The Dangers of MLM Health and Wellness Companies
There has been a huge surge in the health and wellness, essential oils multi-level(MLM)/network marketing business model lately. These businesses appeal to stay-at-home moms because they promise a way to earn an income from the comfort of your own home.
I know this post will ruffle some feathers, but please don’t misunderstand. I’m not anti-MLM and I’m no stranger to them. I was with Melaeuca for six years, Juice Plus, and am still using doTERRA essential oils. I get it. I understand! It’s a great way to get all your family and friends to buy things from you and earn some cash. I also think that it’s great that the health and wellness is being spread far and wide.
There’s a problem though.
When you know better, you do better.
I am pro-education, and pro-information. What I am seeing is people with minimum to no herbal, nutritional, or essential oil training, other than what the companies they work for and their upline tells them, making claims and recommendations that are down-right harmful to customers, and also to actual holistic professionals. Being a home business rep doesn’t make you an expert. The problem is the misinformation, lack of education and proper training, especially in things like basic nutrition, herbology, and essential oil safely.
Let’s talks about the dangers to holistic professionals first.
Holistic practitioners spend a lot of time and money on their education, certifications, and licensing. They have professional liability insurance. They are not allowed to say that they are diagnosing, preventing, or curing any disease. The FDA is ALWAYS waiting in the wings to find some violation. The strict rules finally caught up to them, it was a long time coming, other niches like life insurance quotes for seniors are strictly scrutinized by the regulatory bodies. Practitioners make recommendation based on testing, whether it be muscle testing, bloodwork, hair analysis, saliva test, pulse diagnostics, etc. It’s not shot-in-the-dark nutrition or alternative medicine. It’s not, “try this and let me know how you feel”. It’s not one-size-fits-all. It’s based on what the body ACTUALLY needs. MLM company reps don’t know any of these tools to find out what’s going on with someone’s health. They only know things based on how someone feels or what another rep has told them. It’s like whisper-down-the-lane. Symptoms only mean that there IS something going on that is causing it. It does not mean that there is only one remedy to handle it.
Recently the FDA banned essential oil reps from using certain words on their websites and in webinars, or in other educational venues. If they don’t comply, they will have their sites shut down and their businesses taken away from them. It has already happened to a lot of reps. This is serious! This wouldn’t be happening if reps were more educated on essential oil safety, in my opinion. If you tell people “dilute, dilute, dilute”, they will dilute! Of course, the FDA is ridiculous and has taken things too far as usual. But, the problem remains. Cease and desist, or lose your business. You can’t argue with the FDA! It won’t be long until they go after actual holistic healthcare practitioners too.
How about the dangers to customers?
In the holistic healthcare field, we call MLM nutrition “dangerous nutrition”. Why? Because things like soy shakes, applying essential oils without diluting them, synthetic vitamins, and greenwashed skincare can actually wreck your health. How do I know? I wrecked my health in my early twenties by drinking soy shakes every day for months. Why did I drink them? Because I was duped by so-called “clinical research” provided to me by my MLM upline and company that “proved” that these shakes would make me the healthiest I had every been. Wrong! I’ve spent the last 10 years repairing the hormonal damage that was done by excess estrogen in my body. I have the bloodwork to prove how out of balance my hormones had become. It took a total stranger, kind enough to set me straight that the products I was peddling may not be as natural as I thought. I am grateful to her. She opened my eyes to how deluded I was.
Plants, food, and essential oil are all nature’s medicine. They are powerful. They are to be respected. Not to be too cliché, but with great power comes great responsibility. These companies are not doing a good job of keeping their reps in check to make sure the holistic healthcare field does not get a bad name. It would be a shame if suddenly natural medicine practitioners were banned from practicing because of these types of situations. It would take away the livelihoods of a lot of really great people!
What am I trying to do with this article?
Make people stop and think before they make claims that they can’t prove. Stop claiming that products are all natural when they contain almost all synthetic ingredients. Stop telling moms to drink essential oils daily, or apply them directly on their babies’ skin without diluting them. Please get some basic education at least in nutrition, herbs, and essential oils and really know what and why you are recommending your products. Kudos to you if you are a rep who is pursuing education in your field. I commend you!
There is no substitution for a qualified natural healthcare practitioner who can properly handle the underlying causes of someone’s health problems. Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Chinese Medicine Practitioners, Herbalists, Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioners, Aromatherapists…these are the experts you should be going to with your health concerns for true, sustainable health.
Here are some reviews of some of the most popular MLM companies that show false advertising and misinformation that is being spread:
Be nourished. Be happy. Be well.
Sarah is a wife, mom of 5, horse farm owner at Outlaw Acres Iowa, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also a Master Herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and is a Clinical/Functional Nutritionist and Advanced Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioner at Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines, and owns Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).