How Multilevel Marketing Companies Got The Autism Community Hooked On Essential Oils
Mother Jones is a reader-supported nonprofit news organization and the winner of the American Society of Magazine Editors 2017 Magazine of the Year Award.
A few extracts from there controversial article:
“Over the past five years or so, with a big assist from DoTerra and its main competitor, an MLM company called Young Living, essential oils have taken off in the autism community.
Some parents I talked to told me they spend more than $200 a month on DoTerra products.”
On Facebook, there are dozens of essential oil groups for parents of kids on the spectrum’”the group Autism, ADHD, and Essential Oils, for example, has more than 19,000 members.
Dawna Toews, an Ontario-based DoTerra saleswoman, told me she holds sales events all over the United States and Canada, where she teaches the families of children with autism how to use oils as a complementary therapy to help with some of the symptoms. When you get an autism diagnosis for your child, you feel incredibly helpless, and you just want to be able to do something,’ Toews told me.
While she emphasizes that she never implies that her products can cure or treat autism, Essential oils make parents feel empowered,’ she says. Its also a smart way to recruit salespeople: Moms who stay home to care for kids with autism are often eager to earn a little money on the side.
Just one problem:
Theres little published scientific evidence on the effects of DoTerras oils’”or any essential oils’”on people with autism.
These products, indeed, are not regulated. And the company requires its salespeople to spend at least $100 a month on DoTerra products in order to qualify for sales commissions.
According to DoTerras 2016 member earnings disclosure and spokeswoman Missy Larsen, one-third of the salespeople’”which the company calls wellness advocates’’”earn nothing from their sales efforts.
Whether they sell or not, parents of kids with autism are often financially vulnerable thanks to health-related expenses, says Catherine Lord, director of Cornell Universitys Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. Her fear is that families are blowing money on essential oils at the expense of proven treatments. What are you not doing because youre doing this?’ she asks.