Essential Oils

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

Recently I was involved in a conversation with someone claiming essential oils could be used to help induce labor. I was interested in hearing more, because a scientific mind is creative and open. In my research I have never read any science-based evidence supporting this claim, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If someone has data supporting essential oils can help induce labor I want to read it. If they can’t provide science-based evidence, then my opinion will most likely remain the same. Those who don’t question the science or effectiveness of their ideas are pseudo-scientists and are a part of the problem in society. If we want to remain forward thinkers working hard to improve our lives we must engage in critical thought, debate and research.

Others participating in the conversation claimed there were no studies on aroma therapy and pregnancy. It was as if they were so locked in their beliefs they were unwilling to check PubMed to see if their claims had any weight. With a five second search I found an article on  labor pain management and aroma therapy. It wasn’t directly related to the labor inducing claim, but it did show research existed.

Essential oils are discussed a lot in my professional circles, that is because I am a massage therapist. Unfortunately, with essential oils we are visited by the local parasite, the MLM. Shawn White, why do you speak so negatively about this type of business? The answer is simple, if a company is an MLM it is operating with an inherently unethical and unsustainable business model. MLMs, like cancer are bad for society, they destroy hopes and dreams, empty savings accounts and push people to desperate lengths, often leading them to terminate longstanding and healthy relationships. If you find yourself invited to an MLM, take this fancy test to see what kind of pyramid presence they are presenting.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy proponents describe this modality as “the therapeutic use of the essential oils of plants.” The term was coined by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist in the 1920’s. When the term essential is used it is not describing the nutritional value of these plants. Instead it is the volatile, aromatic components that are the “essence” of the plant. This essence is believed to embody the plant’s life force and contains hormones, vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics. These oils are supposed to be administered in small quantities via inhalation and massage, though occasionally they are taken internally. [1]

Aromatherapists claim essential oils have the benefits of [2]:

  • They are convenient, quick and easy to use. – You can wear them during the day, diffuse them in your home or work place, or simply keep them in your pocket.
  • Are organic substances from the volatile liquid of plants. – The essential oils support healthy body functions such as healthy immune system function.
  • They can penetrate the skin and affect the emotional center. – Oils cross the brain-blood barrier and reach the amygdala and other limbic parts of the brain that control our mood, emotions and beliefs. So they can help us with our ability to handle stress, anger or any other emotion.
  • Soothes muscle discomfort after exercise. 
  • Helps animals.
  • Support healthy digestion.

What are my thoughts on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils?

Convenience is great, Americans love getting stuff right now, we are obsessed with fast food and instant gratification. Its fair to want medicine we can easily take, fortunately most simply require a small cup of water and the ability to swallow. The more important subject to discuss is aromatherapy’s claims involving the immune system. What do they mean by “The essential oils support healthy body functions such as healthy immune system function. [2]

What part of the immune system are they supporting and in what way? What research has been done and where can I find evidence supporting these claims? Are these studies only in vitro or have they been performed on animals and humans? Are these results meaningful, have the researchers proven the outcome was statistically significant? This article presented by Mark Crislip at Science Based Medicine, is an in depth critical analysis of products and procedures claiming to support the immune system.

I read and hear a lot about the benefits essential oils have on mood, but where is the science-based evidence? If you have access to a double-blind study observing the effects essential oils have on mental illness I would love to read it. As of yet I have not found any evidence except anecdotal testimonies.

When someone says their product soothes muscle discomfort after exercise they referring to a condition called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, aka DOMS.  People have tried many methods to eliminate DOMS. Massage, ultrasound, light exercise, glutamine, stretching, icing, electrical nerve stimulation, Epsom salts, drinking water, cherry juice, compression garments and vitamin D have been used to combat DOMS. Unfortunately, these methods just like Aromatherapy are ineffective [4]. “To date, a sound and consistent treatment for DOMS has not been established. Although multiple practices exist for the treatment of DOMS, few have scientific support. [5]” 


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage


 

[1] <https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/aroma.html>

[2] <http://www.experience-essential-oils.com/essential-oil-benefits.html>

[3] <https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/boost-your-immune-system/>

[4] <https://www.painscience.com/articles/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness.php>

[5] <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12580677>

 

The Life Coach

Life coaches and gurus speak about systems and methods to achieve a prosperous life. Don’t feel bad when they don’t work for you, most likely they don’t work at all. These people make a living by pretending to be your friend and selling you advice. If a trained psychologist or psychiatrist can’t heal you, how can this self-appointed life coach?

Hiring someone specialized in your field or need may be helpful or entertaining, but it is important to evaluate their qualifications. Many may claim to have insight or abilities that are simply untrue, these are charlatans selling snake oil. They have no genuine interest in helping you, their primary motivation is to take your money. Others may believe they have the capacity to transform your life, but most will do more harm than good. The final sliver of coaches represents a number who are qualified, capable and interested in helping you live a better life.

Surround yourself with the feather you want to be

Life coaches and gurus often say you should surround yourself with wealthy and successful people. They teach their clients to ride tailcoats and manufacture friendships. They want you to believe they are successful so you continue to pay them to be your friend and sell you advice.

Hanging out with wealthy people will not make you wealthy, unless of course they give you their money. Instead of paying people to be your friend, riding tailcoats and using others, just try to get to know people and make friends. Look for people with common interests and share ideas. Fake people suck and everyone knows it, the more artificial your are the more awful you become.

Surround yourself with the feather you want to be. This means spend time with good-willed, loving people with peace in their heart. The right people are the ones who encourage us to achieve our dreams and to live with purpose. They are passionate, confident and want to leave the world better than they found it.

An MLM isn’t the answer

There comes a time when we decide to take charge and become our own captain. We build a ship and set sail to explore the sea and discover treasure. We are ready and willing to invest ourselves fully, sacrificing freedom for fortune.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are blown off course and get caught in the web of an MLM. These organizations leech the life from everyone caught in their pyramid shaped web. They are a caste system of wealth, serving as the literal representation of ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

MLMs manifest in a multitude of ways, but all share a few commonalities; most of the money is made by the first members, the organizational structure is shaped like a pyramid, and they all sell an overpriced product.

They sneak into the lives of good-willed, loving people pursuing their dreams of entrepreneurship. After infesting them, they slowly eat them alive like a flesh-eating maggot. They achieve this by using underhanded manipulative tactics that trick even those with a strong will.

The sensational sparkle of success

Lurking in the tormenting tide outside of the MLM is the hunting ground of the life coach. These unregulated experts offer advice and friendship in exchange for money. What connection do they have with MLMs?  Earlier I mentioned how life coaches and gurus advise their clients to surround themselves with wealthy and successful people. They use the MLM as a tool to show off their wealthy, connected and powerful friends.  Your life coach may suggest you to join their elite organization, claiming you’ll have all the components needed to rise to success. Of course, when you fail, the reason will be simple, you didn’t want it enough.

The Golden Sliver of Good

If there is a sliver of qualified, capable and compatible life coaches, how do I identify them?

Qualifications

What is their background? In what way is their past relevant to your life? If you have cancer and are seeking guidance through these troubling times, could you trust the advice of someone who has never walked this terrible path? As an aspiring entrepreneur could you trust advice from someone who has never started their own business?

What is their education? In today’s world a degree isn’t what it once was. The job of your choice may require a degree, but the specifics of the certificate is rarely important. When it comes to coaching, their education must be relevant to the guidance given. This education doesn’t have to be a formal one, but it should be extensive and insightful.

Ask your potential life coach what their training is and demand examples of their competency. Avoid anecdotal evidence of success, word of mouth and written testimonials are easily manipulated and distorted.

A degree in counseling or psychology doesn’t guarantee quality. However, it does improve the likelihood they are in a regulated industry and have liability insurance. A coach may still serve a valuable role in your life even if they do not have a mental health related degree.

Capabilities

How capable are they? How will their advice benefit you? Do they posses the intelligence, empathy and charisma to be an effective guide? Is their insight original or could you buy all their wisdom in a book?

What challenges have they overcome? Its easy to hear and read the hardships of others, it is far more difficult to live them. Overcoming the odds and coming out on top is an even greater challenge. In what ways have they faced the impossible? Have they been burnt asunder and risen from their ashes like the phoenix? If your coach wants to guide you, make sure they have experienced the spectrum of terrible to terrific.

How have they overcome the odds? It’s a bold move to claim unfounded hardship, but it happens. How do we know if our coach is telling us the truth? One of the best ways is to listen to them tell their story. Listen to the subtleties of how they learned to survive and thrive. Ask for all the details of this, that and everything in-between. Speak to the people who were there when the coach crawled through the muck and the mud. Research everything in your coach’s story, investigate their past and trust your gut.

When I advise people recently diagnosed with cancer I suggest they use an oncologist specialized in their disease. A generalist may have a great understanding of cancer in general, but they don’t understand the specifics of your special needs.

Life coaching is similar in that you shouldn’t waste your money on someone who isn’t a perfect fit.

Motives

What is their primary motivation? What maters most to them?  Are they the golden sliver of good or a wolf in sheep's clothing?  How do you ascertain if they want to help us? By asking questions, investigating who they are and trusting your gut.

 

Nioxin vs Monat vs Rogaine

Nioxon vs Monat vs Rogaine

While perusing the land of Facebook I was drawn to an image (shown below) illustrating the advantages of one product over two others. With my interest piqued I spent the better part of an evening researching it’s claims. I believe we all fall victim to the whirlwind of information flashed before our eyes. There is so much knowledge at our fingers tips it can be challenging to decipher fact from fiction.

Errors and Clarifications

The first error the author made was when they classified Nioxin, a company as a product. I am assuming the author intended to compare Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men and Rogaine to the Monat product: Intense Repair Treatment.

The second error was when it compared the three products unfairly. No attempt was made to compare each item in a like manner, essentially the author was comparing apples to oranges.

The next error was that the active and inactive ingredients were inaccurately listed. If you consult the following data you will see that Acetamide MEA, Cocamide MEA, PEG-150 distearate, Tocopherol, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Diazolidinyl, Sodium Laureth sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben PEG-150 distearate and Propylparaben are not on the ingredient list for Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment.
The active ingredient of Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men is 5% Minoxidil. The inactive ingredients are Alcohol, Propylene Glycol and Purified Water. [3]

The active ingredient of Rogaine is Minoxidil 5%. The inactive ingredients of Rogaine are butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol.

The product I assume the author wishes to compare from Monat is their Intense Repair Treatment, which claims to be a patented biometric peptide formula, that has “higher proven results than other leading hair loss brands” and its “clinical results prove significant results in just 90 days” [1]

The Intense Repair Treatment does not use the terms active and inactive ingredients, instead the terms ‘key ingredient’ and ‘ingredients’ are used. The key ingredient is Capixyl [1]. However on the main Monat website this ingredient is not mentioned. On the main Monat website it states that the product’s ingredients are water, butylene glycol, acetyl tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dextran, xanthan gum, pvp, cocamidopropyl-pg-dimonium, chloride, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, fragrance.

According to another source the ingredient list of Capixyl is: Butylene Glycol, water, Dextran, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract which matches up with most of the ingredients within the Intense Repair Treatment. [2]

How are the terms key, active and inactive ingredients defined?
According to the World Health Organization the term active ingredient is defined as:

“active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) Any substance or combination of substances used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to furnish pharmacological activity or to otherwise have direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to have direct effect in restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings.”

An inactive ingredient or vehicle is an inactive substance mixed with an active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine. [4]

I have found no pharmaceutical definitions for key ingredients.

What do these three products do?

Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for men and Rogaine have identical active ingredients.
Active Ingredient: Minoxidil 5%.

“Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that this medicine works is not known. If hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped. In the U.S., this medicine is available without a prescription.” [5]

Monat Intense Repair Treatment
Key Ingredient: Capixyl (not listed as an active ingredient, see above)

There is no information on Pubmed about Capixyl. [6]

There appears to be no evidence-based data to suggest Capixyl or the Monat Intense Repair Treatment has any affect on the regrowth of hair.

Conclussion

According to my research Minoxidil is the only drug proven to regrow hair. Monat’s claim that Capixyl (or Monat’s Intense Repair Treatment) can regrow hair is anecdotal at best.

[1] “Intense Repair Treatment” Monat Intense Repair Treatment. Hair Canada. Web. 8 December 2017. <
[2] “Capixyl TM” Propspector. UL. Web. 8 December 2017 < https://www.ulprospector.com/en/na/PersonalCare/Detail/4501/191081/Capixyl>
[3] ”Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men” JC Penney. Web. 8 December 2017. < http://haircanada.net/index.php/monat-products/intense-repair-treatment-monat/>
[4] “Defintion of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient” WHO. World Health Organization, July 2011. Web. 8 December 2017. <https://www.jcpenney.com/p/nioxin-hair-regrowth-treatment-for-men-30-day-supply-2-oz/pp5005120081?pTmplType=regular&rrec=true&rrplacementtype=product1_rr> http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/quality_assurance/DefinitionAPI-QAS11-426Rev1-08082011.pdf>.
[5] “Minoxidil (on the skin)” Minoxidil. NCBI. 1 November 2017. Web. 8 December 2017. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0011238/?report=details>
[6] “No result found for Capixl” < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/search/?term=Capixyl>