Debunking the Essential Oils Alternative Medicine Claims

The Rewired Soul
9 min readAug 27, 2020

My son is only 11 years old, but aside from teaching him ways to manage his mental health since he was about 5 through practices like meditation, my other goal is to help him become a critical thinker. Critical thinking is a skill that needs to be developed through practice, and while I’m not teaching my son about all of our inherent cognitive biases and various mental models, I have taught him the golden rule of critical thinking, which is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Recently, my beautiful girlfriend Tristin and I binged watched the new Netflix docuseries Unwell, and I just can’t help but think how different these peoples’ lives would be if they learned the same golden rule. In the series, they do a deep dive on the wellness industry, and they cover topics from bee sting therapy, to 28-day fasting, and even people who buy breast milk online. But today, we’re going to be taking a look at the specific wellness industry of essential oils.

You may have heard of essential oil MLM’s like doTerra and Young Living when a high school friend you haven’t talked to in years tries to get you in their downline, but today we’re taking a look at a different angle. We’re going to look at essential oils through the lens of critical thinking as it’s presented as an alternative medicine. As a recovering drug addict who was addicted to prescription medications, I often research alternative medicines because I can be skeptical of the medical industry.

But if you’re like me, we need to learn how to critically think about alternative medicines because there can be dire effects. In the Unwell episode on essential oils, we meet a woman who started using essential oils and broke out into a rash. As the rash became more severe, she asked people in the MLM Facebook group, and they told her that this was just her body’s way of detoxing, but she was actually having an allergic reaction.

This woman was an adult, but the episode also shows a family who has made millions from selling essential oil courses and recipes, and they even have their children drink the oils with shakes. There’s another woman in this show who is desperate to help her daughter with autism, so she has now turned to essential oils.

The Rewired Soul

Psychology/mental health/philosophy. Stay up to date by following me here & on Twitter/Instagram @TheRewiredSoul. Books available at