Social Media Diagnosing in Aromatherapy

Posted by Lauren Bridges on

Diagnoses are hard - and they can be terrifying.

As aromatherapists, we work with a variety of diagnoses, ranging from simple to severe. We've been there for sniffles and colds, and we've been there to support sometimes life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer. And that can be a hard part of a job. I remember the first time I had a client pass away. It's one of the worst things I've experienced as an aromatherapist. She was such a vibrant, tough woman, and she smiled through what was a legitimately difficult hardship. Her attitude was something truly to be admired. But I think part of the reason she was able to stay so positive in the midst of her hardship is that she knew what she was dealing with, and knowing what she was dealing with enabled her to get the appropriate support team in place to carry her through the hard time.


So, that all being said, please understand how frustrating and upsetting it is to watch people seek advice on social media for their needs, wanting help for whatever is ailing them, just to be told by someone they don't know on a comment thread that they must have something like cancer, COPD, or multiple sclerosis - or any number of other severe ailments.

On the other side of the coin, imagine how scary and frustrating it is to see a real need for qualified or specialized care and some person on a comment thread who has spent all of three seconds reading a blurb about a condition telling someone they're fine, use "X" oil, and sending them on their way like all is said and done when in reality something more nefarious really may be lurking.

In one scenario, we have unnecessary fear-mongering. In the other we have people being led to believe everything is simple and solved by essential oils without a thought to the fact that they may really need more help for the sake of their well-being.

Neither is okay, and neither allows for the individual in need to get the appropriate support team in place.

It's so easy to pop onto social media and hand out remedy answers. And I'm not saying that it's never appropriate to offer advice. But no one has any business throwing out serious medical diagnoses or trying to treat a medical condition on a social media comment thread. That needs to stop for the sake of every party involved - because people can be hurt. People can be sent into unnecessary and spiraling anxiety. People can end up wasting a ton of essential oil not even coming close to affecting what their needs are.

There will be many who don't agree with this, and that's fine. People can have their own opinions. But I would encourage everyone to consider the lack of wisdom in haphazard assumptions about diagnosing from people who are not qualified to be making diagnoses (fact: aromatherapists don't diagnose either!).

Holistic care means treating the whole person. To treat the whole person, you need to have the appropriate modalities in place to accomplish your individual health needs. 

This can also include conventional medicine, which many do not stop to think about. As a matter of fact, for your complementary and alternative therapies to be most effective, it is in your best interest to have a practitioner on board who can legally diagnose because the rest of us depend on them to know what we need to help you with.

Don't cheat your health out of what it needs by trying to fill in the gaps with social media. In the end, it isn't worth it.

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