As co-founder of the United Kingdom–based skin-care company Aromatherapy Associates, Geraldine Howard has spent 35 years studying which botanical scents make her clients feel better, whether that includes lavender to aid sleep or citrus oil to invigorate. Science has backed her up, with a spate of recent studies showing that aromatherapy is effective in relieving stress, anxiety, and even pain. When Howard learned she had developed a rare cancer of the eye, she elected to undergo cutting-edge immunotherapy done in Holland. When her energy was at a nadir—depleted from the treatments and the travel to them, as well as the need to continue running her company throughout her recovery—Howard blended an oil meant solely for personal use, to help revive her spirit. She mixed essential oils of clary sage to lift her mood, frankincense to focus her mind and calm her thoughts, cardamom and rosemary to fortify her physical strength, and rose and vetivert for healing. She came to rely on the oil, always carrying a vial with her for a quick inhalation or a dab on the skin. Once she started feeling better she wanted to share it with anyone experiencing a personal trauma. And so was born her Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil ($63).
Inspired by Howard’s journey to wellness and the creation of the oil, Sharon Holtz, the spa director at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, wanted to create a treatment incorporating the oil. The Mandarin’s Inner Strength treatment includes a variety of gentle massage techniques tailored to help one heal from a physical or emotional trauma. “The treatment helps maximize the effects of the oil’s ingredients by tapping into the restorative powers and resilience inside all of us,” Holtz says. The treatment, offered at 1 hour 20 minutes or 1 hour 50 minutes (starting at $200), rolls out at select Mandarin Oriental locations around the world in 2014. »www.aromatherapyassociates.com, www.mandarinoriental.com ✦