The MLM in the Mirror

Posted by Lauren Bridges on

This may be the most controversial piece to ever grace this page.

But I do think it is important to be honest and to be fair. As such, I do not think that we, meaning Aromatherapy, can continue on without a necessary and hard look at ourselves in a certain matter where there is currently an unapologetic and gleeful acceptance of substandard practice. Unsurprisingly to many, this regards our perspectives on aromatherapy formulation. For the sake of this argument, we are discussing aromatherapy cosmetic products available for retail sale.

Folks, we (rightfully) criticize and come down on the dangerous practices presented by MLM companies - practices that involve a blatant defiance of evidence about what does and does not constitute safe practices involving essential oils. We claim to abhor the lazy, reductionist reasoning that leads so many to unsafely incorporating essential oils into their wellness routines, leaving them at risk of suffering potentially morbid complications down the line.

Despite this, we sit back and use the exact same excuses when it comes to the products "our side," for lack of a better term, creates.

The same various versions of "We've always done it this way, and it's been fine," "I've been doing it this way for years," "I've not gotten sick yet," etc. come out of the mouths of consumers and companies alike when they are confronted with the inconvenient evidence that their standards and practices in this matter are not up to par.

In this, Aromatherapy becomes the egregious purveyor of misinformation we supposedly have no tolerance for. We are the ones making excuses for poor formulation practices - practices that even the MLMs know better than to accept as okay.

We can spend all day on the front lines of essential oil misinformation, but we undermine our own expertise when we do exactly what we accuse others of in stepping outside of our scope of practice and "play house" without first learning the rules of the game. And the hypocrisy leaves a foul taste that is difficult to wash out.

Now, just like all those associated with MLMs aren't guilty of misinformation, the same goes for aromatherapists and aromatherapy companies. Some have done it well and continue to do so. We are not talking about them.

But I have literally spoken with companies who have claimed their products are fine, despite every reason to believe otherwise, only to later find out there has in fact been a problem. I've searched through the DIY suggestions of companies, who are otherwise great companies and see day in and day out the recommendations that can put their consumers at an unnecessary risk of illness.

That means you. That means your children. That means your loved ones that are sick or struggling. And these are *your* suppliers. Not the MLMs. These are who many in our community view as the good guys.

We train aromatherapists to help others and "do no harm" and then embrace unacceptable risks for the most vulnerable in the name of tradition and history.

I've watched people teach and students pay for what they want to believe is safe and right with every fiber of their being only to in the end be armed with more misinformation. You have too.

Truth: developing aromatherapy products is costly. It takes time, education, and financial investment to approach it ethically - legally. Opinions on whether or not something is fine mean nothing. Seen that one. In the end, quantifiable evidence showed what can only be described as gross.

You're worth more. Your education is worth more. Your customers are worth more. And Aromatherapy is absolutely worth more than the negligent excuses too many make for this aspect of our field today.

You can't successfully fight misinformation if you embrace it for your own convenience.

Next time it's on the tip of your tongue to correct essential oil usage misinformation, take a moment to look in the mirror and evaluate yourself in this matter. Are you doing it too? Have you become comfortable accepting a certain level of irresponsibility where aromatherapy formulations are concerned?

You cannot stand against misinformation when you relish your own flavor of it.

Food for thought.

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