How An Unconventional Treatment for 2nd Degree Burns Evolved Into an Age-Defying Skin Care Line for Women Over 40
by Sharon Gnatt Epel, CEO/Founder La Ishá Inc.
The La Ishá Story began in June of 2005, when my teenage son left our home in the U.S. to attend a summer Rainforest Program in beautiful Costa Rica.
After several days of group orientation, Aaron and his peers were taken on a white water rafting expedition on the border of Panama. A heavy rainfall the night before had saturated the soil, causing significant runoff from neighboring fruit plantations. Unbeknownst to the campers or their parents, toxic agricultural chemicals were being used in the area. They had seeped through the soil into the streaming water and found their way into the river where they sat undetected on the surface, like an invisible oil slick. The primary chemical being used had been banned by almost every country on the planet but was still being used by a large plantation in the area.
My son and his fellow campers waded into the river where they came into direct contact with the polluted water. Within 2 hours of exposure, small blisters formed on my son's skin. The photographs posted on this site are of his hands only, but several other areas of his body were affected as well. Here is his left hand, and here is his right hand. Six hours later, the tiny blisters had grown so large that they hung over the sides of his hands like heavy water balloons. Please be forewarned: these pictures are graphic and can be unpleasant to look at. Here is My son's left hand six hours later and His right hand six hours later.
I received a telephone call from one of the camp's group leaders telling me that Aaron was experiencing a minor allergic reaction, most likely to the sunscreen he had used earlier in the day. The symptoms described to me made this sound quite unlikely and I insisted on speaking to my son directly. Because the blisters were continuing to grow in size and becoming increasingly more painful, I insisted on medical intervention. Several staff members accompanied Aaron on the long journey by foot from the base camp deep in the rainforest to a hospital in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. There, the attending physician diagnosed my son with 2nd degree burns. She cut open the huge blisters, removed the hanging skin, administered oral antibiotics and applied a petroleum-based burn ointment to the gray, oozing, bloodless areas underneath the skin that had been cut away. Because his wounds needed to be kept clean, the bandages changed frequently and medication applied regularly - something that would have been almost impossible to carry out while living in a dirt hut on the rainforest floor - I insisted that my son be sent home.
While I waited for Aaron to arrive, I contacted several physician friends for guidance. One doctor specialized in integrative medicine and had served with the U.S. Army for over 30 years. He suspected that Aaron's burns were caused by toxic chemicals, something that he had come across during his career with the military. After examining Aaron’s hands, he suggested that we treat the burns with clinical essential oils: natural plant substances I had never heard of before. Aaron and I agreed to the treatment after consulting several other physicians who - like us - had never heard of clinical essential oil therapy but felt that we had nothing to lose by trying it, since traditional therapies were good at preventing infection but would definitely leave him scarred for life; his dexterity impeded by thick, inflexible scar tissue. Deciding to use the essential oils was a huge leap of faith for us, but one that paid off better than we could ever have imagined.
We took dated pictures to document Aaron's treatment and recovery. When Aaron first returned home bandaged up like a mummy, the skin under the bandages was gray in color, unreflective like cadaver skin, and completely void of surface blood. After 3 weeks of applying essential oils to his hands only twice a day, blood flow was restored to the injured areas. Although the bloody skin certainly didn't look very pretty at the time, we were assured that the bleeding indicated that healing was indeed underway. See these pictures of His left hand: and his right hand.
Miraculously, one short month later, only a red outline remained on the skin where the injury had been. Here are pictures of His left hand and his right hand. The entire healing process took approximately four months from start to finish.
Here are pictures of Aaron's hands as they look today. I've posted two separate views of his left hand, the first one here, and the second one here and a picture of his right hand. I personally took these pictures outdoors in bright sunlight so that every little imperfection would be visible. Please note that both hands are fully healed. There is no residual scarring whatsoever. None of his fingers or joints are impeded by scar tissue. His fair skin is supple, the pigment even and its' natural color fully restored. Nothing other than essential oils was ever used on his skin. The pictures you've seen here were submitted to the AMA to document his impressive recovery. They are a testiment to the expert knowledge of our wonderful doctor, and have also been included in a textbook written by Robert Tisserand - one of the world's leading experts in aromatherapy and essential oil therapy - extolling the benefits of using Lavendula angustifolia on burns.
By the way, the leader of the rafting expedition eventually admitted that the camp knew about the toxic chemicals that were seeping into the river, but because he was afraid of losing his job, he swore that he would deny having told me about it if forced to give testimony in court. I promised not to litigate in return for specific information about the chemicals in the water. The fruit plantation was eventually sued by its workers who won the case and were awarded financial restitution. Unfortunately it came too late for many of the people who became blind, sterile and developed cancer from daily exposure to these chemicals.
Aaron's ordeal inspired me to learn more about essential oils and how they can be used to safely treat a variety of skin issues. As someone who grew up in close proximity to the beach and spent a great deal of time baking in the sun, I wondered what these oils could do for skin that has cumulative sun damage and is developing wrinkles, age spots and experiencing reduced elasticity. After three years of intense research, product development, and extensive testing on friends, family, and volunteers, La Ishá Natural Skin Care made its debut with only 2 products: Breast SOS and our Pomegranate Moisture Booster. Now, several years later, we have an extensive array of skin care and aromatherapy products based upon clinical essential oil therapy. La Ishá is the 1st all-natural/green company whose formulations are designed for women over 40. We are proud to be setting new standards for age-defying skincare, fusing "glamour", green principles and organic ingredients that support good health while producing visually stunning results without the use of harmful synthetic chemicals. We've been dubbed the "holy grail" for beauty addicts who care about their health.
I use our formulations daily to combat years of serious "sun abuse" and help prevent future free radical damage. Now in my sixties, I am living proof of the efficacy of our products. I invite you to try La Ishá for yourself and experience the benefits of clinical essential oil therapy in an easy-to-use, daily skin care routine. We have taken the guesswork out of using essential oils in a safe, supervised manner that produces long lasting, age-defying results and skin that glows with health and youthful vitality.
May you enjoy the blessings of good health and timeless beauty always!
Sharon Gnatt Epel
Founder/CEO La Ishá Inc.