Tribute: Geraldine Howard co-founder Aromatherapy Associates
I was very saddened by the news yesterday that the aromatherapist, Geraldine Howard had passed away. For those of you who have known and loved the oils from Aromatherapy Associates, Geraldine was the driving force behind these adorable, ribbon-tied caskets. Their exceptional quality, the uniqueness of their blends and their wonderful soothing and tonic effects was down to her.
It was Geraldine who championied the loudest, the transformative benefits of aromatherapy. So consistently and commitedly so, that aromatherapy lost its then kooky reputation in the UK to become something that so many enjoy today.
We first met over 20 years ago. I was working as a junior PR executive and was sent to her then offices, in Bagleys Lane in Fulham to have one of Aromatherapy Associates’ miraculous aromatherapy massages for the first time. And indeed they were so.
I had never been cared for with such subtlety or such awareness of the human body and how sensitive it can be. Sure, I had never experienced anything like it before, so I couldn’t at that time compare. But it was a life changing moment. How uplifted yet soothed a person could feel after a deep, practiced, massage with high quality essential oils wasn’t something I’d ever anticipated. But there it was.
The bar she set, really set the bar for the rest of the spa and beauty treatment industry in the UK at that time. And everything since, the massages and facials, the sublime bath and body oils (few to surpass Geraldine’s own repertoire), has in my opinion developed from the level of excellence she set with Aromatherapy Associates.
And then there is the quiet strength of her personality. On the occasions we have met since her diagnosis, I was (like so many, I know) humbled by her extraordinary strength and her absence of fuss around her predicament. How she tackled life from then on was nothing short of miraculous.
I hope her legacy will continue: her strength and optimism, her acceptance yet still with hope. And ultimately, her gift of offering comfort to millions around the world through her amazing aromatherapy oils and treatments.
Rest in peace Geraldine. We will miss you.
Inner Strength, photographed, was created by Geraldine in 2013 and a percentage of sales go to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation.