After making a name for herself with her popular glow-inducing facials in New York, it wasn’t long before Vered Back ventured into her own line of skincare. Vered concocts custom essential oil blends for each client’s treatment and soon found the demand for custom vials from her clients worth the launch of her namesake line. Vered Organic Botanicals is Vered’s precious collection of oils that perform facial feats far beyond what most of us would imagine oils can do. We found Vered’s use of these essential oils fascinating and asked this master esthetician and herbalist more about what these oils are really all about.
The Chalkboard Magazine: Vered, most people think of all essential oils as “essentially” the same thing: great moisturizers with different aromas. But there is a whole breadth to essential oils that extends far beyond this. Tell us a little about that.
VB: “Essential oils are subtle volatile liquids distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots and seeds. They are oxygenating and help transport nutrients to the cells of our bodies and maintain our health and skin. They are highly concentrated. The distillation of an entire plant may produce only a single drop of an essential oil. Essential oils are extremely different than vegetable oils, as they are not greasy and do not clog the pores.
Essential oils have a chemical structure that is similar to that found in human cells and tissues. This makes essential oils compatible with human proteins and enables them to be identified and accepted by the body. They fight infections, initiate regeneration and they work as the chemical defense mechanism of the plant.
Essential oils are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory anti-spasmodic, antioxidant and a natural anti-depressant! They can, in varying ways, be stimulating and a sedating. Some essential oils have the ability to work as hormones that helps to bring balance to many physiological systems of the human body. The molecular structure of essential oils are relatively small, enhancing the ability to penetrate into the cells.
The fragrance of essential oils can directly effect your emotional state and your lifespan – the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control our emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. the fragrances can also enhance the libido and sexual arousal by stimulating the emotional center of the brain.”
TCM: You had an interest and began working with holistic modalities from a very young age. What peaked your interest? What do you love about this area of therapy?
VB: “From a very early age, it didn’t make sense to me to take a pill when I had no clue about what it was made of. It seemed senseless to read about so many possible side effects just to soothe a stomachache, a headache or muscle pain. That peaked my initial interest in herbs, and by the time I was 15 years old, I remember taking Golden Seal and Echinacea when I started to feel my immune system going down.
By the time I was 18 years old, I was already a certified aesthetician, aroma therapist and a massage therapist with special focus on Shiatsu. Shortly thereafter, I studied moxibustion and cupping therapy. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. It can be done directly or indirectly. The purpose of it is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi and maintain general health.
Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese method of healing. It opens the meridians to allow invigorating energy to travel the whole length of the body. It also has been found to affect up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear color blockages, activate clear skin and so much more.
Later, I found my big love – herbal medicine. It was my passion for alternative therapies that drove me to constantly learn more. I was intrigued by all the different options available to those whose preference was for holistic healing. I love working with all of them! It’s exciting to incorporate all the different aspects into my treatments. It has been deeply satisfying to offer this wide range of healing modalities to my clients, and because of it, I think it has made my treatments and my product line uniquely different. It’s more than skin deep. It is an integrated experience that affects the mind, body and spirit.”
TCM: What would most people be surprised to know about essential oils?
VB: “Essential oils have a very strong energy. The energy of roses has been measured at 320 MHz (the highest). Lavender is 118 MHz. Positive thoughts raises frequency by 10 MHz. Prayer raises frequency levels by 15 MHz. Negative thoughts lower the frequency of essential oils by 12 MHz. Essential oils are one of the great, untapped resources of the world.
Here we have a system of a natural help that is far more than a system of medicine to prevent illness and alleviate symptoms. The oils are in perfect harmony with people and planet alike. By bringing essential oils into our lives, we provide our loved ones and our home with protective care and healing without polluting our environment or ourselves.
Oils have a positive effect on blood circulation. They play an important part in bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while assisting in the efficient disposal of carbon dioxide and the other waste products that are produced by cell metabolism. Good circulation improves the immune system. There’s not a part of the human body or brain that is not helped by good circulation.”
TCM: What are most essential oils made from? We know that some oils are produced from flowers, while others come from tree sap or leaves…
VB: “As I mentioned in the first question, essential oils come from certain species of flowers, fruits, leaves, grasses, roots, trees, shrubs and herbs. However, to delve a bit deeper about essential oils, it is crucial that only pure essential oils be used.
It is quite pointless buying any other product, no matter how wonderful the aroma might be, because chemical copies of natural essences simply do not work for medicinal purposes. While I strive for my products to be effective, the aromatherapy aspect and benefits are incredibly important to me. When people tell me that their depression disappeared along with their acne or dry skin, for example, I know I have done my job well!”
TCM: You had a personal crisis in health that really changed the way you viewed the power of essential oils. Can you tell us a little about your experience and what you learned?
VB: “It wasn’t just the essential oils that I used for my healing. It was a combination of herbal extracts that I made, the use of essential oils by inhalation and topical application, supplements, diet and spiritual work, such as chanting and meditation. Being ill was challenging on every level, and if one’s desire is to approach their illness in a more holistic way, our society doesn’t seem to know how to support that. That lack of support can actually create unnecessary fear and compromise to an already fragile state of being.
In my experience, conventional medicine gave me all the wrong answers and didn’t provide me with any comfort or solution. It was an opportunity to once again and reaffirm to myself that I was, and am, on the right path. However, you definitely have to trust and believe in the process, and sometimes it can be difficult when the healing doesn’t occur ‘fast’ enough. Healing is a process that cannot – and should not – be rushed. Healing is a lot of internal work, and when someone can make that connection, the physical body will realign itself back into balance. This goes hand in hand with every decision that you are making about in life. We can all make conscious healthy choices at any given time. It’s never too late.”
TCM: For someone who hasn’t delved into the use of essential oils before, what is a good place to start? Any initial products, treatments or good reads you’d recommend?
VB: “I always say that if you have to have only one essential oil at home, it should be a very high quality therapeutic grade Lavender oil. It’s one of the only essential oils that can be applied neat to the skin without the need for carrier oil. It’s safe for children and has many uses from curing acne, burns, depression, headaches, insect repellant, oily skin, sprains, stress, etc. It really is an amazing and safe addition to the first aid kit in the home.
Most people are dehydrated, whether due to medications, hormones, stress, diet or the environment. The skin will be the first to let me know what is going on with that person. For instance, a nourishing oil can penetrate and soften all the congestion in the skin, allowing a gentler cleansing to take place. Even if someone doesn’t get a lot of facials, if they are at least hydrating and keeping the skin fed, it will be less effort and damage for when they finally do receive extractions.
For those just starting out with my products, the Herb Infused Toner is a great place to start. It’s wonderful for cleaning, nourishing and balancing the skin, all at the same time. It will not dry out the skin. For those with problematic skin, I would recommend the Therapeutic Balancing Oil. For those who have normal to dry skin, they can actually use my entire product line.
A classic book that every home should have is Prescription for Herbal Healing: An easy-to-use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and their Herbal Remedies. Another great herb book that is basically considered the herbal bible is Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss.
TCM: Your clients’ most popular Vered product/modality?
VB: “It is hard to say because each product is very different in scent. But the people who suffer with problematic skin favor the Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil and the Herb Infused Toner. For those with normal to dry skin, they love the Herb Infused Toner, Le Chocolate Citrus Foaming Face Scrub and the anti-aging oil.
However, in terms of the aromatherapy aspect, my Signature Scent Perfume, Signature Scent Body Oil and the Anti-aging Oil, is really what ignited me in creating my line. Those aromas were the foundation of my formulas that I used to create for my clients. I would send them home with the remainder oil in a tiny vial. It was then that they started to implore me to create my product line. They said they would smell my oil in between treatments and that it would start their day on a positive note.”
TCM: Personal favorite product/use of product?
VB: “It’s like asking to name your favorite child! But if I have to, I will say the anti-aging oil because it was my firstborn.”
TCM: Where can we find your products? Can you recommend any particular spas or practitioners?
VB: “I recommend Great Jones Spa in New York City for facials. I love Karen and Vanessa. Due to lack of time, at this point I am not taking on new clients at my New York location. However, I do continue to give verbal advice and consultations regarding skin, supplements, products and diet.”
For more, visit Vered’s lovely site here. What are your thoughts on essential oils? We’d love for you to share your experiences and insights with us below!