Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How Multilevel Marketing Companies Got the Autism Community Hooked on Essential Oils

Vague wellness language and an army of salespeople are miracle treatments for the bottom line.

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.

Just one problem: There’s little published scientific evidence on the effects of DoTerra’s 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.