Today on my Facebook feed is a news story about young girls soaking tampons in Vodka and using them to get drunk AND this little beauty:
You read that right, this brand of essential oils is being touted as fighting Ebola and that is being propagated by licensed massage therapists. I have only one thing to say about both of these stories:
Are you fucking kidding me?
At first, I thought the EO/Ebola thing was a silly joke, but some of my less informed colleagues are out there spreading this information like it was handed down to them by God herself. If you are one of them, STOP. Right now. Just stop.
First – ebola is not an easy disease to catch. You have to come into contact with the body fluids of someone with the virus. It’s not spread through the air, like the flu.
Second – there are only 2 people in the US with the disease. Out of over 300 Million people in the US. And these 2 aid workers caught the disease in Africa while treating infected patients in Liberia. They came home to the US for treatment and to die near family. They are in isolation units after having been transported to the US in specially equipped planes. No one has caught ebola in the US and it does not exist on this continent.
Third – there is no known cure for Ebola. You either have the constitution to survive it or you don’t.
So why am I so angry about this one little graphic? Let me count the reasons:
1 – THIS IS FEAR MONGERING FOR PROFIT
Yes, I said it. Given that Ebola infects 0.000000667% of the US population and does not exist in any animal populations on this continent, no one you know is going to catch this disease. So firing up your copy of Photoshop and creating some new advertising materials to cash in on the Ebola news is fear mongering for profit. Did you know that there are 6,500 cases of Leprosy in the US (1)? And that armadillos carry the disease? How about bubonic plague – you know the disease that killed over a third of the population of Europe? There are 7 new cases reported in the US each year (2). I don’t see anyone advertising about preventing either of those with essential oils. They are not as sexy or in the news as much, so there’s less quick profit potential.
Where are your damn EO posters for treatment of leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) or Plague? Well? Where are they? If you don’t have them, you are simply fear mongering for profit.
2 – YOU ARE OPERATING OUTSIDE YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE
Oh, you can put all the disclaimers about “this is just my personal opinion” on all of your posts, but I’m sick of you manipulating the power differential (3) like that and then hiding behind some weasel words. Your clients think you know more about medical care and health matters than they do and your opinions have power. Real power. Your weasel words and disclaimers do nothing about that and you know it. So quit. You are misusing your license to manipulate people into changing their health care treatment in ways you have no training to asses.
3 – THIS IS UNETHICAL
See points 1 and 2. You are whipping up a panic and selling an unproven remedy and marketing it with your advanced massage training and licensing. Yes, I know you have ‘anecdotal evidence’ showing that your favorite EO works for everything, but I have anecdotal evidence that the sun circles the earth. It comes up in the east, travels across the sky and sets in the west. That doesn’t make it true. And your anecdotal evidence about EOs doesn’t make their claims true, either.
4 – SOMEBODY IS GOING TO GET HURT AND SOMEBODY IS GOING TO GET SUED
When you convince someone to rely solely on your EO to prevent and cure disease, someone is going to get sick and die of one of those diseases. And that makes you liable, despite your cut and paste disclaimers. It happens to bigger companies with better disclaimers, it will happen to you. And when that happens, I plan to cheer on the plaintiff because you, dear, are responsible. You whipped up their fear, told them to trust you because you have a license, offered them a miracle cure, and they died. That’s all on you.
I’m not even going to offer the platitudes of “I know you mean well” and “You do it from a place of love” because that would imply that I condone this kind of behavior. And that would make me complicit in any harm that behavior does. I don’t and I won’t.
It’s good to keep your clients informed about the latest in health news
When that ‘informing’ turns into fear mongering for profit? Nope. That’s not good. That’s unethical, irresponsible, dangerous, and disgusting.
First – Do No Harm
That should be the first thing you think about whenever you treat a client, educate a client, or market to a client. Will what I am doing/advocating harm someone? Will my encouraging someone to defer medical attention cause them harm?
If you are more interested in jumping on the media frenzy “we’ve got 24 hours of airtime to fill so let’s make it all sound like a crisis” bandwagon than actual facts, than I say shame on you.
If you find this post to be too inflammatory or offensive, then as my grandmother used to say “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” I don’t want to be complicit in the harm you are doing.
To the families and friends of the two aid workers, one of whom has died while I was writing this: My very sincerest condolences. I am so sorry for your loss and have the greatest respect for those brave people who go into aid work knowing the risks and facing the dangers. Blessings on you and your loved ones.
1 – http://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/
3 – A power differential exists when one person has more knowledge in an area than the other. Examples include: car mechanic and car owner, doctor and patient, lawyer and client. The person with less knowledge will defer to the expert’s advice or opinion.