An Interview with Dr Mariano Spiezia, MD
By Editor-in-Chief Alison Jane Reid
“We have isolated science, instead of connecting it to the human spirit and to nature. I have made it my life’s work to reconnect people to nature.”
Dr Mariano Spiezia MD, Cornwall February 2016
Great innovators are a bit like comets – they are remarkable, often misunderstood, and yet shimmer with an irresistible zeal and charisma. They are very special people indeed.
Ten years ago, word reached me about a very interesting Italian doctor, who was causing great excitement in the small, organic community around the village of Manaccan in Cornwall. Dr Mariano Spiezia, a softly spoken former A&E doctor from Naples, who plays guitar and loves Led Zeppelin and Jim Hendrix as much as Chopin and Tchaikovsky, is also a qualified homeopath and medical herbalist. He arrived in Cornwall in the summer of 1998 for an extended sabbatical from Sorrento in Italy, together with his effervescent, delightful, force of nature wife, Loredana, and their three young children.
At the time, Dr Spiezia told me he was searching for a new adventure and he found it in a landscape scarred by Atlantic storms, by tin mining and quiet, sequestered footpaths carpeted in wild flowers. The family settled on a friend’s lush smallholding in the middle of a wood, and no wonder, this gentle, serious man of science and nature felt inspired by nature’s energetic pharmacopoeia to become a 21st Century Culpepper.
Mariano possesses a love and profound knowledge and curiosity for the kingdom of plants that makes him a charismatic and compelling innovator. Today he meticulously researches and formulates extraordinary 100% Organic Skincare elixirs and effective, healing skin balms based on a perfect synergy of chemistry and medical herbalism, with one very important X-factor, and the one ingredient that money cannot buy – a sheer, exuberant delight for life. Now he has gone one exciting leap further and found a way to make his Inlight Organic Skincare even more effective and extraordinary.
Says Dr Spiezia, “The vision and understanding of life and how it works is rapidly changing according to the new perspectives brought about by the laws of Quantum Physics. It is more and more evident that matter is “alive” and that it responds to our influences. For years Dr Spiezia has studied these connections with the idea of empowering the ingredients he uses with a higher frequency to gain a positive resonance on people’s skin and overall health. The result is of this research is the Bio-lipophilic Matrix, which is now part of each individual Inlight skincare product.
The Bio-Lipophilic Matrix – consists of a specific blend of pure organic, cold-pressed oils selected for their high biochemical affinity to the lipidic human skin layer. This enhanced blend of oils is then added to every Inlight product.
The idea is simple – To deliver the purest, super natural nutrients in a form the skin instantly recognises. The plant complex is packed with skin rejuvenating efas, ceramides, enzymes, minerals and vitamins designed to deliver a dynamic burst of nutrition and highly effective nourishment, regeneration and detoxification in one go.
This is Mariano Spiezia’s life’s work, nurtured sixty years ago by his father, a chemistry major at Naples University, who was conscripted into the Italian army in 1942 and spent three years in a prisoner of war camp. Despite an early understanding of the brutality of war, Mariano declares he was “lucky” as a boy, and that his childhood was filled with “wonder’ and “magic” larking in the mountains or by the sea.
“I was a boy scout, and my dad was very passionate about nature. I remember we would spend all day on Saturdays and Sundays walking in the hills and wild woodlands in an area called Camaldoli, and also Capo Miseno, where we had a little house on the beach. Today, these wild places have gone. They have now been built on, it is very sad. Back then, my dad would talk about the beauty of nature, and we would look up at the night sky and discuss our place in the universe, and the miracle of life. He was and is a huge inspiration to me.”
After a few months of the Cornish good life, going for walks, tending his own vegetable patch and reading his beloved science and philosophy books, Dr Spiezia told his wife Loredana, that he needed to do something more with his time in his adopted English haven.
He started practicing as a homeopath at The Walsingham Natural Health Centre in Truro, where he still sees patients today, while at home he began to harness both his medical and homeopathic training to maturate therapeutic and healing plants and flowers grown or foraged from the garden in pristine, organic oils.
His objective? To make a small batch of balms and oils for the face and the body, to treat the conditions he saw in his clinic. Word soon spread of the remarkable effect these balms had on the few people who were lucky enough to sample them. As a result, Dr Spiezia worked with the Soil Association to establish the first standards for Organic Health and Beauty certification. In 2001 he became the first person to launch a 100% organic beauty and skin range that created a huge impact, changed the beauty landscape forever and garnered a brace of awards.
Thus, partly through passion and partly through circumstance, Mariano became the father of the organic beauty movement in Britain, and paved the way for many companies with more money and more modest ideals to follow in his wake. Yet ten years on, and after trying many splendid organic balms, beauty unguents and creams, I have reached the conclusion that nothing compares to the seemingly simple, yet wonderfully luxurious and effective, aromatic range of dynamic balms, oils and floral waters formulated by Dr Spiezia for his company Inlight. In fact I am going to make a bold statement, and say that the Daily Face Oil he formulates is undoubtedly (not probably) the best face moisturiser available in the UK or indeed anywhere else.
So why you want to know is Dr Spiezia’s face oil so remarkable? Firstly, the oil has a texture and aroma like no other oil. My partner, also a scientist thinks the oil smells good enough to eat, and has the near euphoric aroma of very good chocolate and Bourbon vanilla. The oil is so light, viscous and silken, it flows over parched skin like the caress of a Hermes scarf. The skin hungrily drinks in this precious oil, leaving it deeply hydrated and nourished. The effect is instant. The surface of dry, damaged or ageing skin takes on a renewed, youthful lustre, shimmer and sparkle. Apply it under, jaded, tired eyes with myriad, tiny lines and little crow’s feet and the lines disappear, as if by magic. Mariano puts it more simply, “this oil is happy oil – it makes me feel full of life.”
This is true and very exciting. But let me make one thing very clear. It is not by accident; Dr Spiezia has engineered the oil to have this effect.
The reason is simple and has implications far beyond the organic balms Dr Spiezia makes, which are favoured by a certain Royal chatelaine.
Dr Spiezia applies the founding principles of Lady Eve Balfour – the architect and founder of The Soil Association – that if you grow vegetables, plants and flowers in healthy, living soil free of pesticides – the resulting crop will be vigorous, healthy and bursting with life-giving nutrients. Dr Spiezia is literally growing and sourcing his ingredients when they are at their most potent, to make food grade beauty products of extraordinary quality and efficacy – and the proof is in the glowing, aromatic, sensual results.
Before coming to Cornwall for the first time, Mariano had set up a detox centre in Sorrento, and while initially he worked on cleansing the body from the inside out, he also started ask what would happen if he applied the same herbs in a different form, from the outside of the skin too?
“I had begun to carry out little experiments, and then when I came to Cornwall, I had more time to start playing and experimenting with herbs. At first my English was very poor, so I spent a lot of time on the small holding, observing the phenomenon of life – the wind, the sun, the worms, the microorganism in the soil – it was fantastic.”
One day he work up and told Loredana that he had to communicate to people what he had seen in the garden. “I started formulating the first balms very late at night, when the children were in bed, and it was amazing! When you are in the middle of nowhere, on a farm, surrounded by the magic of nature, it is very inspiring. So, the formulas came very easily to me.”
Mariano also knew that he only wanted to use certified organic herbs and plants and wild crafted herbs. “By this time in my life, I had already been involved in an organic farming project in the south Italy, so I knew the importance of using food grown without pesticides; but there is another important benefit. Organic or wild food is also rich in energy. We forget this. We talk only about minerals and chemistry. If you eat an apple straight from the tree, it tastes vibrant. This is what I am all about. Vital food, and vital cosmetics, full of healing and nutritional energy because of the way they have been grown and harvested, at the peak of their therapeutic and healing properties.”
The results are stunning. The Inlight health and beauty range is nothing if not a sublime, simple pleasure, whereby both the application and the mood enhancing effect of the herbs and flowers have a powerful effect on the psyche. This is intelligent, truly holistic beauty. The products smell so good, it is tempting to eat them! Please don’t. But I will make a prediction. I predict that Inlight will become one of the first green brands to go global.
Mariano Spiezia is a remarkable man and visionary. He represents the exciting face of the new breed of green entrepreneur. He is also possessed of a rare, lovely passion for people and yes, for human frailty too. In the evenings, he loves to pick up his guitar and he also writes poetry and music, inspired by his passionate interest in helping people to realise their potential.
Above all, everything this quiet, serious man does is informed and shaped by his Italian childhood in the fifties and sixties. “When I was sixteen, I read a lot of books on science and nature,” he tells me. “I loved Jack London and his books -Call of the Wild and Wild Fang. They told the story of a remarkable dog called Buck, who triumphs over man’s cruelty to become the leader of the pack. They were very romantic and heroic adventures, and captured the spirit of North American during the Klondike, and they inspired my life-long desire to be close to nature.”
At the same time, he was reading books about the philosophy of science by the great scientific minds of the day from Einstein to Richard Feynman, and this drew him to study medicine and become a doctor. “All these scientists were inspired by the links between human beings, science and the observation of nature and that was very exciting to me,” he explains.
This was a defining moment in Dr Spiezia’s life and work. “I thought, ‘right, I want to spend my life linking people with nature and science; and let’s not forget the spirit – because I am a spiritual person too.’”
Spiezia enjoyed studying medicine, and he proved to be an outstanding student. He also makes the point that medicine was far less prescriptive when he undertook his medical training. In later years, he became less happy about the ever increasing, pragmatic approach to patients. He also suggests where we have gone wrong in the past sixty years. “We have tried to isolate science from our spirit, from our souls, from our fears, from our joy. That is our mistake; the truth is that we can’t disconnect science from our daily lives.”
Dr Spiezia enjoyed studying chemistry and physiology, but is the first to admit there is no substitute for the real thing. “Of course, when you leave university, you don’t meet a medical book, you meet a person!” It wasn’t long too before the young medic soon began to feel limited by the textbook, clinical approach to patients, and he went looking for something to satisfy his soul. “My brother-in-law was also a GP, and he told me about a homeopathic course for doctors. At first it was quite shocking, as the approach is quite different from conventional medicine, and I needed to adjust my brain. But I have always had an open mind. Though I have always said to my children, ‘remember the truth does not exist – there are merely opinions, ha, ha!’ So I say, ‘you can listen to me as your father, but not too much, because it is just my opinion.’ I like to stay flexible, and to refine my ideas, otherwise you get old.”
How did you view your time as a doctor in an emergency ward?
“It was very interesting. In an A&E ward you see acute problems, and sometimes, immense suffering. So, I always tried to relieve the person’s pain and suffering, but also to look after them on an emotional level, because that is very important when someone is an emergency or life-threatening situation.”
After ten years as an emergency doctor, and seeing patients privately as a homeopath, Dr Spiezia reached a point where he felt his life had become a contradiction. “I no longer felt right in myself about prescribing drugs and medication, when I came to believe in prevention first. So, I left medicine to practice complimentary medicine. But I am not against conventional medicine. In Italy and Germany, you can only practice homeopathy, if you are first qualified as a medical doctor.”
While this man of science and nature is an irresistible force for change in the health and beauty business, what I like most about him is that he is a great optimist, who thinks we should all stop worrying about the planet! How refreshing, compared to some vocal elements in the environmental lobby, who appear to be making a living out of peddling fear and guilt.
“When you have fear, it is very easy to manipulate people. I think we should stop worrying so much, because nature is incredible, and has a great ability to regenerate, no matter what we do to her. People often ask me why I chose the name Inlight for my company. It is very simple. Inlight comes from the idea that life is light. We are alive because of the sun and the sunshine that it gives us. This is why I love the Marigold flower, which is a beautiful, vibrant yellow colour. I am a Leo, and I like the sunshine. The marigold opens in sunlight and closes her petals at night. It survives and is given life by the sun. What is light? It is energy, light, love; it is the engine room of our planet.
“The purpose of my work and Inlight is to help people to manifest their inner light and beauty, triggered by pure, vibrant, energetic and effective skincare. It is also to spread the lovely message that the future of beauty is turbo charged organic! You would be amazed at Mother Nature here in the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. In the space of half an hour – we can have rain, a rainbow, sunshine and then drizzle – so my message is to stay tuned to nature, because you will never, ever become old or bored!”
I was so impressed by Dr Spiezia and his life’s work, that we now have this wonderful organic producer in our magazine shop. Every purchase you makes helps to fund our incredible organic and fair-trade producers and this magazine. Help create a sustainable revolution and shop via Ethical Hedonist.
Inlight Face Oil – This light, silky oil contains a synergistic blend of soothing and anti-inflammatory herbs and flowers including – organic rose petals, rose hip oil, blue mallow flowers and jojoba oil. I always try and combine the Jin and the yang in my formulations. Rosehip oil is rich in vitamin E, rose is soothing and astringent and blue mallow flowers really repair the surface of the skin.
Beauty Line Softener – this highly effective balm for a youthful boost contains Evening Primrose Oil, which is very rich in omega 3 and 6, and vitamin E. As a doctor, I would us Evening Primrose Oil to treat internal problems including a hormone imbalance and ovaries. It is called the vitamin of life.
Organic Face Cleanser – The original organic cleansing balm and still the best! I love the hardworking action of this exquisite balm that uplifts the senses, lifts impurities from the skin and delivers clever hydration too. With extracts of ginger, coconut, clove bud, green tea and rosemary.
Organic Floral Face Tonic – A really gorgeous toner, which feels like a soft, gentle caress against gentle facial skin. This is a sensory pleasure. A joy to use and wonderfully hydrating at anytime of day with balancing and calming extracts of – rose, chamomile, lavender and cornflower.
The perfect everyday perfume – Eau de Philae – at last a proper Cologne or toilet water based on a recipe from Egypt, land of the Pharoah’s… this intense, zesty aroma instantly transports me straight back to childhood and long summer days with my Grandmother… even better this is the perfect, modern, unisex fragrance. Buy it for your man this Christmas and steal it for yourself! A divine pick me up at work or anytime of day, with extracts of – marigold, daisy, white lily and rosemary
I am working on two masques and an eye serum, which is very silky and very powerful, which will come out next year.
Mariano’s Favourite Flower – The Marigold or Calendula – it is the most powerful, healing flower. It contains many phytochemicals. It is anti-inflammatory, and stimulates the renewal of the cells.
My vision – To expand my company, Inlight, reach lots of people and to make it very successful and tell more people about the message behind the products. I am pleased that there are many companies now pushing the organic movement forward.
The Future is Organic
Do you think the future is organic? Of course! We will have to preserve the world from a lot of contamination. If it is only business it won’t work – that’s what Quantum physics teaches us. The business must be honest. It must be an expression of what you are, not just business. It has to be about one’s beliefs and one’s vision of life.
The Cult of Beauty – We are surrounded by the beauty of nature and lovely people at the Roskilly Farm. I walk our lovely dog, Max every day before I go to my lab. He is a cross between a lurcher and pointer. He is very fast and very elegant lik e me! Ha! Ha! My wife Loredana loves the Roskilly cows. We really experience the seasons here, so we feel part of nature.
Copyright Alison Jane Reid February 2016