Are MLM Companies Hurting the Aromatherapy Field?

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Unsolicited health advice is an unfortunate side effect of being on social media. You can’t so much as share a photo of tissues without being bombarded by well-meaning advice — everything from trying bone broth to doing yoga under the full moon. We recognize that people are trying to be helpful, and many times some of that advice is really great. (Give bone broth a try!)

Unfortunately, unsolicited health advice isn’t always helpful. And it’s taken a dark turn over the past few years thanks to the rise of essential oil MLM companies.

What are essential oil MLM companies?

MLM aromatherapy companies bring reps on board to sell their products to their friends and family. At face value, starting your own business can feel empowering and freeing. MLM companies are especially popular with stay at home parents and those re-entering the workforce. Fans and reps are fiercely loyal. All you have to do is wade onto Reddit for a few minutes to see how strongly reps defend brands like DoTerra and Young Living.

Are MLM Companies Hurting the Aromatherapy Field?

There are many companies out there with different structures. All involve an investment up front and rely on marketing via existing relationships such as through social media, school clubs, neighborhoods, and other social circles.

Are essential oils reps qualified to give health advice?

If you’re having a medical issue, the only person qualified to help you is your medical care provider. That might be your primary care doctor or your holistic specialist or your Chinese medicine practitioner. We recognize that everyone has their own path toward wellness.

Your Facebook friends are NOT qualified to give you health advice. This is the major issue with the way multi-level marketers push essential oils. Facebook messages, Instagram messages, email, texts… Nothing is off limits when it comes to telling someone how they can improve their lives and health with essential oils.

Unsolicited advice gives real aromatherapists a bad name.

Can you improve your life with essential oils? Sure! The cornerstone of our life’s work at Stillpoint Studies is the power of aromatherapy to promote physical and energetic healing. But we wouldn’t reach out to someone to try to sell them oils if they complained about having the flu or even worse — a serious chronic illness. Too often, unqualified essential oil marketers make claims about treating diseases and illnesses with aromatherapy — despite having no educational background in essential oil beyond the marketing materials provided to them by the company they rep for.

This, of course, leads to annoying many people who go on to think that aromatherapy is snake oil or that it harms people. When parents of kids with childhood cancer are confronted by people trying to sell them essential oils to heal their kids, there’s something very wrong with the community. And it breaks our hearts.

Not every essential oil rep is doing harm.

There are qualified aromatherapists out there selling oils from big companies. It’s very difficult to find them due to the volume of people who have absolutely no background in essential oil chemistry, safety, or anatomy and physiology. While we recognize the good eggs out there and appreciate the time they’ve spent educating themselves and practicing aromatherapy safety, the reputation of the entire community is at risk due to how many “bad eggs” are out there.

The pressure is on consumers to research not only the people they buy from but the companies who produce those oils. Look into lawsuits around claims. Look into GC/MS reports on the quality of oils. And consider the quality of life of those who invest in MLM companies and all too often see no profit. All of these factors should go into not only who you take advice from, but who you buy oils from.