FYI: I am not an MLM mom with “an amazing opportunity for you to work from home”. I became an Essential Oils Coach through The Essential Oil Institute this year. The program gave me extensive training about dozens of essential oils that I can use for my family and in my energy healing practice.
Essential oils have made their way into many households in recent years. They have also made their way into snarky memes and hostile social media captions. Many people think of affluent white women with designer leggings and yoga mats as the primary essential oil users, and they feel compelled to keep themselves at arm’s length from such people. They think that opening a vial and taking a whiff of oil is the gateway to becoming an annoying nutjob who repels everyone. Occasionally, people reluctantly support their cousin at an MLM party and find that, well I’ll be damned, these oils are amazing. Others learn about the benefits of oils from a chiropractor or acupuncturist, or some other personal care professional. Then there is the late-night clicking around online until biting the bullet and ordering a couple of oils and the cheapest diffuser available – just to see. All oil users have their story, and most of them express wistfulness at not incorporating oils into their lives sooner. Often, friends and family end up following their lead as they inevitably try a little sample here and there. Despite the jokes and jabs, the industry keeps growing every year. Aunt Vivienne is not the only person who has a large rack of oils on her bathroom wall. Philip in Accounting has been seen applying peppermint to his temples after accepting an ominous meeting request! MBA student Lashonda diffuses orange while studying, and she sprays lavender on her pillow at night. Home daycare worker Maribel uses tea tree oil in her cleaning solutions. And Bob on disability treats his edema with juniper berry and cypress. Your neighbor Li might be a secret oil user! Are you tempted to pilfer his porch packages?
Somehow, the very few people in the world who think that essential oils can cure all diseases ended up becoming the “faces” of essential oil users for many who have not taken the time to understand the benefits. Now, we have pompous social media users likening any essential oil fan to an anti-science Karen who is harmful to society. It is disheartening to see folks dismiss oils so easily, not because it dings my ego, but because it probably causes many people to shun oils before ever giving them a fair chance. It feels wrong for me to continue to enjoy the advantages of oils without defending them to a certain extent. People deserve to know how helpful these powerful drops can be.
Here’s my oil story.
In 2014, I was going to a Five Element acupuncturist for energy healing. Towards the end of the year, I noticed that she was using essential oils in most of our sessions. I always left feeling deeply rejuvenated and clear – ready to take on everything in my crazy Sagittarian schedule. One oil that really sticks out to me is bergamot. She applied it to the cartilage of both ears and informed me that it would help with focus. The delightful smell of this oil lifted me up to a sublime frequency, and the memory has stuck with me all these years.
In the fall, my acupuncturist decided to have a small essential oils gathering at her beachside apartment. I knew that she was part of an MLM, but the energy of this one felt different from others I had dappled with over the years. She was not an aggressive saleswoman. She was a young medicine woman whom I admired, and I was ready to learn from her. I vividly remember the cool November evening when I stepped into her apartment and took in the wild orange smell being diffused in the living room. The energy of the room was jovial. Soon, more smiling faces joined. My acupuncturist served us hot cider flavored with cinnamon and clove essential oils, and it was out of this world. She gently glided into an informal demonstration about a few special oils and their uses. It didn’t feel salesy. We all marveled at these amazing plant essences. There were single oils and proprietary blends to explore, and everyone was convinced of their benefits. From what I remember, most attendees ordered a starter kit that night. It was a big investment for me at the time, but it felt right to take the plunge. When my oils and diffuser arrived, I immediately put them to use. They did not collect dust in a corner of my room. I happily placed an order for several more oils, mostly blends. I shared my excitement on social media, and I was promptly met with carefully worded backlash from those who preferred the competing MLM. On a weekend hike, I politely grilled my acupuncturist about why she converted to this company after spending years with the other. She was mature, thorough, and humble in her response. I was satisfied with it.
The day before Thanksgiving, my tonsils swelled up fast. I considered going to urgent care, but I decided to follow my intuition and place some lemon oil on each side of my neck where it felt tender. At midnight, there was no doubt that I had tonsillitis. I applied some more lemon oil and made several positive affirmations as I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up at 6, the swelling had gone down significantly – from a 9 to a 2. By the time I had gotten ready that morning, it was completely gone. I was amazed. I was going to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving with family instead of in bed. I am aware that other factors could have affected my healing, but this event left an impression on me. The oil certainly didn’t hurt me. It was a relief to not need antibiotics!
In the following weeks, I began to treat my frequent headaches with oils instead of Tylenol. My starter kit claimed that a combination of peppermint, lavender, and frankincense on my forehead would give me relief. 4 out of 5 times, it did. Not bad! My headaches have diminished greatly in recent years with better lifestyle choices (hello, magnesium!), but I still reach for these oils from time to time. It’s nice to not go through a bottle of Tylenol every two months!
Although I had initially winced at the cost of two proprietary blends, I soon realized that the vials would last a long time – even years with regular use – and that they were worth every dollar. Elevation and Serenity were my go-to blends for the times when I needed a pick-me-up. My vibrational setpoint had reached a new high. I was empowered. I was healed. I was my own shaman.
I replaced my noxious household cleaners with a special cleaning blend consisting of clove, orange, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. A few drops went a long way, and I realized that it was a cost-effective way of keeping my condo fresh and clean. Wiping down counters had the added benefit of giving me an indulgent experience with special smells that activated joy centers in my brain. No more fumes, no more dread!
One fabulous investment I made was a one-day training in a special therapeutic technique that requires several oils and a massage table. The beauty of this service is that I always benefit from it was well as the recipient. As I inhale the different pairs of oils used on the person, I feel the shifts in my own energy field. The person on the massage table is left in a state of profound relaxation and wellness. I don’t have any local friends trained in this technique, and I would give anything to experience it again! It’s the supreme vibrational reset!
Grounding oils like arborvitae and sandalwood became a cherished part of my growing collection. Sometimes, I used them during meditation to quiet the monkey mind. Other times, I applied them to the soles of my feet when things were going haywire in my world and I needed to get out of my head and into my body. I often found that I was using several different oils each day, and I almost took them for granted. Oils had become a staple in my life. They were as vital as bread and water!
As time went on, I began to take chances on lesser-known oils that I had never experienced before. Having a wholesale membership with the MLM meant that I had to spend at least $50 per month plus shipping, so I accrued dozens of vials and a few personal care products within my first year. I enjoyed them all, but I wasn’t sure if I could go on spending this kind of money indefinitely. My acupuncturist introduced me to another top-quality brand that had lower prices since it wasn’t a company that paid several upline folks per oil. I cancelled my MLM membership, but I continued to buy my favorite blends at retail every few months. I also began to explore a couple of other excellent non-MLM brands based on the reviews of honest and passionate essential oil users. For those who are curious, Snow Lotus, Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils, and NOW are all well-touted brands which I have tried and loved.
I will not speak ill of the MLM’s, but I have to acknowledge that the prices can be a hindrance to many folks. Low-income users will be more inclined to buy two single oils for $19 than one for $14 and the other for $12 plus pricey shipping. The aforementioned brands are excellent. They are not inferior to MLM brands. I can feel the defensive energy of MLM representatives who claim that their in-person education is what adds value to the products. However, there are many reputable books out there that can offer education that is on-par if not better than what ‘wellness advocates’ have to offer (cue to surprised Pikachu faces). I will always be grateful for the MLM that kicked things off for me, and I am not opposed to trying proprietary blends from ‘the other guy’. At the end of the day, it’s fun to explore new options. Just be mindful of the fact that there are low-quality oils on the market. Many oils are not pure – they have synthetic ingredients that you would not want to breathe in or apply to your skin. Regular oil users have a knack for holding companies accountable for their standards, so there is an abundance of information available to selective consumers.
My final word on brands and quality is this: Consider the source where the plants are harvested. Certain plants thrive at their full potential in their native lands. Certain companies are committed to paying their foreign farmers fair wages AND contributing additional funds to the local communities. Other companies settle for less optimal conditions for plants. Over time, you will have a good nose for different brands. My acupuncturist said that the higher vibration of the frankincense from the new MLM is what got her attention! Before long, you will be able to distinguish good lavender from ‘meh’ lavender. You will become an oil snob who shakes her head at some of the cheap health food store brands. People will start asking you about oils, and you feel challenged to learn more and gain confidence. You may even buy small sample-sized vials and start acting like an alchemist as you create personal blends. Enjoy the journey!