Meet The Founder: Michelle Roques O'Neil of Therapie Meet the Founder
Named by Vogue as one of the world’s leading aromatherapists, Michelle founded Therapie in a bid to help people combat stress and boost energy from home.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Michelle. Tell us a bit about your background. How did you first become interested in aromatherapy?
I have a slightly unconventional background. I was born in India to touring jazz musicians: a Scottish father and an Anglo-Indian mother. We travelled across India and Pakistan extensively for the first 8 years of my life, until my father grew ill. He had urged my mother to move to England after his passing, which I imagine was pretty daunting for her, to be a young widow in an unknown land at 32 years old.
India and its rich tapestry of colours and aromas embedded in me a powerful sense of scent. My Grandmother (who was a nurse and a keen botanist) always had a desire to help people, and this was also a great inspiration to me.
Over the years I too developed an interest in herbalism and had some early adventures with essential oils. I was also fascinated by the connection between mind and body, embracing a spiritual path at an early age.
Had you always planned on creating your own brand?
I had actually created a brand previously. Therapie Life came into play at a time when I was thinking of focusing on natural perfumery and potentially stopping my aromatherapy practice. I guess it triggered the idea of what I could create to support my clients - This is where the idea of self-care first struck me back in 2010, when everyone thought it was too indulgent to spend time on oneself.
What have been your career highlights?
I was voted one of the Top ten Aromatherapists in the world by Vogue. Becoming the VP of the Aromatherapy association and talking at their 30 year anniversary in Beijing. Creating Pure Alchemy & Therapie Life. In my consultancy work, I’ve created face oils for DeMamiel, a range for Mauli rituals and a range of massage oils for 111skin.
What was the inspiration behind the products in the range?
Initially, it was Stress – people kept arriving in my treatment room talking about how stressed they were. Once I began to investigate further I began to see a correlation between it and many issues arising in people such as Insomnia, exhaustion, inflammation, worry, a sense of hopelessness and lowered immune function – all manifesting under the umbrella of stress. I decided to create a system of aromatherapeutic products that were the equivalent of my treatment bottled with all the insight of my knowledge gleaned over the past 40years.
Do you have a shining favourite product that you can’t live without?
My absolute can’t do without product is Comfort Warming Rub. It’s a lifesaver and works on so many levels: it’s great to warm muscles, ease aches and pains and helps with congestion when you have a cough. It’s just amazing.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy? Is it suitable for everyone?
Yes, I think most people can benefit from aromatherapy, and there are so many benefits. The magic lies in a well-made product, which can help tackle physical issues, as well as having a profound effect on emotions. Through olfaction, they directly influence the neurotransmitters and the limbic system to evoke an emotional response whilst it can simultaneously help deal with the physical. I really feel aromatherapy is in a renaissance, it has so many benefits that occur naturally within the essential oils, but when made into a synergy for mind, body and spirit and they can have a truly transformative effect.
How often would you recommend treatments in order to see results? Do you find it’s instant or a slow and steady process?
It’s difficult to say. Just one treatment will definitely benefit someone, but it depends on what they have come for and how much work they have already been doing on themselves. It can either be a catalyst for immediate release or a salve that slowly dissolves and regulates physical and emotional blocks.
Are there different methods you would recommend to treat specific needs?
Yes, body oils work if your connection with your body is poor, a bath to ensure you make time for yourself, inhalation is great when you need instant support, a spritz when you need to reset and breathe.
Which products would you recommend to try first for those new to the brand?
I think the Protect bath oil is very accessible and is very good when you are below power or immune-compromised. Cocoon Bath oil when you’re feeling a little hopeless and sad. Himalayan Detox salts when you are overextended and unable to switch off. Energy drops to inhale when you need a boost and some optimism.