In a rare example of online confrontation; essential oil safety expert, author and educator Robert Tisserand recently took on blogger, guest speaker, educator Jade Schutes* in this blog post: In Defense of Science
Jade writes: “What’s better than research in aromatherapy? – Practice and the results an aromatherapy practitioner experiences with individual clients, with family members, with friends, and/or with self, and then sharing these experiences with other aromatherapy practitioners.”
Robert shared his blog post on both his personal Facebook profile and the business page for his Tisserand Institute. A rather heated series of comments on his and Jade’s Facebook pages followed. Many of the comments have since been deleted from both his and Jade’s Pages. How unfortunate!
One missing item is the topic which came up, of relying on testimonials and anecdotal reports of people who have positive effects from using EOs, or who are not harmed by using them in ways; but those same people totally dismiss testimonials and anecdotal reports when they are documenting injury or adverse effects!
I posted a link to the online Injury Database being hosted by Aromatherapy United, reports which have been collected by volunteers with The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.
Side Note: Why are volunteers collecting this important data? When Jade was President of NAHA for the second time, without a vote of national Directors or Members, she directed that the data collection and much of the Safety information be removed from the NAHA website. Prior to that during her first reign as President, there was a petition and complaint sent to the IRS Nonprofit Regulations & Enforcement Division, requesting an investigation of her regarding issues including her use of non-profit funds for personal gain: http://nahaexposed.org/
These injury reports are nothing really unique. Almost all the injuries or adverse effects could have been predicted because there is science to support that almost every incident was the result of the injured party taking potential risks which outweighed the possible benefits.
But the very same people who dismiss the testimonials of injuries, somehow suspend disbelief when it comes to Jade’s claims that an individuals positive experience matters more than “research”.
Jade writes: “When I read what others have written from the ‘intellectual’ side regarding polarity, solubility, and sensitization risk, I think to myself, these are people who have never taken a bath with aromatic bathing salts or essential oils.”
Oh, but when that bath results in rash, chemical burns, one heck of a tender vagina – nope – doesn’t count. There was no third party verification that bath ever took place, or that skin was damaged, and whose to say this person was really in pain! Is there a hospital record? An invoice from an ambulance company! NO. Dimissed. Not enough proof.
The ‘intellectual’ side take baths. They are not working in climate controlled laboratories, in haz-mat suits, dripping EOs on rabbit skins to see what burns. Researchers are compiling data from people, people with positive experiences and people with negative experiences. Then they analyze that data.
Maybe even from the bathtub.
*It is not clear where Jade’s actual one-on-one experience with people using aromatherapy comes from. Nothing in her online biography indicates she has an actual Aromatherapy practice or sees clients. She is not licensed in any field, she is not a Registered Aromatherapist. Which leaves me wondering, where does all the aromatherapy practitioner experiences with individual clients *non-research* she depends on so much for teaching her students, actually come from!
UPDATE: I found the answer to my earlier question about how someone who does not say they have an aromatherapy practice, gets all this “aromatherapy practitioner experiences with individual clients”! Jade’s friends and students are her guinea pigs. She experiments on them, then observes how they respond! And why not? In her opinion – right from her website – it’s no big deal. Not like anyone died or anything. Yet.
And in conclusion – it’s not “harm” per se – simply a tragedy: