Ahead of our Aromatherapy workshop at Boconnoc we spoke to Kit Clancy about her passion for natural remedies and holistic wellbeing and how she became a Clinical Aromatherapist in Cornwall after working as a winemaker and distiller in London.
Kit’s mission is to support woman naturally by working in harmony with the senses to support overall wellbeing. No two treatments are the same, as a holistic approach is taken to blending essential oils based on your present needs, looking at you as a whole person and not just your symptoms.
Sustainability, quality, and fairness are at the heart of Kit’s ingredient sourcing process. Where possible she aims to use only organic ingredients with minimal, plastic free packaging which can easily be reused or recycled within your own home.
Tell us a bit about what you do
I’m a Clinical Aromatherapist specialising in women’s health, based here in Cornwall. At the very core of my work, I’m all about compassionately supporting clients to feel well in themselves. As an aromatherapist, I use essential oils to help promote wellbeing within the mind and body. In very simple terms, essential oils are made up of volatile (aromatic) components which can be found in the flowers, bark, leaves, roots and fruit of plants. These can be extracted by a number of different ways depending on the nature of the plant material and contain an array of therapeutic chemical compounds which offer many benefits to the body.
Two of the easiest ways in which to receive the benefits of aromatherapy are through inhalation, such as diffusing in an essential oil burner, or through skin absorption, which includes massage or by using bath and body oils at home. I love to work with essential oils through massage and in bespoke remedy formulation, and really enjoying sharing this knowledge with individuals on my workshops.
What got you first interested in aromatherapy and essential oils?
I’ve always had a passion for natural remedies and holistic wellbeing, but my keen sense of aroma originally led me to a career as both a winemaker and a distiller. Whilst working in London for a gin brand, I took part in a one-day beginners massage course with Neal’s Yard, where I was first introduced to the benefits of essential oils. I was struck by the remarkable similarities between gin distillation and essential oil extraction. A seed was planted… That day I bought my first diffuser and a selection of essential oils. As I began to learn more, I gradually brought aromatherapy into my own self-care practices. At the time I was suffering with what I now know to have been the accumulative effects of chronic stress and leading a life where I was ‘trying to do it all’. This was having a very negative impact on my physical and mental wellbeing. Aromatherapy became an important tool in helping me to slow down, connect with my body and importantly relax.
A few years later, in 2018, I made some big lifestyle changes and I moved home to Cornwall and began my journey to becoming a Clinical Aromatherapist. Finally, I had found something where my skills and understanding of aromas married up with my desire to work in a field that positively impacted the lives of others. Since then, I have personally found and continue to see with my clients, that the simple and natural benefits of aromatherapy can have a powerful influence on many areas of our health.
What has changed for you since you started that journey?
I am constantly learning when working with different clients and ingredients to keep an open mind and to be flexible. A big part of my ethos is that a holistic approach is always at the centre of my treatments. There is always more than meets the eye and issues are very often linked with other areas, and so it’s important not to get too fixed on one ‘symptom’. An example of this is when I work with skin conditions such as eczema, which can often be triggered by stress. Therefore in helping to support skin health we must also look to manage stress.
I will also never simply recommend an oil and tell you this will “fix things”. Aromatherapy is part of the bigger picture of wellbeing, and when combined with other healthy habits such as mindful breathing and gentle movement you will feel benefits that span beyond healing any current symptoms you may be experiencing.
Do you have a favourite essential oil?
It’s always changing! Can I pick two? I was recently formulating a chest balm for a client suffering with on going respiratory issues, and during my research the essential oil Ravintsara kept coming up. It’s a little bit like a mix of tea tree and eucalyptus, but with a much softer aroma. It has very cleansing and anti-viral properties, without knocking your socks off! I also love Ylang ylang. Aromas are so emotive for us because scent receptors in the brain are located in the same region responsible for memory and emotions. Ylang ylang takes me back to being on holiday in Indonesia, where this flower grows everywhere and smells its strongest first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This oil particularly benefits the nervous system, having a calming and anti-depressant effect.
What are your recommendations to use oils at home? How do I make sure they are they right ingredients?
Essential oils are very safe to use, providing you keep to a few simple rules; never take them internally, do not apply direct to the skin (or drop straight into your bath) and always dilute into a carrier oil first such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. At home they are great for diffusing in an oil burner to help create a sense of calm in the evenings (try bergamot, lavender and petitgrain), or focus if you work from home (try lemon, rosemary and peppermint). You can also add a few drops to your favourite body moisturiser or oil – add 6 drops to 10ml of sweet almond oil or moisturiser, just avoid putting this on your face. When first getting into essential oils I always recommend buying from a local health shop or reputable online business where you can talk to someone about your purchase. Be aware that terms such as ‘natural’ and ‘pure’ on labels are not regulated, and don’t technically mean anything! Where possible I always recommend buying organic too, both for the health of the environment and yourself.
Learn how to make your own aromatherapy body oil with Clinical Aromatherapist Kit Clancy in our workshop here at Boconnoc.