from Dad and I had over ten year’s hard core sales experience from working in recruitment.
Initially I had no intention of writing for aromatherapy beginners. I wanted to help professional therapists. The first book I wrote eventually ended up being two books: The Professional Stress Solution and Sales Strategies for Gentle Souls. Anyone with an astute eye will see that Sales Strategies is how to go out and sell that same stress therapy well.
But then I realised there was a great more that I could give. Michael’s work, in particular, seemed important to me. He had been a brilliant therapist, (adored any oil that had been classified as hazardous!) and his medical dowsing healed thousands of people. He was the chairman of the British Society of Dowsers, but then contracted incredibly aggressive pancreatic cancer. Friends bought him a very early version of Dragon (the package where you talk and the computer writes your words) in hopes that we could capture some of his knowledge in his hospital bed, but the disease tragically stole him far too quickly. I was a vessel that caught a great deal of his research. I wanted to get that down on paper because it terrifies me that it could be lost. Mum, Jill Bruce, has since joined me by putting her work down in The Aura and The Garden of Eden (also on Amazon).
When I got to the Eczema book, I asked several people to read it for me, and they all said the same. Non-therapists are going to want to read this too. You need to make this information about healing eczema more accessible to the public. So, rather than change the book I added in stepping stones up to it. So that by the time you had got to the eczema part, I would have stated my case about the importance of the mind body spirit and how important it is to get the liver clear for good health.
So I started to write The Complete Guide to Clinical Aromatherapy and The Essential Oils for The Physical Body and I realised I had a unique opportunity to address all of the questions people kept asking me. I hate these forum brawls that people get into about ingestion, safety, and “Therapeutic Grade” (I think I am too English to be slugging it out!) so I stated my case as fully as I could and filled the book with as much data as I could think of for a beginner. Then I made it free for everyone who wanted it.
Whilst I was writing that book I decided to put in some more detailed monographs about oils (mainly to leverage some of the old articles I had written for professional journals that were lying about getting dusty.) Again people told me… “It is these more detailed studies that we think are the most interesting. We think you should fill the book with these.”
It makes me laugh to think of that now, because I can remember arguing it at length with mum and saying it is impossible to put 100 oils into the book when each study takes me four days to do!” Four days! The spikenard book eventually took five months! This book I am writing about cannabis essential oil will potentially take even longer than that I think.
But essentially, that’s where my passion lies… with the single notes. I am fascinated by how history maps out to say the same as the experiments in the clinical labs. How can someone three thousand years ago have noticed things that are only just being proven? Truly, it is like an obsession with me. I wake up thinking about the next bit of research and go to bed smiling at how grateful I am to be able to do it.
A few weeks ago, someone asked me how I am so driven. I actually don’t think I am because this does not feel like work. It is just me wandering around collecting data – albeit travelling around the world to do it now and also being given access to the original medieval manuscripts. It is such an honor. When I get asked to speak about my work overseas, I get to meet amazing people like Robert Tisserand, Gabriel Mojay, Valerie Ann Worwood, Andrea Butje, the list goes on and on so I’ll stop before I offend people by not including them!
I try to answer every message I receive on my Facebook page and it gives me such pleasure to hear of a person who has just started using oils and they have had their first success, especially when you hear the penny drop about the mind body connection.
Medicine is changing. Certainly, it is here in the UK. Doctors here will no longer prescribe antibiotics unless you have had symptoms for over a week. People have a choice. They can moan about ill health…or they can learn about how to use an essential oil and get themselves better. I know what I would choose and so I want to do as much as I can to help them choose that right bottle of oil and to know how to use it confidently despite the huge amount of contradictory data on the internet.
And because of that…The Secret Healer Series will continue to get longer and longer!
Available Books in The Secret Healer Series:
Here are The Secret Healer Books by Elizabeth Ashley that are currently available:
- The Complete Guide To Clinical Aromatherapy and Essential Oils of The Physical Body: Essential Oils for Beginners (The Secret Healer Book 1) (Always FREE)
- Essential Oils for The Mind Body Spirit: The Holistic Medicine of Clinical Aromatherapy (The Secret Healer Book 2)
- The Essential Oil Liver Cleanse: The Professional Aromatherapist’s Liver Detox (The Secret Healer Book 3)
- The Professional Stress Solution: Essential Oils, Aromatherapy and Holistic Healing Stress Management Techniques for The Professional Aromatherapist (The Secret Healer Book 4)
- The Aromatherapy Eczema Treatment: The Professional Aromatherapist’s Guide to Healing Eczema, Itchy Skin Rashes and Atopic Dermatitis with Essential … Medicine. (The Secret Healer Book 5)
- Sales Strategies for Gentle Souls: Targeted Sales Training for Professional Aromatherapists (The Secret Healer Business Guides Book 1)
- 75 Quick and Easy Aromatherapy Christmas Gifts Ideas: Essential Oil Recipes For Handmade Personalised Gifts (The Secret Healer)
- Vetiver: An Ayurvedic Medicine: How To Meditate And Heal The Physical Body Using Medicinal Plants and Essential Oils For The Mind Body Spirit (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 1)
- Monarda: A Native American Medicine: How To Meditate And Heal The Physical Body Using Medicinal Plants and Essential Oils For The Mind Body Spirit (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 2)
- Holy Basil – Ayurvedic Medicine’s Tulsi: How To Meditate And Heal The Physical Body Using Medicinal Plants and Essential Oils For The Mind Body Spirit (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 3)
- Rose – Goddess Medicine: The Timeless Elixir of Ancient Egypt, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Essential Oils and Modern Medicine (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 4)
- Sweet Basil – Ocimum basilicum- The Essential Oil of Empowerment: How To Heal The Mind Body Spirit With Medicinal Plants And Aromatherapy (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 5)
- Clary Sage- Salvia sclarea; Natural Estrogen?: Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause, Premenstrual Syndrome and Period Pains. Reduce Muscle Cramps And Restless … De (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 6)
- Spikenard -A Woman Anoints Jesus’s feet -: Did She Use the Spikenard of Aromatherapy? Nardostachys jatamansi – An Essential Oil And Medicinal Plant for … (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 7)
- Helichrysum For The Wound That Will Not Heal: The Lost History of Immortelle, The Everlasting Flower, Its Chemistry and Helichrysum Italicum Essential … (The Secret Healer Oils Profiles Book 8)
Thanks Elizabeth Ashley for sharing your knowledge with us in your Secret Healer books!