[Un]well Documentary - Essential Oils

Woman putting essential oils in her mouth

If you haven’t seen the [Un]well documentary on Essential Oils (2020), it’s an interesting, but not really helpful, 54 minutes of entertainment (currently available on Netflix). This image is taken from the documentary - please don't take essential oils orally!!

Unlike a lot of documentaries I’ve written about (see Health Related Documentaries), this one has no narrator and no apparent position on the matter. The opinions come from the interviewed individuals themselves, which range from hopeful to cultish. The intent seems to be to shock and wow instead of inform.

It starts off well with a clinical aromatherapist who talks about how essential oils are being used in hospitals to help patients with anxiety and pain. A mother talks about the therapies they’ve tried with their autistic daughter and gives essential oils a try. Then a chiropractor, Dr. Z, and his wife Mama Z, use essential oils for everything and run a for-profit ministry. A renowned aromatherapist, Joy Bowles, talks about the lack of scientific evidence for the benefits of essential oils. A Doterra rep claims essential oils saved her from brain cancer. Another woman talks about the rash she developed and how she was encouraged to keep using the essential oils until her whole body was covered in this painful rash. A lawyer who worked on a class action lawsuit against Young Living claims its a pyramid scheme. Hear about Young Living’s founder, Gary Young, who repeatedly performed unlicensed medical services, including a fatal attempt to deliver his own baby who he'd left under water for an hour (for more on Young, see this).

However, the biggest problem is the shots of the MLM reps and their  disregard for safety (taking essential oils orally, applying them undiluted to the skin). 

In the meantime, we can look forward to the release of the documentary Uncommon Scents, which is supposed to feature information from only reputable experts. See here for more information.

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