By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Sep 08, 2005 at 5:10 AM

{image1} You wake up on a spring morning and it's just rained. The grass, the flowers and even the air smell good. You take a deep breath and you feel good. But why?

Bridget Eland, one of only two Registered Aromatherapists in Wisconsin, just might have the answer, and to help prove the healing influence of aromatherapy to others, she's opened Briessentials massage spa in Milwaukee.

"We specialize in massage -- traditional therapeutic, aroma, aromatherapy and hot stone, to name a few," says Eland. "But we create a spa experience for our guests from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave.

"To accomplish this, we try to engage all five senses in the artful indulgence of a spa massage utilizing the restorative qualities of all-natural essential oils whenever possible."

At the start of an aromatherapy massage, each guest is walked through an AromaEval to assess his or her sense of scent.

"A palette of essential oils (the concentrated oil that is extracted from a flower, herb or tree) is wafted in front of the guest's nose to determine preference. Based on the response, as well as the qualities that a particular essential oil can evoke, we create a custom blend of oils that appeals to the person's sense of smell while also addressing a person's ailments to be used during the massage."

So how, exactly, does aromatherapy work? Eland, who studied at the Australasian College of Health Sciences in Portland, Ore., says that aromatherapy is complementary to the art and science of massage, and that the combination can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

{image2} Understanding the science behind the creation of essential oils and how to use them to garner positive affects, Eland says that using certain oils can have very therapeutic results such as relaxation, pain relief and improved circulation.

"We are learning more and more about the power of scent. Corporations are increasingly incorporating scents into their HVAC units to affect change in mood or effectiveness at work. Retailers are just beginning to use scents to help sell products because the olfactory experience can, in an instant, make someone remember something or think 'holiday,' and feel good."

Providing an interactive and all-natural relaxation experience, Eland has designed Briessentials to bridge the gap between the luxurious spa setting and the therapeutic health massage. "We feel very strongly about selecting oils that are organic and wild-crafted," she says. All of her products are free of pesticides, herbicides, inorganic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms.

"Whenever we use all-natural, organic products, we are introducing fewer harmful elements into our bodies. It's wonderful to bring this type of practice to Wisconsin."

Briessentials, 204 E. Capitol Dr., opened in February 2005. The Web site is

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”