It has been a busy week or so at “essential oils central.” In case you didn’t know, , the FDA sent a nasty-gram to a few companies regarding compliance, whether or not an essential oil is a drugwhat people can claim or not claim, say or not say, reference or not reference with regard to essential oils use.
I was not pleased when I heard the news- certainly for political reasons- which is not the purpose of this post.
I had just settled into a huge career shift with the majority of my focus on building my essential oils business. I have blogged more than once about what has led me here. It is deeply personal yet has caused me to shout from the roof top about how essential oils have transformed my life- brought me to a different level of “being” and helped support various body systems to ease my health symptoms. I have sarcoidosis. And while the FDA has not said I can’t tell people I have sarcoidosis, and while I have never said essential oils cured my sarcoidosis, or that I used essential oils to treat sarcoidosis, I did feel that I got a virtual slap on the wrist when I read the frenzy of posts including the FDA letter itself. After all, I have medical issues and I use essential oils. If I state those two facts in the same sentence, have I crossed a line? Have I placed my livelihood at risk?
The Psychotherapist to Coach Paradigm Shift
I closed my psychotherapy practice because I felt that for the most part, I was not able to make a difference in the lives of others due to regulation and the culture of diagnosis, pharma and treatment. I grew weary of seeing clients who benefited from counseling, only to be stifled into “non-compliance” because their insurance company needed a more significant diagnosis to continue coverage. So I began the shift a few years ago and trained to become a coach.
I found the coaching culture to be liberating for both me and my client. I decided I was tired of writing policy and enforcing government regulation. I decided I want my vocational pursuits to land me in the HAPPY quadrant. I began integrating this personal shift into my teachings with therapists, coaches and healers. The path I was on landed me smack dab in “essential oils land.” I was happy there- my own grown up, existential Disney World, you might say. And so, entering the essential oils business felt rather freeing.
You can imagine that the FDA letter had the opposite effect- sort of like my boss just slapped a big folder on my desk and said, “We need a corrective action plan. Oh, and by the way, the SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) needs to be thoroughly updated.”
Staying Above the Wellness Line
And then it dawned on me that this FDA stuff is the very reason why I love essential oils. The FDA is forcing me to live within my own authenticity. That’s right. I don’t like diagnosis, disease, or the allopathic approach to health. I understand what modern medicine offers me- sound diagnostics, treatment for acute conditions, and maintenance drugs when needed- I get that. And I am grateful because I have certainly had to lean on the medical community to manage my health over the years. But I have intentionally stopped pigeon-holing my own health and have begun to focus on my body’s systems (digestive, lymphatic, nervous, etc…) rather than the diagnostic label.
Day to day? I prefer engaging in activities, food choices and skills of daily living that enhance my everyday life and that is what essential oils do. They support me spiritually, physically and emotionally. As my dear colleague said, “Essential oils are NOT a drug substitute.” And that is so true. Essential oils don’t belong side by side next to a list of drugs they can “replace.” Essential oils are much more than that. For me essential oils are like meditation and prayer, nourishment, solitude and community. And guess what? The FDA doesn’t regulate any of that.