Who: Sushma Saga, founder of The Calmery, a healing brand that offers a straightforward intelligent approach to energy healing. We met Sushma recently when we shared a panel discussing the power of fragrance and were impressed with her thoughtful, super-informed use of powerful botanics within healing.
Botanicals also played a part in how her brand got its name, her love of House Of Hackney’s palm prints resulted in her investigating how the brand used East London history to inspire its designs.The Palmery print was named after the Victorian palm greenhouses in Hackney. She reasoned that, if you could grow and nurture palms in a Palmery, then maybe you could do the same for calm in a calmery, and thus The Calmery was born.
Today I’m wearing In The Wood for Love by Roos & Roos, I’ve only started wearing it recently, and it’s completely different from anything I’ve worn before. Usually I’m quite floral-heavy, I’ve worn jasmine all my life because it reminds me of my mother and of India and it’s taken a lot to tease me out of that ritual. I looked at the menu of its ingredients and thought hmm, no. But there was something about it. It makes me feel like me, rather than ‘me wearing something’. I wasn’t sitting on my skin, it was in my skin. I felt like it chose me, so I went for it.
Because it’s so different to what I’ve worn before, it feels like an evolution. I’ve changed as a person recently but I hadn’t changed my scent to evolve with me. It felt like In The Wood for Love came and said “this is the new you”. I’d made a lot of changes in my life, I’ve done a lot of healing work and self development from which I’ve emerged anew, but my scent hadn’t reflected that and so it came along like it was supposed to be, to represent who I am now.
I went to an event the other day and there was a guy there who couldn’t stop smelling me. It was really great that someone was captivated by the way I smelled, but it was beyond normal behaviour! It was like he wanted to climb into the smell.
I use scent in lots of different ways. I apply my fragrance after I’ve had a shower, to my neck, my pulse points and sometimes on my hair. At home I’ll use incense, either as cones or sticks, or even just frankincense crystals, which I’ll burn in the evening because it’s very relaxing. I buy frankincense in Morocco, and I’ll burn charcoal tablets until they are fully ash and wait until the heat is lower, then I put the frankincense on and let it gently simmer, it fills your room with a beautiful, powerful smell.
I pick up a lot of incense from India, where there’s always so many to choose from. Often it’s the packaging attracts me! And I actually got a really good one from the Longdan Chinese supermarket on the Hackney Road.
I also use essential oils in spritzers, which I make myself. I have some classic ones I use at work including a heart-opening one, using rose oil. Essential oils have a molecular vibration and our body and chakra points also vibrate, but at different frequencies, so different oils connect with different chakra points. Rose oil has the highest vibration frequency and its known for opening the heart, whereas geranium is a good one for women, it’s particularly useful for when you are hormonal.
Scent works beyond the ‘thinking’ brain in that it affects your energy, it harmonises with you. Entrainment theory is the process where your body’s vibrations meet that of another object, it’s why sound baths work, so I think you’re getting a healing of sorts when you are inhaling the scents. It’s happening even if you’re not thinking about it because you’re feeling it.
I see how people respond to certain oils instinctively and intuitively without the brain getting involved. If I’d listened to my brain when I first smelled In The Wood For Love” it would have said it’s not for you, you don’t like violet, but it was an intuitive attraction that went beyond something cerebral
I’m also interested in working with one one energy point at a time. Quite often you’ll get essential oil products which will combine fragrances, for example one might include something that works with the heart chakra combined with something for the root chakra combined with for the crown. It can make for a beautiful blend, but it’s not so good for focused energetic work. I like to concentrate on just one chakra point at a time
I create desk sprays, which are designed for that moment at your desk when you need an invigorating boost, they contain sage, rosemary and bergamot. The idea is that you spritz around yourself and by just actively taking a breathe, you create a calming moment. It forces your body to rest your nervous system and reduces your cortisol. its a nice ritual to introduce.
I see many clients with anxiety issues. Modern life means you’re on your phone the whole time, creating a reward addiction, your brain never stops or gets a chance to rest. The life-comparisons happening on social media makes young people very anxious. I’ve also got clients who are anxious because their cultural aspirations make them torn between what they expect and what they should be doing, with no cultural role models to show them where they should be.
I don’t know how I do healing, I just know. I just do it. I can’t tell you how it works!
Photography by Chloe Winstanley