I became a Doterra consultant in 2015. I‘d been introduced to the products at a vegan fair I was doing with my allergy friendly chocolate.
I‘m a sucker for good marketing, and fell hook, line and sinker for the ethos of the company and the quality of the oils.
I didn‘t like the multi level marketing aspect, as it‘s something that, to me, feels somewhat sleazy. I know many people love it though, so that‘s not a slur on them, it‘s simply how I feel.
Towards the end of 2015 I did a day‘s training in the Aromatouch system which was probably the point at which I started to have reservations. At that point I hadn‘t done my aromatherapist training, but had been using essential oils for 20+ years, so had a reasonable amount of knowledge. It didn‘t sit well with me that we were told to put a range of individual oils and oil blends, directly on the skin, undiluted.
When I mentioned that I had numerous allergies, and was concerned about possible reactions, I was told that you can‘t have an allergic reaction to essential oils as they don‘t contain any proteins.
This didn‘t completely convince me but, due to my own experiences with allergies and from working in the free from sector with my chocolate, I knew proteins were a key element in allergies.
The person who was running the workshop said she was a qualified medical herbalist, and the training for this certification seemed to be pretty strict. So I put my faith in ‘the experts’ and went ahead with the class – though I did request that I have fractionated coconut oil applied to my skin with a reduced number of drops of EOs.
A short while later I bought a copy of The Essential Life which is a beautifully presented tome, containing lots of suggestions on how to use the oils, and what ailments they would be suitable for.
The book also contains recipes for various delicious sounding drinks and dishes. I was already using food grade essential oils in my chocolates, so this wasn’t anything new to me. However, what did seem strange, and to be honest, potentially problematic, was the suggestion to add particular oils to your drinking water.
If you’ve ever put essential oils directly into your bath, you’ll know that they float on the top. Drinking water is no different, and the advice to shake vigorously before drinking is utterly pointless. Essential oils coming into direct contact with the delicate mucous membranes is not something to be promoted.
To be fair, the front of the book does contain a big disclaimer saying that the contents of the book haven’t been evaluated or approved by the US food and drug administration, nor by any other regulatory body.
With the proliferation of MLM essential oil companies in the last few years, and the growing interest in more natural forms of health care, more and more unsafe usage is being seen, with allergic reactions and even anaphylaxis on the increase. Yes. You CAN have an allergic reaction to an essential oil, even though they don’t contain proteins. If anyone tells you otherwise, they don’t know their stuff.
An Unregulated Industry
Aromatherapy is currently a pretty unregulated industry, and as unsafe usage grows, it’s highly likely that there will be calls for regulation. This could mean that the average user will no longer be able to access the wide range of oils currently available.
Thankfully, because I’m a curious, life long learner, I’ve invested a lot of time and money into becoming as knowledgeable as I can.
When my one to one aromatherapy dispensing service is open, you can rest assured that you will be working with someone who takes safety seriously, and who continues to invest in highly respected continued professional development. It’s of paramount importance to me to keep up to date with the latest research and safe practice.
In all honesty, I do love Doterra’s products. However, I don’t love their prices, the business structure or the fact that unqualified ‘consultants’ spread misinformation that could lead to some very serious consequences.
Most days I see posts on social media that concern and frustrate me. A little knowledge truly can be a dangerous thing.
As a professional aromatherapist, I just don’t feel that it’s good for my reputation to be connected with any MLM essential oil companies, which is why I decided not to renew my Doterra membership last year.
Remember: just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it is safe. Before you take a claim or usage suggestion at face value, dig a little deeper, or speak to a reputable aromatherapist.
Are you using essential oils safely? Have you used any of the practices I’ve talked about? I’d love to hear from you.