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The Modern Apothecary

Wellness Feature

Written by Samantha Lund

Photography by Taryn Emerick

Recently, you’ve seen it everywhere: all-natural remedies, farm-to-table facials, chemical-free cleansers. In the last few years, there’s been a call for all-natural substitutes to chemically created goods and medicines.

With that, we’ve seen the rise of the modern apothecary.

The Madrona House, one of Seattle’s well-established apothecary hubs, sits nestled between corporate buildings and offices just blocks from Madrona Park. Visitors are greeted with fresh tea brewing and the smell of essential oils in the air.

Vanessa Ainslie, a former massage therapist turned healer, created Madrona House as a safe space for mind-body integrative healing and practice.

“Energetic medicine is different. It’s subtle in a world that’s constantly in unrest,” she says. “And remedies like this are a welcome change.”

What, exactly, is mind-body integrative healing? It’s more about the process than the before and after, Ainslie explains. To begin, customers sit for a talking session to discuss what they’d like to change in their lives. Anything from physical, mental or emotional goals are on the table. Ainslie sees her process work wonders on them all.

From there, each person is given a plan, which usually includes talk therapy and bodywork (massage, energy clearing, sound healing, chakra balancing and cord cutting).

“We have these energetic fields where pain and trauma are held and vibrate at certain frequencies,” Ainslie explains. “By weaving therapeutic dialoguing, bodywork and energy work, we are able to integrate your experiences and call all your soul parts home.”

Ainslie practices mind-body therapy because she doesn’t believe Western medicine or therapy is pleasurable for the patient. Traditional therapy talks things through until they’re solved or the patient is tired of talking about the same thing over and over again, Ainslie explains. Her approach adds bodywork to make the experience more pleasurable.

“Adding bodywork like sound healing makes it pleasurable to work through these issues,” Ainslie says. “A lot of the time it comes back to finding self-love, forgiveness or just compassionately holding space for your feelings.”

Of course, not everyone wants to go on a healing journey. Madrona House also hosts consistent classes including yoga, rituals, sound baths and healing sessions open to anyone interested in a mini-journey.

In studying energetic herbal medicine, Ainslie is also the creator of her own line of oils, teas, self-care essentials and metaphysical tools. If you’re looking to practice healing at home, this is the perfect place to begin. Each of her products is organic and sustainably crafted. Everything, other than the threads and seals on the tops of bottles, is made of reusable glass. Ainslie also encourages repeat customers to bring in their old bottles to be sanitized and reused.

For more information about Madrona House, visit


Essential oils can be found almost anywhere, but an apothecary offers a sustainable means for purchasing them and also getting information about how and why they affect your home space. When used correctly, essential oils are believed to reduce anxiety, calm nerves and even act against colds and allergies.

A tincture is created by dissolving a medicine in alcohol. Ainslie makes tinctures for everything from immune support to anxiety soothing and digestive relief.

Crystals are some of the most misused products. “Most people think you can set it in your home and it will work,” Ainslie says. “Every stone vibrates at different frequencies and it’s worth holding them and trying to create the relationship with them so they can work.” While visiting an expert, Ainslie suggests customers ask about crystals and get advice before trying to use them.

Self-care essentials are common in many apothecaries right now. With the current craze over self-care and self-love, apothecaries are just one of several places where customers can talk to an expert about the results they’re looking for and buy sustainable, reusable, responsible products.

Metaphysical supplies sound daunting, but they can be used to create atmosphere in your home. Smudges are traditionally used to wash off the outside world when entering a sacred space; however, they’re more commonly used to clean rooms of bad air or feelings. Infused oils can be used in a similar way to create sacred spaces or “charge” rooms.

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