Silenced by doTerra Leader

When my friend and I began using doTerra products we joined many of the Facebook (FB) groups within the essential oil (EO) community. We hoped to learn more about the oils, share experiences and points of view (POV) with other enthusiasts. Both of us are users and lovers of doTerra EO’s and think they are a quality product. This post is about the treatment we received for expressing our opinions in an EO FB group operated by a high ranking doTerra leader. I wanted to share our incredible disappointment and disbelief with our experience.

I recently saw this leader speak for the first time at an event. She was engaging, funny and her enthusiasm was contagious. I remember thinking this is a woman I can look up to. This is why this incident was especially disheartening. To be on the receiving end of such disrespect from someone I had held in such high regard.

Recently, in this FB group, the question on the safety of ingesting EO was posed. A doTerra Wellness Advocate (WA) was seeking information, since a customer had recently questioned her on this topic. In response, my friend posted the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (CFA) statement on ingestion (See full statement here) and an interview with a renowned aromatherapist on safety issues (View Interview Here). The doTerra leader did not agree with the information posted, which is ok. People are entitled to their own beliefs and views. What I am not ok with is when individuals are not permitted to express their opinions. Whether it aligns with that of your own, or not. Comments voicing our thoughts were removed from the feed. Not only that, but we were blocked from the group entirely.

It was no surprise that the doTerra leader’s stance on ingestion is that it poses no harm. The company promotes this application to be very safe and effective. What was surprising was that resources and ideas opposite this position were not tolerated or open to discussion. In one of her posts, the leader mentioned that my friend was free to provide info like this (safety of ingestion) to her personal FB page, but to recognize that the group is one of individuals flourishing through all essential oil practices. This leader then went on to suggest the aromatherapist community is one of desperation and fear.  Do I agree with this? Absolutely not. I don’t have to agree with it, nor like it, she is 100% entitled to her opinion and I honour that. We were hoping for this reciprocation. My problem is not with the contrasting opinion. It was with the concealing of valid counter points that weren’t in alignment with her POV, and eliminating individuals from the group that expressed alternative information and perspectives for others to further consider.

The doTerra leader mentioned there was no shortage of safety posts made regularly in the group. She went on to say that she promotes safety. If this were true, why were posts containing resources and differing perspectives about ingestion discouraged?  Encouraging these discussions would cultivate a well-rounded insight on the topic. Promoting safety would be giving members of the FB group an opportunity to explore both view points, allowing them to draw their own conclusions whether ingestion is right for them.  Furthermore, if members of this FB group are inquiring about ingestion safety, it’s troubling that pertinent information is intentionally being withheld from these individuals.

I have seen how controversial online discussions can get out of hand and take on a contentious tone. Bullying, belittling and disrespect should never be tolerated. This behavior without question warrants deleted comments and blocking users. I can assure you this was not the case. At no point were my friend, or myself inappropriate.

The doTerra leader’s view was that the CFA exists to provide a directive to aromatherapists, whom don’t want to see consumers use essential oils without their direction. She went on to mention how the CFA gains financially from these professionals. It was my friend’s response to the doTerra leader’s ideas of the CFA and aromatherapists that got her swiftly banned from the group. Her comment was then subsequently deleted from the discussion. It can be speculated why a post that contradicted a misleading representation of the CFA & aromatherapists was excluded from the conversation.

My friend’s response clarifies how a governing body like the CFA protects the public. It’s a form of responsible governing similar to those for doctors, nurses, or physiotherapists, etc.

The CFA protects the public (same as other health professions governing bodies) by setting educational, safety and professional standards, and require their members to participate in ongoing education to stay current with information in the industry. Additionally, the CFA provides the public with ongoing information about EO, aromatherapy, and safety guidelines. There is a reason why these organizations exist for health professions, it is to keep the public safe. Their priority is to advocate for the public not the profession. – Friend

She continued to illustrate the true intentions of the CFA.

They are in no way promoting fear. What they ARE promoting is education and how to use EO without causing harm.-Friend

She further countered the leader’s remark about the CFA’s financial motivations.

Yes aromatherpists pay a modest annual fee of $140. I would hardly say this is turning a profit. This is meager in comparison to the revenue doTerra generates from their EO sales. In 2012, doTerra was bringing in $1 million/day, and in 2015 brought in $1 billion in sales (which trickles down the multi-level structure). This annual professional fee is to pay for the day to day operations of this governing body.  This is no different than any other regulated health profession like doctors, nurses, physiotherapists etc. that have to pay their annual fees to their governing bodies. -Friend

My friend pointed out how several reputable EO companies see the value and credibility of aromatherapists. Often having one on staff. She went on to express why she trusts the advice given by these professionals. She felt more secure taking guidance from an aromatherapist with extensive training than a layperson selling EO.

Aromatherapists are trained in anatomy & physiology, the chemistry of the oil, and how they interact and affect the body. They also can identify when contraindications to EO exist based on an individuals healthy history. Because of this I have confidence in their recommendations when it comes to how to use EO in a safe manner.-Friend

She then reiterated her purpose wasn’t to push her beliefs on others. It was for promoting education on this application. She encouraged reviewing information from both viewpoints.

“At the end of the day if an individual is educated on both sides of this application and decides to ingest, that’s their choice.”-Friend

When I shared my troubling feelings about what transpired, I received the same treatment and was banned from the FB group.

 “I find it unsettling to realize that a comment I read last night posted by (My friend) has since been deleted and she has been removed from this group. I found the post to be informative and very respectful, so the deletion of it confuses me. I have always enjoyed learning from healthy discussion of varying opinions in groups such as this. I always leave gaining new insight and perspective.”-Jeri

Choosing what opinions see the light of day and banning members with differing viewpoints leave one to ponder the motivation behind these actions. This conduct gives the impression that it is not the aromatherapist community that is one of desperation and fear. In summary, transparency must be a priority when it comes to any form of EO application. In particular, consumers have the right to know all facts on the relative safety of products they ingest. All data needs to be made available to EO users to enable them to make sound judgements on what’s right for them. It needs to be based on facts from a variety of reputable sources. Not solely from one sided viewpoints, or resources provided from any company profiting from EO sales.