Why We Do Not Give Recommendations or Advice
About What To Use For Specific Needs
We get it often in EOCSA. “What can I use for XYZ?” Or “I have ABC. What do you suggest I use to treat it?” And multiple other similar questions asking for advice and recommendations for health issues. Each time, we must give the same answer. We don’t give recommendations or advice on what oils (or other) to use for specific needs. Specifically medical/health needs. And often we get the same responses. Why? Well, the why is very simple. It’s unethical and it’s against the law.
For starters, the fact that essential oils are not legally classified as drugs (they are actually classified as cosmetics, specifically “fragrance”), makes attaching any medicinal claims to them a violation of federal regulations if you sell what you are making claims on. In addition, to give recommendations of what oils (or other) to use for medicinal needs is considered “giving medical advice”. And that can be determined to be practicing medicine without a license.
The laws regarding unauthorized practice of medicine are set by each state’s medical boards and are generally quite clear. However, giving medical advice often gets into a more gray area. One legal site defining what constitutes practicing medicine without a license has this to say.
On Medical Advice
The practice of medicine becomes trickier to define when you look at medical advice. There are a few guidelines, however, that can help define when “medical advice” is “the practice of medicine.” In general, advice as the practice of medicine has several of the following qualities:
- First, advice might be considered “the practice of medicine” when the person giving it claims he or she is a doctor. This is because the title of “doctor” indicates that the person giving advice has gone through the rigorous process of medical school and succeeded in obtaining a medical license. So your friends cannot be considered to be practicing medicine when they tell you to take more vitamin C, since they never claim to be doctors.
- Second, advice may be the practice of medicine when the advice is specific to a particular person’s illness or injury. Magazines and websites that offer general tips for getting over the common cold, therefore, are not engaging in the practice of medicine.
As an added issue, the internet complicates the matter even further. Even licensed medical professionals have to follow specific mandates to give medical advice to individuals online and it involves other governmental agencies and laws which could include international statutes.
Then factor in that we have many certified practitioners in our group, including the group owners/adminastrators, who are bound by what is known as “scope of practice”. Overstepping that could cost them their certification, result in fines, etc. It is also unwise and unprofessional to offer advice or make recommendations without a complete personal consultation that includes a full medical history and examination to determine individualized needs, safety and protocols.
But what about the average person, like the mom who is just sharing what worked for her or her family member? It doesn’t matter. Anyone can be charged with practicing medicine from given recommendations to someone for a specific health need or concern. You don’t have to claim to be a physician, healthcare professional or practitioner to be bound by medical boards or laws or to face legal action regarding medicine and advice.
When you factor in these points, hopefully you will better understand why we cannot and do not give specific usage advice and recommendations for health needs. It’s not wise and it’s illegal in addition to being haphazard and unprofessional. We are actually protecting you by not allowing advice and recommendations to be made in EOCSA. And honestly, why would you want to crowd-source for advice online of through social media for something as important as your health anyway?
Let’s face it. You don’t really know the people you are asking when you ask for medical advice and recommendations. You don’t know their level of knowledge and expertise. You don’t know their qualifications, the training they have in aromatherapy nor who they studied under. You don’t know if they are qualified to give advice on how to make coffee, much less give advice on physical, emotional and psychological conditions. Sure, they could tell you but would you know if what they are telling you is truthful? Are you in a place yourself where you can confidently determine for yourself if they are qualified and well-educated…actually a professional and expert in the field? Are you that well informed? People can say anything at any time with little incentive or requirement to give or show proof. It’s easy for people to “fake in” online and especially on Facebook. They do it every day of the week. And they get away with it sometimes for a very long time. They could be someone other than who they say they are. They could be a self-proclaimed expert with no actual knowledge or expertise beyond a short class with someone who themselves are not trained. They could even be mentally unstable. Is saving money by avoiding a personal consultation with a qualified aromatherapist, herbalist, naturopathic, homeopathic, holistic or allopathic medical professional worth that risk?