Aromatherapy, Branding, Daily Life, Rituals, Healing
A fun interview with writer and brand consultant, Natali Drake. Fun stuffabout me, Falcon Rose, how I got inspired and what it's like to spend a day in my life!
How did you get into holistic healing and aromatherapy?
I have struggled with depression and anxiety during different points in my life. I got frustrated with the fact that I was only ever offered drugs or talk therapies. Don’t get me wrong, therapy has been a wonderful part of my life, and drugs are sometimes needed – but I often yearned for something more. Something that spoke to a deeper part of me.
I had always been interested in natural health, nature and magic. So I started to research and learn more about these therapies and try them myself. I got so much out of connecting with nature, especially as an addition to more traditional healing methods. It became a huge life passion resulting in years of study, and eventually becoming a certified clinical aromatherapist and masseur.
Did your upbringing inspire you in any way?
Yes, for sure. I grew up in a very rural and natural part of the USA. It was remote and you had to develop a type of self-sufficiency to get through the days - especially the hard winters.
I also grew up with grandparents who fought in the second world war and ran a farm. They were very down-to-earth people. My grandmother was a nurse and a social worker but she also knew how to feed twenty farmhands on whatever she could find. So there was always this sense of making things comfortable and welcoming for others, while at the same time needing to have this strong connection to nature for survival.
How do you enjoy connecting with nature?
For me it can be as simple as looking out the window at a tree and telling it how beautiful it is, or thanking a storm for passing through and cleaning everything with rain. I absolutely love going to remote places on holiday and just being out in the wild. Hiking in the Swiss Alps, off-roading in the Outback, walking through the rainforest. You get to a point where everything is totally still and your body starts to attune to that. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Tell us a funny story about working with spiritual energies and the world of flowers.
I’ll never forget the first time I really connected with an essential oil and knew there was more going on than a glass bottle full of liquid. I was in a health food store in Upstate New York that featured one of those essential oil displays. I reached for the bottle of pine essential oil thinking, oh yeah it will smell like floor cleaner and I was completely amazed at what real pine actually smells like. I was transported in that moment and I saw myself standing inside a ring of pine trees in some primordial forest. I heard a voice say, “We are pine. We help people deepen their connection to their own wisdom. We help people to feel safe, to detox their body and emotions…”
It kind of went on like that for a while and I felt like I’d fallen completely out of time and space.
I remember coming back to myself with kind of jump and looked around the health food store thinking, oh my god, how long have I been standing here? It was then I realized there was a lot more to the power of plants, scent and essential oils than just something to pour into your bubble bath!
Many people are dubious about the healing magic of plants and spiritual therapy. What would be your answer to that?
Yeah, I can totally understand that. There are a lot of companies now who are making BIG money on this concept, offering products based on very little know-how or expertise. People are actually getting hurt because they’re sold an essential oil and not given correct information on safety and usage.
Humans have been working with nature and energy since the beginning of time – it’s nothing new. For those seeking scientific research about the power of plants and alternative healing, there are many academic papers that have been published in leading scientific journals. In fact, I'm lucky enough to be having my own paper on CBD and essential oils published in In Essence in the coming year.
The world isn’t a binary place, and in order to appreciate and benefit from holistic health practices, that doesn’t mean you need to dismiss more traditional Western medicine too. There is space and need for both, and once you are in tune with your body it will tell you what it needs.
On a less academic level, I believe that if a person smells an essential oil and it brings them joy, or pulls up a long-lost memory that comforts them, or inspires them to want to stop using products full of these artificial smells and harmful chemicals, how can that be a bad thing?
Spiritual therapy means different things to different people – but it can be as simple as engaging with something natural resulting in a positive change to the way you think about yourself or your life.
How can people differentiate between a reputable practitioner and someone taking advantage of a person's fragile emotional state?
What a good question!
I would say you need to look for their credentials and check that it’s not from “abc123therapists”…you know what I mean. You can have a great love of plant therapies, massage, coaching etc, but that’s not enough to offer your healing services to others. Studying this type of medicine and receiving an accredited qualification prepares you for ethical and meaningful ways to connect with those who need your skills the most.
You wouldn’t accept surgery off just anyone that wants to help you – so why should you seek help from an aromatherapist who can’t prove they have the qualifications and experience to help you in the right way. Do your research first!
As well as aromatherapy you also offer readings, chakra balancing and spiritual therapy. Tell us more about that.
It's fair to say I was born with a good dose of intuitive ability. Some people are really good at maths or playing an instrument or painting – some parts of their brain is more highly attuned than others, giving them a certain talent. For me it was a sixth sense that came in full whack from a young age. And I’ve spent most of my life figuring out how to balance and incorporate that into my world in a meaningful way – because it’s not going anywhere.
I discovered early on that I had a natural talent for readings, working with energy and coaching people from a more spiritual perspective. I often see and feel things that other people can’t. Using that ability to help others gives me a great sense of joy.
You had to study really hard to get to where you are today. Is there anything further you'd like to learn in your field?
Absolutely! There’s always so much more to learn about essential oils, new ones being distilled, new techniques for applying them to the body and the new meanings they can convey to us as our understanding of the world changes.
I’m also really interested in how flower essences can help us develop our own intuition and creative abilities.
What are the three things people should look for when choosing an aromatherapist?
Well I do love my sleep! So coffee is absolutely the first thing to start my day. People can be dismissive of coffee but it really is a power food. So is chocolate! Coffee grounds me and helps me feel like the day has begun.
I live in a small village in the Netherlands so once I’m ready to go it’s either a walk to the station or packing up my messenger bike and heading off to The Hague!
My practice is in a cute little suburb called Zeeheldenkwartier. The building was once a schoolhouse for girls and young women in the 19th century and my office is on the top floor in what used to be the servant’s quarters. It’s extremely cosy and has a cool view.
I meet with clients, prepare oil blends and keep up with my notes and records. If it’s a slower day, I might pack off early and enjoy a bike ride along the nature reserve near my house. I try to do this as often as possible. It’s where the falcons roost and also my way of “letting it all go” as I watch the greenery go by.
Evenings are almost always filled with homecooked meals, lazy cats and my pretty sweet husband.
© Lauren Keizer-Gilbert, MIFPA 2020. All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be duplicated or incorporated into any other work without express written permission. No part of this website is intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat, nor should it in any way replace the care and advice of standard medical treatment.