First I want to cover something that some will take issue with, I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate AND a Certified Aromatherapist. The issue with this is some will believe that my opinions or business is based around my growing doTERRA business, without considering the professional ethics of being a certified Aromatherapist.
As a certified Aromatherapist, I am insured, I registered with the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (CFA), I have to follow ethical guidelines that may or may not be in line with my doTERRA business and I am expected to keep my Aromatherapy knowledge current or up to date with continuing education requirements.
So naturally, when someone makes a claim that I am affiliating with doTERRA because it is one of my sources of income, it’s ridiculous and unfounded, as I can make money in many ways and I can’t affiliate with a brand without good reason professionally.
So this is my intent with this article, to explain not only why I affiliate with doTERRA and some other companies, but also what any person in the essential oil world should be considering before settling on a brand. If you know me, you know I follow my heart, with logic and passion, money does not cloud my thinking at all!
When considering essential oils, it’s important to ensure you are getting the purest oil, because like many things, plants can be exposed to pesticides, bug infestations, or can be cut with a synthetic alternative for profit.
One of the best ways to ensure purity is through advanced chemical testing. For this reason, if a company does not publicly and easily provide access to their GCMS report testing, I won’t even consider them as an oil company.
There are huge advancements in the essential oil industry, where chemists and perfume enthusiasts have found synthetics that only advanced labs could detect…meaning they are so advanced about adulterating oils that synthetics do test as natural compounds in less advanced labs and sometimes what an oil is being adulterated with is actually natural, but not necessarily good for us or the oil. Scary to think that we could be inadvertently applying synthetic compounds with little or no evidence of their safety or effective uses and even scarier the companies that get away with it because of unregulated labeling laws. Plus isn’t the whole point of using plant matter, or essential oils in this case, to get away from unnatural chemicals?
Now some companies have claims like soil analysis or limited testing, unfortunately, I don’t feel this is adequate and it does take the little guys out of my practice use.
Next after being fully informed and made aware of their testing, what it is and if a neutral third party tester provides the results, I look at how the oils are obtained, also known as sourcing.
We know that the best oils are grown in their natural habitat. Any company could collect a plant, replant it in large greenhouse and alter it to grow in a country they can control the whole process, but they miss out on its ACTUAL natural compounds and they take away from in many cases small farming businesses or developing countries doing this.
The best oils will come from the country that they grow naturally and free. Lavender grows everywhere, but the best lavender does not grow on the side of highway and would you really want to use lavender grown wild next to smog pollution in north America?
Many countries have plants that are owned for hundreds of years and passed down through family lines. Those plants are maintained and harvested with the intention of keeping the plant alive and the family business thriving. When a company takes seeds from those developing countries, they are effectively stealing the profits of that farmer and the development of that country. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to buy products that do more good than harm.
Additionally, those same plants would have to be seasoned to grow someone unnatural, leading to a modified plant. Modified plants don’t have the best history in science and health matters….I can think of a few food products that have been altered this way and there is a ton of controversy around it.
Lastly when we allow them to grow naturally in their environments but under pay the farmers or use brokers…a middle man designed to make profits…the plants themselves become at risk of being endangered or extinct.
Take Frankincense for example, it grows wild on mountains cliffs and rocks. It can’t be cultivated, so people can’t replant it if it dies, it has to grow wild on its own. It grows exclusively in Somalia in both Somali-land and Punt land. It takes in some cases 60-80 years to mature enough to even be safely harvested. It involves making calculated cuts to the trunk to extract and must be limited to around 100. If a farmer, or someone illegally stealing it for profit makes more than 100 cuts, the trees could die and we have no way to recover them.
And women in Somali-land sit sorting the resin to pick out the best product for sale, typically only make super low wages, like 8 cents a day. Both the farmers and women don’t have access to information to know how popular this plant is all over the world, they have no idea what we pay for it or the fact that they could be demanding more money and fair trade concessions. They fall victim to brokers under paying them and then the brokers mark it up for profit to companies and the companies barter to get the best price…..but this is all sacrificing the plant and the people of this land.
You can learn more specifically about Frankincense at http://www.conservecalmadow.org/.
So because businesses can under pay farmers or source their oils through brokers or other illegal means, price is actually a consideration for me. If an oil is so cheap it’s too good to be true…..it is in fact too good to be true. Remember the best oils are sourced from all over the world, so shipping a 15ml bottle of Frankincense alone would cost more than $15 from Somaliland (I presume), it costs me that to ship it from the US to Canada, and that doesn’t even cover the wages to the farmer, the women sorting it, the broker if you use a company that sources that way, the third party testing, bottling, labeling and packing. So yes, Frankincense comes with a higher than some price tag, but it definitely should and you should be very wary of oils being sold for prices that just don’t make sense or seem fair.
How a company operates is a distinguishing factor in my oil choice. No company is void of mistakes, but how they respond to their mistakes says a lot about a company. You can search just about anywhere and find a mistake by almost every oil company out there, whether it be a bad batch of oil or a labeling error. The important thing to consider is not a company with a flawless history, as at some point, they will error, it’s only human, but what does the company do if they did err? Some companies will become defensive and try to defend or smooth over the wrong without ever admitting a wrong existed. Obviously I can’t trust a company that can’t even admit their own errors. Other companies will accept that an error was made, make a public statement to address it and correct their processes so it won’t happen again. So investigate long and hard, find the oil company errors and then decide if the rebuttal to the error falls within your comfort zone or not.
Finally I like to look at all the extras an oil company does. Is your oil company of choice a business in it for profit exclusively, or do they give back. Charities are huge, one of the things that makes holistic professionals want to earn more money is so they can give back more....holistic health practitioners tend to be givers. But not all companies give back, some just keep padding their own nest egg.
Now before I conclude my thoughts I want to point a few things out about Aromatherapists and MLMs.
To be clear, I run a holistic wellness community online that operates primarily as my Aromatherapist practice and will continue to branch out as I develop my holistic qualifications…I am studying holistic nutrition at the moment. To explain how this works, in my Aromatherapy practice, a client can come do a wellness consultation with up to 3 health concerns and a follow up of up to 2 concerns for an upfront cost of $110…$65 for the wellness consult, $45 for the follow up. After completing their initial consult, I would refer them to the best places to access oils and they would pay for oil in additional to the consult. As an added benefit to my doTERRA business, I offer to waive the consultation fees when my clients enroll to purchase oils through my doTERRA business. I do make a commission off their oils choices and I am very upfront about that.
Interestingly, many Aromatherapists run practices where they charge the consultation fee….which no health care plan in Canada covers currently so its exclusively out of pocket….and then they sell the oils they relabeled or marked up 5 fold (minimum) for profit. Aside from the initial consult in a typical practice and buying the Aromatherapists marked up oils, the support going forward is based on paid consults or appointments. My business, the wellness community gives you access to science, a professional opinion shared among many and continued support, all with just the cost of your annual membership ($42 in Canada the first year and $30 in subsequent years, but doTERRA sends you a free bottle of peppermint, so its almost a free renewal).
If however a client was adamant that they didn’t want to save 25% off their oils with a wholesale account and have the opportunity to earn free oils and shipping, I would happily connect them to the oil companies I feel are reputable for their specific conditions upon completing their wellness consults ($110 up front). I honestly believe when it comes to holistic health, we need to follow our heart and our passion, that may or may not be with me or the company I affliate with, but it should feel right.
So in conclusion, do some research before settling on an essential oil and don’t assume everyone in a business model you don’t like has ulterior motives. Many of us are actually helping more people make safer and smarter oil choices than tiny practices accomplish anyways.....isn't the whole point to help people thrive and heal.
If you want to learn more about my wellness community, feel free to contact me. I don't push sales, in fact pushing sales would be compromising my ethics as a practicing professional, but I am candid and honest. I won't bash your brand, but I will share why I may or may not choose to use them.