Debbie Blake-Knox gives Amanda Brantley, a client of Moonstone Wellness, an aromatherapy massage. Massage clients can choose to have a custom blend of essential oils to mix with jojoba oil or shea butter, Blake-Knox said.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - Want to de-stress and stave off anxiety' Just remember: grapefruit and lavender.

"It's two parts grapefruit and one part lavender, so the lavender relaxes, but the grapefruit elevates your mood," said Debbie Blake-Knox, of one of her most popular blends of essential oils.

Blake-Knox will lead a workshop on aromatherapy at the 2010 Fort Benning Women's Conference, teaching women about the benefits of essential oils and how to assemble their own recipes.

"Making Scents of It All: the Art of Aromatherapy" is one of more than 20 workshops that will be offered at the March 10 conference, which features guest speaker Marla Cilley, local vendors, a catered lunch and free child care, said Pat Davis, volunteer conference coordinator.

"She's a good teacher," said Davis, who visited the aromatherapy class at last year's conference. "It's an interesting topic and interactive. She gets involved with her audience, asking good questions and listening to their feedback, and then gives information based on their feedback. I would love to take her workshop."

A Columbus resident and owner of Moonstone Wellness, Blake-Knox has worked with massage therapy for more than 10 years. She became certified in clinical aromatherapy a year ago.

"We're going to focus at the conference on using essential oils that elevate your mood and change your attitude," she said. "My goal is that they're going to have fun, they'll be a little wiser, (and) they will know what questions to ask and where to check for resources."

Participants can take home a spritz, tailored for their specific needs, that is suitable for topical application or to spray in the air at work or home.

Blake-Knox said she does a lot of customization: Sandman's Helper Blend as a sleep aid for kids with deployed parents, Muscle Joint Relief Blend for Soldiers who've had an injury, immune system boosters as preventative therapy.

"I blend products specifically for them," she said. "If a client comes and says this is what her family is going through - 'This is the type of cough and cold or flu we have; this is what I need' - it can be very specific. So what might work perfectly for one person, I might have to adjust the recipe for the next household because they have pets."

Blake-Knox will help participants choose the correct organic oils based on their needs. Most women ask her about depression, stress, the adrenal and respiratory systems, sleep and pain, she said, so those will be areas she'll talk about during her presentation.

She'll also talk about other areas of therapy, such as foot reflexology and massage, and provide resources for people who want to learn more.

Over the past few years, she's learned more about injuries and stressors prevalent in military families, she said, and she enjoys working with Soldiers and their spouses.

"When they say thank you, it's a very genuine thank you. When they give you feedback, it's honest and true and helpful. So, in that respect it's very rewarding," she said. "They've taught me a lot."

Blake-Knox will present the workshop twice during the day. Most workshops can take up to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis, Davis said.

"Map out your strategy and which classes you'd like to take," she said. "I think the key to the day is to have some alternatives in mind in case you don't get your first choice."

If you haven't registered for the conference, the deadline to do so is Friday. Tickets are $20 and include breakfast, lunch, conference materials, child care on a space available basis, three workshops and the guest speaker. Space is limited and few slots remain. For more information, visit

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16