Talk to Us: Alison Gallagher

We recently chatted with Alison Gallagher, the founder and maker behind Alyssum Alchemy, which is focused on creating tools for natural healing, wellbeing and daily meditation rituals.

Here’s what she had to say:  

Having worked with essential oils for over a decade, could you please describe to us how scent can help a person’s sense of wellbeing?

Where to begin? Scent has been used since time began for rituals and ceremonies, in attracting a mate, meditation and purifying a space. Our sense of smell helps to govern our appetite and stimulates our pleasure centres. Some fragrances have almost a euphoric effect on us, others help us to feel relaxed, while others refresh and stimulate our mental focus.

The same part of the brain which registers scent also registers memory, so over time, scent can become very closely linked with experience, memories and specific practises. For example, if you use lavender every night on your pillow, the mere smell of lavender outside of the bedroom may trigger a feeling of wanting to go to sleep. Lavender contains chemical constituents which help to calm the nervous system and has been proven to assist with insomnia and stress, so this is part of the how it works on a physiological level, but its effects can be enhanced if you can also create a memory association. So you can create very strong therapeutic triggers with aromatherapy to help with everything from study to meditation.  

The benefits of aromatherapy have been long supported by clinical studies and science which demonstrate its effects on mental and physical wellbeing. More and more people are also utilising natural aromatherapy products to support them in their spiritual practises such as meditation and yoga.  

We stock your meditation mist, dream mist and clarity oil in our Nurture store, what’s one use for each of these products that people sometimes overlook?

The Clarity Oil is the perfect travel remedy as its good for so many things. It is good for headaches, nausea, anxiety, jet lag and hangovers, not to mention the uplifting and fresh smell of lemon, peppermint and rosemary help with focus and motivation.  

The Sacred Space Meditation Mist is obviously a tool to support with meditation, but it is also a great mist to take to yoga. Use it to mist your mat before and after yoga to make it smell amazing and the essential oils also act as an anti-bacterial surface spray for your mat, keeping your mat smelling delightful and killing germs. Simply spritz and wipe over with a clean towel to avoid leaving a slippery surface.  

The Sacred Stardust Dream Mist might seem like a product reserved just for bedtime, but it’s actually amazing during the day too for anyone suffering from anxiety and high levels of stress, as it is incredibly grounding and calming and the vibrational remedies included are really supportive with helping you to feel safe and calm. It is also quite an earthy unisex fragrance with lots of vetiver and Australian Sandalwood; so quite a pleasant natural fragrance for men.

You mention Reiki on your website as an integral part of holistic health, what is one misinterpretation you feel some have about reiki?

I think it’s really easy to discount something you don’t fully understand. Many modalities of energy medicine have been dismissed as not being grounded in science, yet more and more fascinating studies are revealing the powerful effects of relaxation, mindfulness and meditation. Science is now able to reveal the healing effects of meditation and mindfulness to be highly effective tools which support wellbeing and successfully combat the symptoms of stress (which if left unchecked, can cause many types of illness).  
Reiki is essentially an extension of deep relaxation and meditation, except you don’t have to do anything, simply lie back and soak up the healing energy from the practitioner.

In really simple terms Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing where a practitioner channels universal healing energies to offer up support and healing for their client. While I’ve worked as a hands-on practitioner in the past, I love being able to Reiki charge my products. It allows me to be really present when I’m decanting my products and in order to channel healing energy I really need to be in a very relaxed and almost meditative state. It adds an extra level of positive intention and healing energy to my products and people really feel the difference. Some people comment that they feel the love or the blessing as soon as their open their package or smell the product. I feel very honoured I get to share what I love with so many people.  

You’ve spoken about the importance of self-care as a parent, what are a few things you try to do everyday to ensure you are the best version of yourself possible?

It was becoming a mum that really demonstrated to me the importance of consciously making time for self-care. Priorities change so much when we become parents and I found I was running on empty trying to do everything I thought I needed to do to be a good mum. But, I wasn’t actually taking time out for me. It took burn out and adrenal fatigue to wake me up to the fact I had to make self-care a priority in order to be the best version of myself. My business already existed, but this little wake up call inspired me to focus my business on creating products which encouraged people to make time for daily rituals.  

I find if I try to turn my daily routines into rituals (even when I am doing things that might seem mundane) they can become supportive moments of stillness or self-care. So a shower or bath can become a cleansing and restorative ritual, putting skincare on can be an act of self-love if I’m using gorgeous organic products and even having a cup of tea can become a ritual to just sit and simply ‘be’. Meditation might not happen every day, but I do try to alternate a brief meditation practise at home with a yoga class at my local yoga studio. I love experimenting with cooking healthy, wholesome food, but I also believe part of self-care is having space around our goals, so while we might aim to live a certain way, we aren’t freaking out when we have takeaway or a treat. Self-care to me is all about balance.

Thank you Alison for sharing your wisdom and philosophy with us, and for allowing us to keep your beautiful oils and mists in our Nurture store!