Asking Hope Gillerman About Oils for Tension

If essential oils in the beauty industry are synonymous with any one crafter, it’s Hope Gillerman. Always in elegant in her ways, she’s created a line of bountiful remedy oils that pour forth in voluminous scent fashion, but holistic in its bent. Teasing the wearer’s scent, Hope’s oils weren’t blended out of a need to express some organic whimsy, but rather in synergy with the practice of Chinese medicine to heal up her dancer's strenuous back injuries. Not only does the potent prowess of her carefully selected essentials keep the strain at bay, but they also to invite you to use more & more. Deceptively simple in theory but intensely meditative in application, her line of oils & balms embolden the growing use of organic &/wild crafted essences in the beauty space.

Skin and overall health savored the experience, which led to a career change and creating my most favourite balm of them all – Flower Lip Balm, a tender blend of my requisite fave Jasmine with the charms of Ylang Ylang, which I swear needs to be super-sized.

Read on to learn how to correct & oxygenate your current supine slack while you're reading this & just maybe...while you're dabbing on a de-stressing oil blend at work:

What was your first experience with an essential oil like?

Hope: My first experience was before anyone had heard of essential oils state side. It was a two hour massage with a healer/massage therapist who had been studying aromatic healing in England and France. I was a dancer trying to heal my back pain. I couldn’t believe that something that smelled so amazing and made me feel so good was going to be my route to being pain free. The treatment was so profound, it lasted a month and so detoxifying I had to change my diet that day: the night of the treatment I went to one of my dancer friends for dinner – and I told my friends that I couldn’t eat half the food they had prepared!

Holistic medicine seems to be the foundation of the brand. How does this connect to your philosophy on oils?

Hope: The icon I borrowed from alchemy for the brand logo embodies the symbol of unity and harmony—the basis of all holistic healing. I don’t work with single oils – only balanced, contextualized blends to address mind/body/spirit. When you combine essential oils properly they become a united whole that perfectly conveys the intention of the healer that designed the blend. With out a clear intention to the blend, it will send conflicting messages and won’t be as effective. My blends take time, I work on them over and over so that I am not subject to how I feel in any given moment but so I can really see what the oils are doing together and to help them do that brilliantly.

For example, when I created True Relaxation Muscle Remedy – to help people relieve pain while healing injuries, spasm and strains and let go of chronic tension to increase range of motion - I chose Basil essential oil. Not only because it relaxes the body, soothes low back pain but because it also replenishes depleted energy because you need to have the energy to heal. I also chose Basil because it stimulates the brain and boosts motivation and strengthens resolves you need to focus on self-healing. I envision this blend telling you – “you are not injured, you are healing and you can recover quickly because your body knows how to do that very well.” I wanted to give people a sense of control and dare I say “hope” instead of thinking they need to find someone to fix them. The other oils in the blend also work to send this message to your mind.

My back hurts more often than it should. Can you give us an intro to the Alexander Technique & one quick fix for a mid-day back fix?

Hope: The Alexander Technique is a very unique method that makes more sense when you experience it (so I would love to give you a session!). It is a way to re-balance your skeletal structure, your strength and your flexibility with particular attention to the way you support your head/neck/spine/back. It also is a method to make your breathing more efficient – to get MORE oxygen. Once you have picked up the skills you learn in a series of one-on-one sessions the method becomes a dynamic way to move that is both buoyant and grounded, stable and at ease. Studies now show it is the most effective long term method for back pain relief. My private clients come to learn the method to alleviate chronic pain and tension and to improve posture and body mechanics but they get so much more because the method works to integrate mind and body so you feel more present. I also work with many performing artists who are looking to enhance their performance and avoid repetitive strain injuries.

One basic change everyone should make is to sit on top of both sit bones when working at the computer. The pelvis is the base of the torso, it has to be positioned correctly to give proper support for an elongating spine an strong core. Don’t sit on the front of the sit bones – it will make you arch your back. Don’t sit on the back of the sit bones, it will cause you to slump. Sit right on top of both bones (if you can’t feel them because your chair seat is soft, put your fingers under the sides of your buttocks until you feel two bumps), with feet firmly planted. Every H. Gillerman Organics remedy comes with an info-packed wellness poster that has more how to’s and tips on everyday body care and stress reduction.

What’s the one oil you’d recommend to come on the desk during work hours.

I don’t work with single oils – only blends - but a blend of blend of peppermint, lavandin, and lavender, my Clear Mind Tension Remedy is a perfect choice when burning the candle at both ends and stuck at the computer. It stimulates the mind, relieves tension headaches, even wards off migraines and keeps neck muscles more relaxed. Great for mental fatigue, It wakes up the senses so you feel more alert. It can also open the sinuses, relieve pain (apply on top of any muscle relaxing blend – I combine with True Relaxation Muscle Remedy) alleviate indigestion or nausea (put 4-6 drops straight on the belly, in a circle around the navel and smooth into skin making a clockwise motion with your hands with a lotion or just your hand). In short – it is the best way to de-stress when you don’t have time to slow down. Some of my clients even it use it as a sleep oil because the blend will first stimulate and relieve pain and then finish by leaving your whole body feeling more relaxed.

I don’t lie when I say I can eat through the Lip Balm as it’s the only Jasmine one I’ve tried thus far. What’s up next from the brand?

Hope: Oh yes, jasmine is one sultry, sexy and also ebullient essential oil that is great when you are in a time of transition. Isn’t that what we are all dealing with – having to adapt to a constant state of transitioning. The subconscious message of Jasmine is the ultimate for self-care: you are beautiful! I am not exaggerating. We should have it pumped into the water!

I am working on body care as well as I an eye oil that can be worn under makeup to stimulate circulation and reduce puffiness. In addition, I am writing a wellness booklet of Travel Tips to go in a gift set - TRAVEL WELL - for Holiday 2012.

If you weren’t into this line of work, what would you being today?

Hope: Oye, don’t get me started…

Teaching more Alexander Technique in a BROADER setting. Even though I still have my private clients there is much more work to be done. I wish I had more time for this. We none of us have been prepared in any way for spending long hours at the computer – we simply don’t have the skills we need to make computer work less draining. And kids aren’t learning this in school either. It always upsets me that people sitting in $1,000 chairs have no idea how to adjust them because they have no idea what the chair should be doing for them. It is the cart before the horse. There are so many body basics I can teach people that we all should have learned in school that really effect our level of comfort in our bodies: how to sleep, how to carry a bag, how to sit at the computer, how pick up heavy object, how to squat, how to live with less neck and shoulder tension…my list goes on. I would work on an animated web site and consult big corporations so I could get to the most people!

I am in the business of helping people become more aware of their bodies and the mind/body connection so they can be more comfortable and breathe! Somehow that very simple need has been sublimated by our need to be productive. They are not mutually exclusive.

What’s on your vanity table right now?

Hope: Sorry – a bit embarrassing - I use my H. Gillerman Organics for skin and body care and stuff I whip up in the moment or projects I am working on. I am always trying new things. For makeup, I like RMS Beauty and I am going to branch out with all the wonderful, organic and toxin-free new brands out there. For nails I like Hipp for RGB Nail Foundations that match skin tone. For hair, I like John Masters for Dry Hair – he put a nice dose of Ylang Ylang in the shampoo. For cleaning my bathroom/vanity area, I like Clean Well in Seventh Generation Bathroom Cleanser – and I add a few drops of Lemongrass for its anti-fungal effect. And for deodorizing home, linens, etc. I put sprinkle whatever oils I have handy on the closest natural fiber I can find – preferably organic (a rug, upholstery, pillow – I don’t burn oils). And right now I am using Chest Remedy after a full body scrub in the shower and Sinus Remedy in my nose and on my neck (over glands) because it has been soooo humid here the past two weeks and I want to reduce the heavy, sluggish, water-logged feeling.

Your favorite essence above all and why?

Hope: I love many, many essential oils and my loves change depending on how I am feeling, what I need, what the weather is, where I am and what my particular challenge is. Il love all the oils I work with. I guess the oil that is “me” is Neroli. But I don’t use it all the time because it would be too much – I enjoy it in the H. Gillerman Organics/HGO Lab Face Oil. Not only is it great for regenerating skin, it is calms and grounds and soothes and is great for “earth deficiency” which is the Chinese medical term for the kind of mind/body imbalance that I experience. It gives me a sense of grounding a lightness at the same time and releases the diaphram. It makes sense that I made a face oil with it because the scent association I have with it is the memory of innocent luxury.

What’s the hardest thing about working with essential &/or wild-crafted oils?

Hope: Sourcing!!!! These oils are hard to find – they are only a limited amount of organic essential oils produced every year and even less wild-crafted. The bigger brands can buy up all the lavender because they have the budgets leaving smaller brands with very little inventory and higher prices. But I have made a commitment to them that I won’t waver from.

Blending essences can sometimes be likened to an art form. If so, what type of art would be your inspiration?

Hope: French perfumery!