Friday, November 3, 2017

Currently Reading, 11/3/2017

Happy Friday! I can't believe it's already November - October really flew by for me.

Today, I want to share this excellent New Yorker article I read a few weeks ago. I thought it was very well written and interesting, but was hesitant to share it at first because it talks about essential oils, which I know many, many people are a fan of right now.

I have no problem with essential oils in and of themselves - they smell great, can help people relax, and have no real side effects when used properly. But what makes me nervous is when people start to use essential oils in a medicinal way, based on the word of multi-level marketers who are literally being paid for every sale they make, and are incentivized to keep expanding their sales and sell more. And I get especially nervous when saleswomen, like Carla in the article, say "Rub it clockwise three times. That activates the electrical properties in the oil, and aligns your DNA." Or when customers are told that there is an essential oil that can cure cancer. That's when, from a public health and medical perspective, essential oils become dangerous.

I worry that people are going to start using essential oils to boost their immune system and skip their annual flu shot - and I talked here before about why the flu shot is so important! I have no problem with alternative medicine used in conjunction with Western medicine, but I do take issue with factually incorrect statements like those that say oils "align your DNA" or detoxify your body.

As someone in public health, I'm really glad that people are so invested in being healthy. But I hope that people don't get so invested in a wellness craze that they do it at the expense of their actual health.

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