Sylla Sheppard-Hanger is the Founder/Director of the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy in Tampa, Florida. She brings twenty years of experience and personal research into the practice of Aromatherapy and the power of essential oils. Her fascination with this subject has led her to study with the most knowledgeable people in the field of aromatic and medicinal plants, essential oil research, herbology. In 1993, she completed the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Program, Purdue University, Indiana, and continued to complete the International Training in Essential Oils: Advanced Studies – Parts 1 & 2 (1996-7). She was a founding member of the American Aromatherapy Association (1988) and served two terms on the Board of Directors. Sylla has been an active past participant in the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), and is the Former Chair of the Safety Committee. She actively participates in setting up national standards in education for aromatherapy.
After the September 11th tragedy, Sylla volunteered with the Carolina Emergency Relief Massage Team whose four deployments helped over 3500 people through chair massage and aromatherapy donations collected thru Sylla’s efforts that they were able to use and give away to relief workers. During this time she formed the United Aromatherapy Effort, Inc (UAE) a non-profit charity whose mission is collection and dissemination of donated aromatherapy products to those affected during critical incidents and emergency work. The UAE also supplied Floridians after hurricanes in 2004, and the team worked in Biloxi, MS after Hurricanes Katrina/Rita 2005. At prestent the UAE, Inc. supplies NATO soldiers in Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan.
A licensed Cosmetologist/Esthetician (since 1969) she is also a Natural Health Care Practitioner/Licensed Massage Therapist (since 1979). Sylla has taught aromatherapy (from introductory through advanced studies) since 1988. She has developed comprehensive educational programs which are presented throughout the USA and the Institute is a Continuing Education Provider (Boards of Massage) for the state of Florida. She is the author of The Aromatherapy Practitioner Correspondence Course and The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual, a complete reference book of over 350 aromatic plant extracts, with phytochemical, clinical and botanical indexes. She was editor and publisher for Tony Burfield’s Natural Aromatic Materials-Odours and Origins (2000). Most recently she began publishing a series of books: the SBS Series, beginning with the Aromatic Spa Book (2007) and the Aromatic Mind Book (2008). Since 1996, Sylla has been involved with Dr.Trevor Stokes of the University of South Florida in an on-going research project titled Psychosocial Aromatherapy Research Project (PARP) using aroma in children with autism and other disorders. Besides writing aromatherapy articles for magazines and journals, Sylla also consults for private-label aromatherapy companies, and others needing help. She volunteers her time and aromatic counseling skills with to local organizations in order to give back to her community. She recently became a Structural Energetic Therapy (SET) Practitioner (for acute and chronic pain); she continues to maintain a private Aromatherapy practice (as a licensed massage therapist and cosmetologist) and now offering Oxygen facials in Tampa, Florida, where she resides with her husband, and two cats.