Though it is high up on my list of spas to visit, I haven’t yet had the good fortune to be a spa-goer at the ultra-luxe Spa at the Mandarin Oriental. I was able to get a little preview, with the Quintessence Bath and Shower Oil from their signature product line.
Just a few of drops in a bath or a massage lotion is all I need, since this custom-blended essential oil is heavily scented. The key essential oils in this product are frankincense, mandarin and ginger. The Quintessence oils were all developed to have restorative and balancing effects, and the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in NYC uses this one in particular in their Signature Oriental Essence Massage to “realign the mind and emotions.”
The Quintessence Bath and Shower Oil is described on the box as a product that:
…brings the body’s energy flow into alignment. Warming ginger, uplifting mandarin and sacred frankincense bring a grounding influence, encouraging a deep sense of equilibrium for mind and body.
I was curious about the smell of frankincense and its use in aromatherapy, since all I know about it comes from the Christmas story. Turns out that this aromatic resin comes from the African Boswellia tree, and it has sweet-smelling notes of pine, lemon and wood, as well as a fragrance of incense. On the product box, it says that frankincense was traditionally used in sacred spaces to heighten spiritual awareness. Traditionally, frankincense was greatly valued because its fragrance was believed to heighten spirituality, by inducing deep, meditative relaxation that enhanced worship and spiritual visions.
Today, aromatherapists, massage practitioners and yogis have found that frankincense’s fragrance does deepen breathing, aid relaxation, and cause the lungs to expand. Modern science validates these observations by showing that burning frankincense releases molecules of trahydrocannabinole, a psychoactive compound that may be responsible for calming the mind and uplifting emotions.
So, yes I think frankincense essential oil or incense would be a great aid in decompressing and unwinding. Maybe you could even have a spiritual vision or two. But what about the other ingredients in this oil, mandarin and ginger?
Anybody even remotely interested in natural medicine knows that citrus and ginger are potent ingredients in aromatherapy, herbal medicine and homeopathy. Mandarin is a softer, warmer, more pleasant-smelling citrus than orange and tangerine. Apparently it is the most calming of all citrus oils, so aromatherapists like to use it for kids before bedtime and for adults with insomnia. Interestingly, on the Quintessence product box, it says the zesty mandarin is known for its gentle energizing effect. Some aromatherapists argue that mandarin has the same uplifting and refreshing properties as the other citrus oils, but in a more delicate form.
Ginger is probably one of my favorite natural ingredients in homeopathy. I’ve long used it to quell motion-sickness and nausea, help with digestion, and as a soothing throat remedy. Ginger has been revered for thousands of years as a universal medicine, especially in countries such as China and India. It was used as a digestive aid since the Middle Ages, and many cultures believe it is an aphrodisiac that increases energy. Today, doctors in natural and Chinese medicine use ginger for stimulating circulation, reducing inflammation, relieving gas and gas-related abdominal pain, and helping digestion. Massage therapists also use it for stimulating circulation and easing muscle aches and pains.
In terms of this bath oil, they claim to be using ginger as the final essential oil to “bring inner strength and determination.” Aromatherapists have been combining citrus and ginger, since the duo seem to have an positive, uplifting, and subtle energizing effect.
For me personally, I found the scent of this oil to be calming and pleasant, when used judiciously. The frankincense hasn’t caused me to have any vision quests or spiritual visions, but I do find myself a little more relaxed after smelling this oil. And for that, I’d like to thank the Mandarin Oriental for letting us take a little of their spa home with us in this bottle.
Quintessence Bath and Shower Oil was developed exclusively for the Mandarin Oriental by UK-based Aromatherapy Associates.