When Valencia McClure of Frisco was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2015, she was initially fearful of the ways the disease and its treatment might change her.
The cancer needed to be removed for her health. Her wounds from surgery needed healing to prevent scaring. And five weeks of radiation threatened to dry out and discolor her skin.
She turned to essential oils for a natural remedy to mitigate the side effects. She found that the oils benefited her physically and aromatherapy boosted her emotionally, something she desperately needed during a trying time.
Five years later and cancer-free, the 56-year-old former government affairs energy corporation executive-turned-certified aromatherapist is the sole owner of the Artistry of Essential Oils, the skincare lifestyle brand she launched in 2019 following her retirement.
The essential oils were not what healed her from cancer, but she credits their use with helping her escape most of the side-effects of the treatment and calming her through her journey.
“The positive feedback I have gotten has increased my passion in essential oils and I want to bring that same passion to others,” she says. “Post cancer, I stress the importance of eliminating toxins and continue to be aware of what we put in and on our bodies.”
To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, McClure has introduced a new collection she calls Purposefully Pink. The product line consists of three specially formulated blends of oils to help provide strength and hope to those that have been impacted by cancer.
Her Love Wellness Blend consists of ylang ylang to encourage an open heart, patchouli that invigorates and lavender to calm stress. A Serene Diffuser Blend combines the aroma of frankincense and rosemary to quiet the mind and improve mindset. Sweet orange oil relieves pain and boosts the mind, encouraging one to live in the moment while moving ahead. And clary sage balances hormones.
A Skin Nourishing Body Oil is a blend of frankincense, myrrh, tamanu and carrot seed oil to promote wound healing and prevent scars, lavender to help with stress and jojoba oil and Vitamin E to bring hydration, nourishing antioxidants and to soothe pain.
They are some of the same oils McClure used to help her through her cancer treatment.
As an advocate for women’s health and empowerment of young girls, McClure promises to donate 20 percent of
the proceeds from the Purposefully Pink Collection during the month of
October to the Susan G. Komen organization. On an ongoing basis, 20 percent of all Essential Oil Rollerball Blend sales are donated to organizations that specialize in breast cancer research and the empowerment of young girls.
“My cancer journey has made me an advocate for the health of all women,” she says. “I am fortunate to have family and friends around me but not everyone does. I want to be there for those that might not have the same support.”
McClure says she was first introduced to essential oils by her mother, who emphasized good nutrition and started using aromas to calm her fears and oils to soothe her daughter’s skin as she began cancer treatment at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
During her journey and through consultations with chemists and technology, McClure began formulating unique blends of oils for her herself as well as for her friends and colleagues.
Her last cancer treatment was on her birthday on Aug. 26, 2015, which has made each year’s celebration even more special as the Dallas native returned to Texas in December 2019 to be near her family in Frisco.
She stresses the importance of early detection. And she adds that essential oils play a major therapeutic role in providing hope, courage and strength during times of illness or even during times like today’s stress of the pandemic.
As a part of her service with The Artistry of Essential Oils, McClure says she also counsels customers and encourages quieting the mind by removing negative thoughts and practicing Mindfulness meditation.
“Eighty percent of going through the journey successfully has to do with one’s mindset,” she says. “Customers often call me. They know I am there for them.The key is to finding a supportive base that wants the best for you and lifts your spirit.”
Consumers also want to know and understand what is in skin and body care products, she says, noting that her products are all natural with plant-based paraben-free ingredients.
For ages, essential oils have been used for healing. Ancestors have long relied on the anti-inflammatory and soothing elements from the eucalyptus plant and found anti-fungal powers in rose oil. Frankincense, also known as olibanum, is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree that typically grows in the dry, mountainous regions of India, Africa and the Middle East. The Artistry of Essential Oils finds its “magic” by using technology to create unique formulas that blend oils to work together to heal the body and mind, McClure says.
But essential oils are not just for healing or for fancy spas. They are also helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, she says. Her pomegranate anti-aging facial oil is one of her most popular products that can be used in the comfort of home.
She suggests rolling blends over pulse points, the temple, the base of the neck, along the sole of the feet or diffusing the aromas into the air to help create peaceful spaces wherever we might be.
“They help bring us to a level of gratitude,” McClure says.
But the healing doesn’t stop there. She says customers want to know how to prevent illness and cancer survivors often ask her what they can do to make sure the disease doesn’t come back. On her website, she blogs about changing lifestyles, eating right, eliminating chemicals in detergents and cleaning products, switching to glass bottles over plastic and managing stress with yoga and exercise.
“We can’t completely control the environment around us but we can start by eliminating as many toxins as possible around us and rely on natural resources for healing and to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she says.
The journey of self-care that began with a cancer diagnosis and led McClure to realize the benefits of essential oils has become a life-long quest to grow stronger and help others find hope.
“The natural plants and oils have already been provided by our earth,” she says. “They are there to help us. I have seen how they can be life-changers.”