Geraldine Howard is an awe-inspiring lady. Not only has she created the most successful, best quality aromatherapy brand in the world (her exquisite oil-based products are available in 45 countries worldwide and are considered the Frederic Malle of the aromatherapy world) she is also known as being one of the loveliest ladies in the business. However, a couple of years ago Geraldine was diagnosed with eye cancer, and within a week she had had her eye removed. She is now fighting an ongoing battle with the disease.
Not that this curbs Geraldine’s enthusiasm for life – when I meet her on a rainy day in London she is full of energy and excitement over her new wonder oil product she has aptly named Inner Strength. This product came to life, she explains, on a day when she was mid-cancer treatment and was at her lowest ebb yet. “I got up and started mixing oils together that I felt would help give me some strength and positivity,” she says.
The result is the very essence of what Geraldine needed at the time; “A great big kick up the backside, and then a great big hug,” she laughs. She explains that if traditional aromatherapy rules applied, the oils shouldn’t theoretically go together, but it really works. I can see why – when you first smell the oil you are struck by the uplifting scent of clary sage, but after a few minutes other smells such as mind-focusing frankincense, physically-fortifying cardamom and rosemary, as well as the mood-balancing scent of rose and vetivert all come through. She sees it as an oil to support anyone going through a stressful time whether it be divorce, bereavement, redundancy or profound loss.
Apart from this wonderful oil, another ray of light to come out of Geraldine’s illness is that she has been given the opportunity to take part in a set of trials in Holland called Foundation ATK, who are working on the development of a new cancer vaccination to help stop specific forms of the cancer spreading.
Termed as immunotherapy, it is a new and promising modality in cancer treatment which uses your body’s own immune system to fight the disease. Currently in trial stages, the results prove promising and they are confident that it will have a huge impact on the way cancer is treated in the future. 10% of the proceeds from the Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil , £39, will be given to this charity.
As Geraldine speaks about her passion and hope for the trial, we both end up with tears rolling down our cheeks. If there’s one product I urge you to buy this month, please make it this one – created by a lady who spends her life formulating products that help others, this is the time to give her something back.