A number of months ago, I was surfing along on Facebook when I should have been cleaning or doing something a whole lot more productive (like usual.. LOL). I came across a picture on a business/school page's wall that transported me back a more than a decade and a gamut of feelings of hurt and anger came rushing back. I screen shotted it knowing it would eventually turn into the catalyst of this blog post coming to be.
Source: My own screenshot taken from an open page, had couple shares in a number of weeks since it was posted June 14th. The pic was taken down, shortly after (August 7th)I had commented on it with suitable evidence this was unsafe and ill-informed as to the medical condition this horse was presenting.
Now, for the ones I found even more disturbing because of the clarity and information posted along with them....
What I found most concerning about this horse was that this was done to the horse for 3 consecutive days.. Yes, 3 consecutive Raindrops. To which the practitioner performing the Raindrop posted the pics as a followup to another's questions about the welts and "detoxing". I was SICK. Poster stated that the welts above scabbed over. (just think about that, enough damage from the EOs to burn and injure the skin to the point of scabs.)
Unfortunately, I am part of enough Horse groups and pages that use EOs that this comes up on a pretty regular basis and these kinds of pictures and such never stay up for very long. I am always the one that looks like the bad guy when I add my personal experience and the cases of horses like the previous two to the fray of things. It's marketed as a healing treatment. In some cases it is anything but healing, its HARMFUL and potentially dangerous.
I feel that this kind of misguided marketing absolutely IS negligent and at times abusive in the case of the second horse pictured due to the repetition.. The correct information is out there, and really is nothing more than good common sense. We all know that hives on ourselves or our animals are a bad thing, not something to keep on taxing the body with. Sadly, that point is forgotten when it comes to these type reactions on the horses. EOs do not defy the bodies defense mechanisms in the case of hives.
First we have to look at the welts/hives created where the EO was dropped into the skin. What are hives?
(Source, Merck Manual )
Pure and simple, Hive/Welts are NOT detox. They are what the body sees as allergenic or traumatic in a way the body must keep out. The antithesis of "detox". Any horse person who has owned horses for any length of time knows that hives can show up from a change in feed, different flyspray, allergies to a number of things and attempting to remove the source is the best way for the horse to gain relief. I can already see some eyes rolling and hearing the "this is different, its detox because the oils are so pure". NO, purity equals potency. Potency that should be prediluted to an appropriate level. For massages and bodywork, 2% is a good starting point. What is 2%? 2 drops of EO to 1 teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil. This is across the board, regardless of brand. Although it may vary slightly dependent on which EOs are being used. This is where the fatal flaw is in how the raindrop is taught and its disregard for safety.
EOs have a wonderful place in the world of alternative therapies for humans and horses alike. They are extremely concentrated, often with pounds of plant matter behind each milliliter of oil. They pack a real punch and need to be treated with respect. Those promoting this kind of ignorance are promoting abuse and negligence when we look at the cold hard facts. Repeating a treatment that is causing hives is not helping the body detox, its taxing the body and in many cases creating more issues, pain and sometimes open sores and scabs resulting from the chemical burns.
Now for the real WHY this sends my blood pressure soaring and why do I feel its negligence and abuse?? I fell victim to this over a decade ago. And suffered similar and much worse reactions on 2 of the 4 horses total I performed the Raindrop Therapy on.
I was "certified" in performing this therapy, and *I was the source of injury to two horses!*. The information I was taught was extremely poor in terms of general EO safety and it showed up right off the bat when applied as instructed to the horses.
One of those two horses having an adverse reaction (mind you its called a "detox" by the company) had lost all the hair on the welts a couple days later. It took several weeks to heal the hairless sores/scabs created from this. And with Muphy's law the way it is, this horse was not someones backyard pet horse, it was a rope horse valued at more than many peoples vehicles! The owner was NOT impressed with having to borrow horses to compete on for three rodeos she had pre-entered prior to the Raindrop on her horse. I was horrified and mortified. I had created this on a horse. *I* was the reason this happened to that horse because of what and how it was being taught.
To be more accurate, I was horrified that someone who was "certified"(myself) and trained to perform a therapy to help animals, should NOT be out there causing physical harm to their client's animals, much less leaving them with welts/chemical burns/hives and a few long lasting scars. Losing hair off the welts created by what is supposed to be a healing and therapeutic technique is NOT something I'd call safe use of EOs. Yet this is pushed by all sorts of people claiming there is no side effects or bad things that can result from it.
I thought I was doing right by diluting much more than I was taught to, knowing that the oils were hot and could cause discomfort and irritation based on my personal experience. Even that, wasn't enough in the case of those two horses. I had a raindrop done on myself in the class. I never imagined the welts and hairless sores Billy ended up with from an even more diluted raindrop than I was taught were seemingly possible. I was told the oils were safe and that it was a "detox", that only good came from it. That the EOs posed no risk because they were plant based, all benefits and no side effects. I am still horrified with some of the results I see of this same thing happening, time and time again. Each time being "explained away" with the detoxing lie. I was young. I was naive and I was made to believe some very dangerous things out of my own ignorance.
As quickly as I started this EO endeavor with the Raindrop Technique, I stopped in my tracks and left all that I had been taught behind. I, in no way shape or form wanted to be associated with that kind of ignorance, negligence, abuse or the feeling of burning the hair off someone elses horse EVER again.. Who would? I knew then I needed to look for a deeper more true unbias education source(s) on the essential oils because of the wonderful results I had had using them in most cases. I know that my love for EOs is going to get lost in this extremely long blogpost, because of the nature of what im talking about, but believe me when I say, I truly have an Essential Oil Addiction. Just ask my husband, or anyone who visits my house. This isnt against EOs, its against the Raindrop as it is.
The secondary reason for quitting this therapy, if I had welts on myself like the horses I had experience first hand with, I would not be a happy camper. The horses most certainly were NOT comfortable nor did they enjoy the this. If I could take that back, I would in a heart beat. I've had to a much lesser degree some of those same hot burns back when my exuberance for Essential oils overrode my own willful ignorance gained from the companies poor information. Well over a decade later, I'm still unlearning..
I see this same scenario play out time and time again, with lots of people recommending Raindrops for humans and horses alike. But more often I see practitioners blindly following what they are told. Never questioning that misinformation they are taught because they, like myself, don't want to think my friends or family would be lying and encouraging negligence in this manner.
We are smart enough to know that detoxing not the case. With the reactions such as this to Raindrops, it is not "different". It is still the same thing, just a different root cause or trigger. No matter how you look at either of those causes for welts, it's all contact dermatitis (<----follow the link to learn more if you are unfamiliar). Contact Dermatitis is adverse skin irritations and/or an allergic response to bug bite stings, topical chemical products or in this case, the concentrated chemical constituents in the particular Essential Oils used at too high of a concentration.
So, without going into more rantings about how the raindrop as its taught is unsafe, I'm going to let you all do some futher exploring on your own to form your own informed opinions based more on the science and research of the essential oils, rather than just the sales end of it. Essential oils work, and they work extremely well. They are a wonderful addition to massage and rehab therapies, extremely therapeutic when used appropriately. I LOVE EOs. Yet they most certainly have the power to harm and can be fatal in some circumstances if/when used incorrectly. They need to be used with respect. Safe use is all I care about. I hate to see animals suffering due to an owner's ignorance in what they have been told, and even more so, hate to see any "practitioner" be ill-educated in their attempt to help an animal. Welting up horses like this in the name of "detox" should NOT be happening. PERIOD! There is so much more to aromatherapy than being a rep and pedaling EOs and its a lot more complicated than many of the shotgun approach books make it out to be. The science behind the EOs chosen and the method of the therapy will determine so much more than the brand the EO is coming from.
If one lesson is taken home from reading this entire rambling rant of mine, this is it... I'll sum it up into one paragraph and make the font and bold, and wish I could put it on a billboard in neon lights!
In the real world of true Aromatherapy, there is no "shotgun/magicbullet approach" to having a number of EOs thrown at the client in a one-size-fits-all approach such as the Raindrop. A true holistic health practitioner assesses the human or horse client as a unique individual, catering the treatments to the overall needs of the client. A past history will be taken, as is a number of pointed questions to get a baseline to build the treatment foundation upon. Not all EOs are suitable for each constitutional type, and some are contraindicated depending on other factors. Don't trust your horse in the hands of people who are taught extremely poor information. Consult a professional that has an unbranded education in the Clinical use of EOs and Aromatherapy, not an ignorant brand rep.
Some excellent General EO information to explore:
How to choose a qualified Aromatherapy practitioner.
Further information and links to explore Aromatherapy and regarding Raindrop Therapy:
"A Critical Look at Gary Young, Young Living Essential Oils, and Raindrop Therapy"
White Paper on Raindrop Therapy - initially on NAHA.org's site
Alliance of International Aromatherapists
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy