Philosopher’s Stone Apothecary Blends Natural RemediesNov 30, 2022 ● By Carrie Jackson
Virginia Gullo-Ciaccio. Photo courtesy of Philosopher’s Stone Apothecary
With its modern take on Old World alchemy, Philosopher’s Stone Apothecary is a place for physical healing, therapeutic counseling and spiritual growth. The center in Arlington Heights combines alternative services and holistic healing products to help clients reach optimal mental, emotional, physical and spiritual balance. Owner Virginia Gullo-Ciaccio strives to make everyone feel supported on their healing journey. “It’s a place for the community to come together and learn from one another,” she says.
Gullo-Ciaccio draws inspiration for the center from her Italian roots. “Growing up in a close-knit Sicilian family, I developed a deep respect for holistic remedies. Our ancestors worked in tandem with an inherent understanding of the natural environment. They passed on the basic knowledge that organic foods, herbs, essential oils and precious stones contain preventative and curative properties that can be alchemized and used for natural healing,” she explains. As an adult, Gullo-Ciaccio naturally gravitated toward homeopathy and other alternative remedies. She was looking to add a passion project to her career as an attorney and opened Philosopher’s Stone Apothecary last May to share her love of holistic healing with the community.
The center is a hybrid retail boutique that also offers various healing services. Clients can choose acupuncture, reiki, yoga, meditation, life coaching and somatic healing in one location. The practitioners also specialize in herbal medicine, human design readings, and nutrition and hydration coaching. “Having all the resources in one place and specialists who can complement each other makes it more accessible than hand-picking different treatments. The acupuncturist is more inclined to recommend reiki to a client if it’s also offered onsite. Clients feel supported and can try out modalities they might not otherwise have been exposed to,” says Gullo-Ciaccio.
Workshops and special events help clients explore their healing journey even further. The center offers one-time and multi-session classes in various topics, including Yoga w/Journaling, Akashic Records Reading, Aura Photography and Sleep Coaching. While some of these events are tailored toward individuals or small groups, there are also free community classes for a larger group to get together.
“Opening our space for a weekly community healing circle was important to help our clients connect with themselves and each other. We started with a meditation circle and recently added a reiki circle that has been well received. These classes reinforce the healing power of vibrations and allow us to build off each other’s energy,” says Gullo-Ciaccio.
For those looking to extend their healing practice at home, Philosopher’s Stone Apothecary has a selection of unique products to enhance the experience. The specialty store includes a carefully curated collection of essential oils, salts, incense, sage, candles, teas, herbs, spices, stones, crystals and jewelry. “While our products are all the finest quality, we strive to keep them accessible. Clients can walk out with a $15 bracelet or a stone for a particular ailment without making a huge financial investment,” Gullo-Ciaccio stresses.
The ancient wisdom of an apothecary reminds us to slow down and stay grounded amid the chaos of the modern world. “Our society relies too heavily on external cues for approval and acceptance. It’s easy to lose your true sense of self and feel isolated. We stress to our clients that real healing starts from within when we stay grounded and listen to our inner guidance. The traditional understanding of alchemy accentuates the belief that, ‘To heal is to evolve, and to evolve is to heal.’ If we can take that positive vibration out into the world, we’ll all be better off,” says Gullo-Ciaccio.
Philosopher’s Stone has found a unique niche among a teenage audience that increasingly turns to holistic ways to manage anxiety. The center looks to further engage that group by working with local high school counselors for their input. “Teenagers, amid so many transitions, are looking for stability, but also open to experimenting with new modalities. Learning new breathing techniques and other grounding practices can help support them through trauma and other lesser stressors like finals and the college application process. Our Teen Yoga + Crystals and Teen Reiki workshops offer a respite and allow time for reflection,” says Gullo-Ciaccio.
Philosopher’s Stone enables clients to feel empowered about their healing. “More than ever, people are looking for alternative ways to feel better. They’re tired of being sick and dealing with heavy toxicity from pharmaceuticals. They also want to have more of a voice in their healthcare decisions and the power to choose their treatments and healing modalities. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the industry is still in its infancy phase and somewhat disorganized. Our goal at Philosopher’s Stone is to bring these healing resources together and offer a more streamlined experience,” Gullo-Ciaccio explains.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.