E58: Essential Oils Swindle Exposed and the (Un)Well Documentary

E58: Essential Oils Swindle Exposed and the (Un)Well Documentary

Are you tired of falling for health scam after health scam? As some of you know, I’m a former criminal investigator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FDA. I investigated numerous snake oil salesmen during my career… would it surprise a lot of them were in the natural health industry?

This isn’t to say all-natural health practitioners or natural health products are a scam, but you need to be just as aware of getting scammed by them as the modern or Western-based medical industry. Today I sit down with writer Rachel Monroe who was interviewed for a Netflix documentary (Un)Well. It takes a look at some of the more controversial natural health products and practices being used by consumers today.

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I (Rachel) grew up in Richmond, Virginia. Since 2012 I’ve been based in Marfa, Texas where I am a freelance writer, volunteer firefighter, and occasional radio host. I have written about crime, communes, utopias, drones, small towns, firefighters, fires, border issues, haunted houses, and motorcycles, among other things. I was recently a finalist for a Livingston Award for Young Journalists and named as one of 56 women journalists everyone should read by New York Magazine. My essay about murder fandom and adolescence, “Outside the Manson Pinkberry,” originally published in The Believer, is anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing 2018.

Rachel Monroe is also a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession

Her other work’s have appeared in The Best American Travel Writing 2018, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere.

Essential Oils and (Un)Well Topics Discussed:

  • How and why was Rachel approached as a contributor for the Netflix documentary (Un)Well
  • What are essential oils and how are the used
  • What did Rachel find during the research of her article “How Essential Oils Became The Cure for Our Age of Anxiety”
  • What are some of the more controversial uses of essential oils
  • What is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and how do these type of companies operate
  • Rachel talks about her experience at the Young Living Convention and just how crazy (as in bad) it was
  • Gary talks about what to look out for when dealing with “too good to be true” natural health claims
  • Why is the natural health industry filled with charlatans
  • Why Gary believes in an integrative approach (a mix if modern medicine with natural medicine) when it comes to your health  
  • Gary and Rachel debate the merits and drawbacks of universal healthcare for all
  • Gary explains why our entire healthcare system is broke, and that our terrible health and high rate of obesity is exacerbating the problem

Resources and links:

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1 thought on “E58: Essential Oils Swindle Exposed and the (Un)Well Documentary”

  1. That was a cordial discussion with someone who sees things differently.

    I think you did get to the heart of the differences at the end. We need a governance system where people who want to be a part of the normal ‘social contract’ can do that, while those of us who don’t aren’t obliged.

    The key to achieving that has to lie in removing the monopoly of coercion from the system of governance. Otherwise factions are forcing their views on each other and we get a system that works for no one.

    Maybe something like panarchy will work, but the truth is that any great invention requires hundreds or thousands of failed attempts and tweaks before becoming functional.

    I think the key is creating enough breathing room in the current system to allow for communities who are so inclined to do this experimentation.

    That might not really be possible in the US given that the trend is for coercive government to only grow bigger with each passing decade. So governance innovation will probably come from somewhere else, like Seasteads, Mars colonies or some disorganized developing nation.

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