“There’s an Essential Oil for That!

You have probably come across these people either on social media or in person. People that proclaim and pitch ideas that essential oils can fix most of anything that could possibly be wrong with you. They act like there is scientific proof behind their claims, but for every article that mentions there might be some validity to them, there are two or three that declare there is nothing to them. 

Do you know what this would be called in past centuries? Witchcraft. Think about it. You are basically making potions to inhale, ingest, or rub on your body. They are trying to pass off using a smelly liquid as a way to heal wounds, help with pain, eliminate depression, and various other ailments. In fact, as a person that loves fitness, I am offended that people are recommending essential oils for weight loss instead of using common sense like eating less and exercising. That’s like drinking a Diet Coke after ordering one of everything off the menu.

I went to the doctor recently with my elderly father and his physician started recommending all of these essential oils he should be using. The medical doctor was not treating his pain and illness with actual prescribed medication or sound medical advice, but instead was recommending oily water to fix his serious health problems. Plus, essential oils are expensive! They definitely are not cheap. And I assure you, they are not covered by insurance. Essential oils used in aromatherapy aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so you never know for sure what you are getting. 

One of my past students was a kid with serious ADHD problems. The parents were told this year after year, and they definitely recognized the symptoms at home. They asked for my help and together we filled out the papers for the doctor to prescribe the child some medication for a month or two to see if it would help. But at the last moment, they decided to instead use lavender essential oils in place of actual medication that could work. This led me to start using a vodka essential oil that I would ingest every time I had a parent conference with them.

Essential oil companies are making huge profits from these products. People on social media are making posts about how much they help with their ailments. But for most, I would think that it is just a placebo. Just like that magical elixir that conmen would sell from their traveling wagon back in the old days. But just like with that magical elixir, there is no scientific evidence that essential oils work. 

In 2012, 10 scientific reviews were completed that looked at several studies on the effects of essential oils for health conditions like hypertension, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and dementia. They concluded that “the evidence is not sufficiently convincing that aromatherapy is an effective therapy for any condition.”

I don’t deny that smells can influence mood and behavior. Pleasant odors can bring a smile to a person’s face. Unpleasant odors, like after my friends eat too much Mexican food, can make you gag and clear the room. I am all for alternative medicine, but there is just no proof behind essential oils. They say the benefits can be immense. The Food and Drug Administration has cracked down on such health claims though. Now most companies simply say they promote wellness or something similar. If you or someone you know is considering using essential oils or are already trying them out, tell them to save their money and visit a medical professional instead. They are too expensive to use as a placebo. 

 

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