— What has inspired you the most in your life?
If I have to choose one, it would be nature (and its life force as whole).
— And with that in mind, how do you cope living in a busy city like London?
I still find tiny hints of nature everywhere in London and enjoy them, even in an artificial green space. Plants grow wherever they have soil to grow roots underneath, and insects and birds are coming to those plants no matter if they are in an artificial environment or not. They are all fulfilling their purpose, and I find it quite powerful. It would be very difficult to cope if we focus on negative side of living in London (all kinds of pollution from the air to wifi/radio waves!).
— How can we learn to switch off our brains?
Meditation is a wonderful tool to keep inner peace and calmness.
Many people find meditation hard to practice. If so, I recommend to stay in the present moment and be mindful, like I do with my lunch. Otherwise, use our ability to imagine. Visualisation can be very powerful, so I normally recommend people to go to their favourite place in their mind and feel it for a while, when they feel stressed. For instance, if you like to be on the beach, feel the sand, sunshine, and hear the sound of waves. Doing this would bring a sense of peace or might energise you.
If this is still difficult, just focusing on deep abdominal breathing would be beneficial. Practicing any of those will help to push other things out from your head. Some essential oils are particularly useful for inducing parasympathetic nervous system (= relaxing nervous system), so they would assist you to relax and switch off more easily.
— How do you integrate aromatherapy into your day to day life?
There are so many ways I do...
I always put some oils in my oil burners, but I often pour some lukewarm water and don't normally use tea lights. I keep a bottle of my favourite blend in a foam base in the bathroom, and have a bath with Epsom salts. I also use essential oils in my homemade tooth paste (powder), face toner, cream, room spray, and in cooking (baking and chocolate making, otherwise salad dressings).
— Why is it important for people to know and understand their essential oils?
We all have a complex network of data storage system in the brain storing any information we experience including smell (I call it smell library). How you respond to certain smell can totally be different from other people, if the smell triggers your memory. For this reason, your favourite smell may not be your friend's favourite. Essential oils, which are attracting you, can also indicate your state/condition. For instance, if you are feeling low (consciously or unconsciously), you are more likely to pick up cheering and uplifting smell than sedating ones.
Another important point would be safety. Some essential oils can be too stimulating for people with certain health conditions such as epilepsy. Pregnancy needs extra care with choosing oils, too. The body can be unstable, particularly during the first trimester (all the citrus oils are fine, and may help nausea and emotional instability). Again, stimulating oils may activate the brain (and this could end up in circulating adrenal hormones, which can be passed to the foetus through the plancenta = not ideal situation).
— So when choosing a blend for instance, its ok to use your intuition from the smells alone?
Yes, it would be great to use your own sense. You would pick up some oils, which would normally suit you. Sensitive people (particularly, who have multiple allergies) and those with certain health conditions need extra caution. If you are not sure, it is always a good idea to check oil properties for your own safety.
— What’s something most people overlook?
It would be the power of nature. For instance, essential oils are not just things with nice smells, but they are powerful plant chemicals. Basically the smell has purpose. Nature designed it for plants to protect themselves from their predators, or draw insects to pollinate for survival. But it seems the story doesn't stop there as we humans benefit from essential oils, too.
— Can you explain briefly how they work?
Essential oil molecules are extremely small, as small as it can be passed into the blood stream through the skin or by inhalation. They can also cross the brain blood barrier. Each essential oil smells different from others due to its chemical structure/composition. Hundreds of different molecules can be found in just one essential oil so it is quite complex. But we divide those into bigger groups of molecules such as terpenes, alcohols, phenols, methyl ethers, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, esters, oxides, lactones, coumarins, etc., and each molecule group has distinct characteristics and therapeutic properties. I think all the essential oils have some forms of antiseptic properties, and I believe this is due to plants' survival mechanism. These give therapeutic effects on humans, too. For instance, we increase natural killer cells (= increase immunity) after spending sometime in a forest with coniferous trees, as we inhale bio components including essential oils (such as α-pinene) released from the trees.
— Why did you decide to work with St Palo?
Firstly, intuition. I really liked the story behind the business. Secondly, I love the idea of wearing essential oils and enjoying the benefits anytime and anywhere you like.
— Who do you see wearing St Palo?
I think everyone would benefit from it, but particularly someone (including males) who is into natural health (and/or interested in essential oils) and loves the good design would enjoy it more.