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Fake News


I doubt if there is a day goes by without some sort of Fake News cropping up in my Facebook feed. Some of them I spot and ignore, some I check out and I am sure a lot also get past me.

It does not help when people I know and respect believe these items implicitly and post them believing that sharing them will help counter the vast amount of deliberate fake news that is Right Wing in origin.

Another category of fake news that I encounter is claims for various supplements, some of which I have checked out and found to be dubious at best and deliberately misleading in some cases. Again they are propagated mostly be people who believe them.

So where does Aromatherapy stand in this? I have seen claims that it can cure this or that, mostly when I do a Google search to find out more about a particular oil. Occasionally I find information that advocates practices that I consider unsafe but that is rare apart from some Multi Level Marketing operations that advocate the use of essential oils undiluted on the skin.

Much more common are claims based on research done with such a low sample size that conclusions can not be made. Research with a sufficiently large sample size to make firm conclusions is rare in my field though there is information on Pub-Med that backs up some of what I have been taught and also some of what I have learned through my practice.

I also recognise that having 90 minute sessions with my clients means they are getting positive attention in a way that rarely happens with health professionals in the conventional system. Some of the benefit my clients obtain is surely due to that.

As to resolving this problem of a mostly shaky evidence base for what I do, I continue to collect anecdotal evidence and compare that with what I read and with what my colleagues in the field experience. I will also post information in professional groups on Linked In and Facebook allowing others to comment and compare. Occasionally this might stimulate someone with the resources to do some research. Sadly most Aromatherapists do not see enough clients to do statistically significant research on any single condition.

This is also complicated by the fact that almost inevitably we use a blend of oils, aimed at treating  not just for example a physical condition but also aimed at helping with all the psychological manifestations of that condition and possibly an (at least on the surface) unrelated condition meaning that isolating the one oil that is effective for treating the index condition is going to be almost impossible. The fact that massage is usually involved adds yet another layer of complexity to the equation meaning to gain statistically significant information would require very large numbers of clients (hundreds or even thousands!)

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