Interview with Barbara Close, Founder of Naturopathica
Barbara Close is the Founder and CEO of Naturopathica. A company that provides skin care, body care, herbal teas and remedies. Barbara first opened Naturopathica East Hampton Healing Arts Center and Spa in 1995; and from there began developing products that empower well-being. Her mission has always been to educate people on the benefits of holistic health and its connection to beauty.
Barbara has a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Naturopathica draws from Barbara’s knowledge as an herbalist, esthetician and aroma therapist to create incredible products.
Naturopathica employs experts in holistic skin care who focus on skin personalities (not types) to understand what is going on beneath the skin. I recently had the opportunity to interview Barbara and experience first-hand her amazing products in her wellness center in Manhattan.
Interview with Barbara Close, Founder of Naturopathica
1. When did you first become interested in herbalism and aromatherapy?
My eccentric Great Aunt Eleanor, an ex-pat who lived outside of Paris, offered me my first vision of natural health. Europe has a strong ancestral knowledge of herbal medicine and I loved tagging along with her to visit the herboristeries for a verveine tea to help with sleep or a Calendula salve to help with dry skin. We would visit the mineral spas to “take the waters,” and I enjoyed soaking with her in the mineral pools and mud baths.
After graduating from massage school, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I witnessed the inability of Western allopathic medicine to help her cope with her illness and turned to the traditional healing arts to help ease her pain and anxiety. As I witnessed the effectiveness, I became determined to create a place where people could learn about self-care rituals.
2. Can you explain the difference between herbalism and aromatherapy?
Both herbalists and aromatherapists use botanical materials for therapeutic benefits. Herbalists focus on the topical and digestible benefits of plants. Aromatherapists focus on the emotional and balancing benefits of essential oils through inhalation. Herbalists focus on extracting the life force of the whole plant matter; while aromatherapists focus on extracting the aromatics.
3. Where do you source your herbs from?
We sustainably source herbs from all over the globe, depending on their native environment and availability. Our tinctures feature fair trade, rare herbs from the Amazonian Rainforest, Western Asia, Europe and North America, extracted in cane sugar and glycerin to ensure longevity.
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
4. You were way ahead of your time, essential oils and aromatherapy seem to be all of the rage now, how have you seen it evolve and grow?
The Wellness Industry has exploded in recent years, now amounting to a $3.7 trillion global wellness economy. This investment in personal wellness is directly relative to our increasingly hectic, 24/7 lifestyles. In the past 30 years, the number of people diagnosed with depression and anxiety has increased roughly 50%, leading to a rise in inflammatory health conditions. Rather than relying on symptoms management; people are turning to healing traditions such as aromatherapy, herbal remedies and meditation to feel better.
With that, the wellness industry has come a long a way in demystifying healing traditions like aromatherapy. Education is more readily available, and elegant packaging and diffusers have made the practice feel luxurious.
5. I love the way you combine it all and offer amazing products with services as well. Do you think you will expand and open more wellness spas?
In additional to our Healing A
rts Center & Spa locations in NYC and East Hampton, NY, we have over 400 Spa Partners, including recent additions like Canyon Ranch, Cliff House in Maine and The Spa at Sea Island in GA. These award-winning properties are looking to Naturopathica as a resource partner, replicating our Spa experience by offering our signature treatments and Vitality Bar of herbal remedies. For now, our focus is on supporting this integration.
Up Close and Personal with Barbara Close
6. What is your favorite way to unwind?
My number one place to unplug is the floor of my Orient, NY home, rubbing my Dachshunds’ bellies. When I need to escape I ride my horse on the North Fork of Long Island. I also like to run around the woods chasing squirrels with my Dachshunds.
7. Which product of yours can you not live without?
As a product formulator, I’m always excited what’s new. Right now, I can’t live without the Retinol Renewal Concentrate, a 7-day skin booster, and the Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm with probiotics and peptides. The rich, nourishing texture and honey pot aroma are the perfect pick-me-up on cold, winter days.
8. What is your favorite scent?
It’s hard to pick just one right now but I would have to say Vetiver; it has a balsamic earthiness, that is so grounding.
9. How do you prescribe or recommend the tonics?
Tonics are for everyday health and Elixirs are for more acute concerns, like a cold or hangover. Each tonic or elixir includes one of our herbal tinctures, designed to support radiant skin, muscle health, natural immunity and stress relief. We choose the custom tonic or elixir based on the guest’s primary goals
10. Tell me something unique about yourself.
I’m a firm believe that laughter is the key to longevity and love funny videos like Carpool Karaoke, which we’ll break to watch in the office from time to time.