This inaugural recipe of the Inner Sanctum Library also imparts the history of the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy. We share this in celebration of how it all began.
In February of 1982, I married my husband, O.V., on Valentine’s day. In the same month, I bought the salon business that I had worked at for a few years. I renamed it Rumors, in honor of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, my obsession at the time.
Originally, I sold my collection of vintage clothes there, that I had worn and accumulated for years. I called this “Sylla’s Fancy.” (I was later known for this kind of attire—dripping lace, antique slips for dresses, layers of slips showing some lace-up boots. I loved finding something to add to my style of dressing.) Once, my friend Michael’s son (who’s now an adult) told me that when he was still a child, “I thought you were the goddess or the good fairy with your dresses.” So cute.
Pretty soon after opening, I also sold my first aromatherapy products and essential oils. Eventually, my line was called “Rumors Aromatics.” I sold oils, blends, natural perfumes, and Aveda products on the side. I also created a scent bar where my clients could sit and play with oils, to find the right scent or just smell and look.
Being the first in Tampa to offer aromatherapy, I received a bit of publicity, There were many articles and interviews in the papers, and I did talks on local TV news. Early on, my clients thought I was saying that I did “roman therapy,” wondering what the heck that might be. Now, of course, they know more than most people thanks to their early education in what was then a little-known therapy.
Rumors Signature Scent
My signature salon scent became a Rosemary and Geranium blend (recipe below). Clients would just come and sit and relax as they passed by. Others would know that they had been there due to their smiles and subtle scents. Students from the nearby University of South Florida would come to get a “study blend sniffie,” a cotton ball of Basil and Rosemary. They loved getting fresh ones for exams.
I made custom blends for massages, giving clients the remainder to “bring them back” to my table when they used them. Aromatics, aromatherapy massage, and natural facials became the rage as we became a communal gathering place for looking and feeling good. I did consults and helped a lot of people find essential oils.
My first blends included my own personal scent with a Patchouli base. This has changed yet remained the same over the years (so they say). I also made a blend for protection during meditation that includes 33 essential oils; an earthy, grounding blend with Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood. Finally, there’s also the most asked for blend—our famous Rosemary and Rose Geranium House Blend.
Becoming an Aromatherapy Educator
After half a decade of playing around with oils on my own, I wanted to expand my offerings and share the knowledge I had collected. Many were also requesting classes and courses. My first classes were live, but eventually, I created the Aromatherapy Practitioner Correspondence Course for mail-order. In 1989, I created the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy as my official educational arm, separate from the oils. A few years later, after the salon had been open for 10 years, I closed Rumors and quit selling oils.
It became clear around this time that it is unethical (illegal if medical) to make claims and sell products. I couldn’t continue to teach aromatherapy and sell oils at the same time. I had seen too many so-called educational classes in the hair industry that really only wanted to sell products. So, I moved my office and salon/treatment room to my home. From there, I devoted myself to developing knowledge and experience in this field that had become my passion. I remain here today, working out of my home, seeing clients and working in my yarden …
Recipe for the Rumors Salon House Blend:
Use a 1:2-3 ratio of Rosemary (camphor type) and Geranium, depending on the sweetness of your Geranium.
Rosemary helps open up our breathing, allowing for an awakened state, heightened senses, and an alert mind.
Geranium has always been a balancer for me and many others, most especially it seems with hormones. At least, it seemed to help in those days for a bunch of fertile females in close daily contact. We were all at different places in our cycles, so it seemed to balance out those mood swings, emotional outbursts, etc.
Mix to your preference; some Geraniums are rosier (like Rose Geranium from Reunion), and some are less rosy (Chinese type); the other cineole type Rosemary will also work, but my preference has always been the camphor type for mental effects!
This blend still makes those who visited or worked at Rumors remember those days with fondness and fun. We’ll never forget the deep friendships that last to this day.