Two years ago, at the age of 16, I began hunting for the perfect after-school job. I wanted something different than the typical fast-food worker, barista, lifeguard, or babysitter gigs. That is when I found Refresh Pilates and Wellness Studio in Homer Glen, IL.

Refresh is a physical therapy office/yoga and pilates studio/wellness center. This small, family-run business focuses on putting people and their well-being above all else, and that is something I truly value. When I first started working at Refresh, I thought "Wow, these ladies are wild, crazy, and just a little bit quirky. I am gonna fit right in."

Not too long after this, I started noticing all of the holistic-types of approaches my coworkers took in life from meditating to using essential oils and doing yoga on the regular. Before working here, I thought essential oils were like a liquid form of scented candles. Yeah, they smelled nice, but they really didn't do anything. One thing I would quickly learn in the next two years at Refresh is that essential oils have numerous uses.

Refresh uses essential oils as holistic cleaning products because they cause significantly less irritation and leave a fresh, lingering scent. Lavender oil and tea tree oil contain antiseptic and disinfectant properties that make them excellent in destroying and preventing the growth of bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms. Common cleaning products often contain harmful and irritating chemicals such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia. Essential oils offer the same type of protection without introducing harmful chemicals to a person's body.

The number of times I had to clean the pilates studio left me grateful for the use of essential oils as cleaning products. Rather than taking the risk of accidentally spilling bleach or other harmful chemicals on myself, I was able to use safe and effective cleaning products. As an added bonus, I always seemed to leave the studio smelling fresh like lavender or lemons.

I have always been a strong believer in Advil. Have a headache, period cramps hitting hard this month, backaches or pains? Advil fixes it all. One day at work, I had a killer headache, so I began my search for the magical bottle of Advil, the bottle that does not exist at Refresh because it is a holistic wellness studio environment. Instead, my boss offered me some peppermint oil, and pretty soon my headache was gone. Peppermint oil is a powerful cooling muscle relaxer that helps relax the body and relieve pain symptoms.

After this experience, I realized there was a healthier alternative to using regular medicine all the time. Don't get me wrong, when I am really sick I still turn to cold or flu medicine or antibiotics to help me kick that nasty bug. But now, I always try essential oils first because I don't want to put unnecessary medicine in my body if it can be avoided.

Once I stopped writing off essential oils just because I wasn't educated on them, I began to discover how truly beneficial they could be. The second I started using essential oils as cleaning products, stress relievers, and as holistic medicine, it was all over. I was hooked. Now I diffuse oils on the regular--I wake up to a fresh citrus oil and I fall asleep to a soothing lavender oil. Opening myself up to something new was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.