It is an exciting time to be part of the essential oil movement that is disrupting how we think about health, medicine and wellbeing.
The same way that yoga, and mindfulness were really embraced by the medical community (and society at large) about 10 years ago, more and more studies on essential oils are proving that essential oils can be great complimentary care to medical protocols.
For example, it is widely accepted that inhaling lavender can lower anxiety. Or that Peppermint essential oil can relieve a headache, thanks to numerous empirical studies.
However, there are other areas, like oils for pregnancy, where there is less research at the moment, so it’s more difficult to find out which oils to use and how to use them.
So what do you do if you are a person who wants to use oils for a specific ailment or condition?
I’ll share the story of my friend who wanted to help with physical pain or treating a cold while being pregnant.
She was frustrated because the clear answer is not available… yet.
My friend asked some top wellness advocates if they knew if it was safe to use:
– On Guard Softgels and
– Serenity Softgels and
– Oregano while pregnant, because these oils worked well for her before getting pregnant.
Their answers were “Consult your doctor” or “Trust your intuition.”
I consider both answers unhelpful, and the opposite of what us as wellness advocates, or business owners of any kind, are here to do.
I appreciate acknowledging that we are not doctors. A doctor’s knowledge is extensive and useful. And, it is a little bit lazy to ask someone to ask their doctors about essential oils.
Why? Because likely, unless the doctor is working at a Prime Meridan Clinic (the clinics doTERRA has helped start where nurses and doctors are trained on how the benefits and usages of essential oils), chances are they do not have much knowledge about how to use essential oils.
WHY “ASK YOUR DOCTOR” IS NOT ALWAYS USEFUL ADVICE
The dominant culture takes longer to embrace things that will change it.
You may know the story of Ignaz Semmelweis who was born in 1818 and was a Hungarian doctor who discovered bacteria, disease and infection. Semmelweis observed that if the doctors washed their hands, the number of infections of puerperal fever could be reduced. For this reason, Semmelweis ordered his medical students to wash their hands before and after medical rounds.
He was mocked by fellow doctors, but he could not prove his findings, because bacteria had not been discovered yet.
As a result, doctors continued to deliver babies without washing their hands, and many mothers died as a result. In 1870, Robert Koch proved that bacteria can cause disease.
So just over 150 years ago, people did not wash their hands because the dominant culture did not see the value in doing so. And people were dying. Today is a special time to be alive because with the internet things can change more quickly. Good practices and results can be shared and adopted before empirical research stamps their approval.
WHY “TRUST YOUR INTUITION” CAN BE A HARMFUL PHRASE
The problem with saying “Trust your intuition” is that intuition increases with experience.
I’m a below average cook. I’m good at making smoothies and salads. I can trust my intuition with those things, but with other dishes, or baking, I would make a total mess if chose to trust my intuition. It is good advice to trust my intuition when making a smoothie. Bad advice when making lasagna. Telling someone to trust their intuition without knowing their level of knowledge or experience on a subject is lazy.
Also, I find it’s slight spiritual shaming. The undertone of “Trust your Intuition” can be, “If you were a more centred, calm, spiritual person, who wore white and owned crystals, then you would know how to use these oils, but you don’t so you clearly are a left-brained, intellectual robot and if you mess it up, it’s because you are intuition-challenged” (I kid, and you get the point)
SO HOW DO WE HELP WHEN WE DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER?
Rather than try to give solutions, I asked WHY she wanted to use these oils. What the goal was.
By asking questions, we could together come up with a plan that respected the research that’s available, and practices that work for her. Once I knew more, I also did some research on my own for about 40 minutes.
These were the first places I checked:
Another wellness advocate friend who works primarily with moms/pregnant women
doTERRA science blog
Google Scholar for studies
Together, these are some practices we discovered. One should use oils more sparingly when pregnant. Also, pregnant people may be more sensitive to smell, which makes aromatic use more challenging, though it is the safest.
Goal: sleep better without having to smell Serenity (the smell was making her nauseous).
Practice: Pin-prick a serenity soft-gel and squeeze out half (or more). Each capsule has 2 drops. Certainly squeezing out 3/4 will leave you with an amount that is easily processed by your body.
She could also add 3-4 drops of serenity to a 10ml roller and top with FCO and roll on feet, and put feet under covers without smelling (might be more tricky).
2) On Guard Soft-Gels:
Goal: Prevent or stop a cold.
Practice: Not great to take internally as I had found oregano (which is in the On Guard Soft Gels) can be too strong to pregnant women. So we decided to do the same practice as with serentiy. She could also pour some of the On Guard roll on until a 15 ml bottle.
3) Copaiba Soft-Gels:
Goal: reduce pain
Practice: Yup, same as what we did with Serenity and On Guard Soft-Gels
We also went over other practices that increase overall wellbeing (good rest practices like Yoga Nidra, nutrition, spraying the On Guard Hand Sanitizer often while traveling.)
As wellness advocates, our job is not sell oils. Our job is to serve and take care of our customers. (Psst, this is what people like us do in any business, movement or offering). Once we do that, oils will sell themselves. People will remember their positive experience with us, and when someone is looking for a health solution, they will think of us.
Do you share your experience when you receive excellent client service? Yes. So take care of people and then they will market for you. (Or course you need the proper channels set up online, but that’s for another post).
doTERRA (and yes, almost any business) is about relationships. Don’t be lazy when someone comes to you with a question. Take the time to truly understand what they are asking, and what they are struggling with.
Then, yes, you can take the answers you discovered and put it into something that can be re-purposed in order to create time freedom, and scalable value (like I am doing now – this article can serve as a training piece for my team / any team, and provide some clarity on oils and pregnancy.)
Remember what Maya Angelou said, people won’t remember what you said, they will remember how you made them feel. If you give someone a half-thought out canned response, they will not feel very appreciated or seen.
If you take the time to find the best answer for them, they will feel good. Even if it takes a few hours or days. Even if you don’t know in the moment. In 2019, when many things are competing for your attention, it is the most valuable thing you can offer someone. And, luckily, there is a growing community of educated doTERRA experts creating resources you can find and share and develop your own expertise.
Some good resources for oils and pregnancy: