If you’re into essential oils, it’s likely that you will have come across “Raindrop Therapy” or the “Raindrop Technique”.
It’s almost impossible to browse aromatherapy boards on Pinterest without seeing posts like this one, which has been pinned/shared over 4800 times so far:
Or this one, which has been shared over 3000 times:
So, what exactly IS raindrop therapy?
In a nutshell, it’s a technique that involves applying undiluted drops of essential oil directly on to the skin, for the purpose of healing and detoxifying the body. The concept was developed in the 1980s by D. Gary Young, the man behind the ubiquitous Young Living brand of essential oils. In fact, Raindrop Technique is a registered trademark of the company. Their rival, dōTERRA, advocates a similar version of this treatment, known as AromaTouch.
What’s the big deal?
Personally, I am concerned about the way this concept is portrayed as a healthy method of using essential oils. To me, it contradicts the basics of aromatherapy advice.
I am always hesitant to “name and shame” any particular brand — particularly when it comes to YL, a company notorious for being rather bolshy about criticism. However, I feel it’s important to speak out about the dangers behind this so-called therapy that’s sweeping the internet.
10 Reasons to Avoid Raindrop Therapy
- Dubious background
The concept was developed by D. Gary Young, the man behind Young Living essential oils. Without going into too much detail, this guy has an extremely dubious background. Despite implications to the contrary, he is not medically qualified and has been previously charged with unlawfully practising medicine without a licence. Furthermore, he is not an aromatherapist.
2. Discredited by the aromatherapy industry
One of the fundamental principles of aromatherapy training is that essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Raindrop Therapy flies in the face of this, by advocating the use of neat drops directly on the skin. This completely contradicts the safety guidelines of the professional aromatherapy industry. Topical application of undiluted essential oils can cause serious skin irritation, toxicity and sensitisation. The treatment has been discredited by the Aromatherapy Council, who issued a statement to formally clarify its prohibition of Raindrop Therapy due to health concerns. Respected aromatherapist Robert Tisserand has also condemned the treatment, along with the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and several other organisations. The practice of Raindrop Therapy has actually been completely banned in Norway.
Raindrop Therapy appears to be clouded in pseudo-science, with a number of vague and unsubstantiated statements about restoring “balance and electrical alignment” in the body. Dropping essential oils from six inches above the body is purported to enhance the electromagnetic properties of the oils, allowing them to interact with the client’s electric field before being absorbed into the skin. Does this sound dubious to you?
Worryingly, any skin irritation from Raindrop Therapy is explained as a “detoxing” effect of the treatment. It’s claimed that heat generated from the oils is positive: “The more out of balance, the more virus or bacteria activity in the body, or the more inflammation in the spine, the hotter the area will become along the spine”
The Raindrop procedure is shrouded in unnecessary ceremony, such as circling the oils in your palm clockwise three times before application (what difference will that make?). YL describes the treatment as having “native American” traditions, based on ancient practices and “intuitive wisdom” — presumably to add a degree of authenticity to what is an extremely questionable procedure. YL often tries to incorporate religious, biblical or spiritual elements in order to validate using essential oils.
5. Unfounded claims
YL claims that “The Raindrop Technique is one of the most effective therapies for straightening spines misaligned due to scoliosis” — despite a lack of scientific evidence. A white paper was presented by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, which criticised Raindrop Therapy for promoting unsafe use of essential oils and failing to provide any empirical evidence of its claims that it is a “tool for assisting the body in correcting defects in the curvature of the spine, such as scoliosis.”
Another popular claim is that clients can measure half an inch taller after receiving a Raindrop Therapy treatment due to its miraculous healing powers. But this happens to everyone after lying down for a period of time — it’s basic science, as NASA explains here.
6. Not for kids
I’m horrified to see this technique recommended for use on children. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of blog posts out there advocating Raindrop Therapy as a remedy for just about everything, including childhood illnesses. Firstly, it’s important to be aware that essential oils should never be used undiluted on anyone’s skin — let alone on children, whose skin is much more delicate and sensitive. Secondly, this technique involves using essential oils that are toxic and potentially extremely dangerous for children. Sadly, many people offering Raindrop Therapy have no official aromatherapy training and, as such, do not fully understand the dangers of using essential oils incorrectly.
7. Focused on profit
In my opinion, Raindrop Therapy is all about profit. YL has devised a treatment that requires you to buy a kit of seven different essential oils, plus two proprietary blends. As we know, their essential oils are known for being overpriced and you can read about why I don’t use MLM brands here. After purchasing the expensive Raindrop Technique kit, you are required to shell out further money for their 1-day training course. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that using essential oils without diluting them is going to use up those bottles a great deal quicker than if used in the normal way. So, you’ll be replacing your stock fairly soon. Can you see the $$$ adding up?
8. Uses dangerous essential oils
The Raindrop Technique involves applying undiluted drops of Thyme, Basil, Wintergreen, Marjoram, Cypress, Peppermint and Oregano essential oils, along with two YL proprietary blends called Aroma Siez and Valor. If the validity of using these oils undiluted is ever questioned, the response is usually along the lines of: “It’s perfectly safe because we only use therapeutic grade oils!” Well, as you’ll know if you watched my MLM video, this is simply a marketing term that has no scientific basis. Even good quality essential oils shouldn’t be rubbed neat into the skin. Wintergreen is a controversial essential oil that professional aromatherapists are taught to avoid.
The danger of MLM-led advice is that unqualified consultants are advocating Raindrop Therapy without any formal aromatherapy training. Qualified aromatherapists spend many hours studying essential oils and their effects on anatomy and physiology. I believe it’s irresponsible and unethical to freely advocate using neat essential oils (especially Wintergreen!) all over your body. Misleading the general public about essential oils will inevitably cause people to experience negative reactions after following unsafe advice. Eventually, essential oils will be regarded with distrust, or even banned. Raindrop Therapy damages the integrity of the professional aromatherapy industry.
10. Completely unnecessary
Essential oils are amazingly powerful resources and can be used in so many ways to enhance our emotional and physical wellbeing — without resorting to gimmicks like Raindrop Therapy. Let’s start using some common sense!
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