Beyond the Hype

Published May 22, 2018, 12:05 AM


By Maita De Jesus


It’s impossible to scroll through social media and not chance upon one or two posts from your “oilbularyo” friends or some celebrity who’s currently oiling. You see it, roll your eyes, and think to yourself that it will blow over in a couple of months, much like any other health craze.

But considering the sheer number and passion that essential oil users have for oiling, it gets the layman curious if there’s more to it than simply that of breathing it in and feeling good for a day or two. Can the hype surrounding essential oils be all just in the mind? The brain is immensely powerful, after all, and so if you know a particular essential oil should affect the body a certain way, can’t the brain manifest the effect?

SPOILING WITH OIL Jen O'Sullivan talks about her bestselling book and clarifies misconceptions created by the hype about the use of essential oils.
SPOILING WITH OIL Jen O’Sullivan talks about her bestselling book and clarifies misconceptions created by the hype about the use of essential oils.

No Hype, All Truth

Jen O’Sullivan is an author of several books revolving around essential oils, including the bestselling book The Essential Oil Truth: the Facts Without the Hype. Considered to be one of the authorities and top educators on EOs, she has been using essential oils for a little over a decade. Her journey started when she wanted to live a chemical-free lifestyle for her family, and she hasn’t stopped ever since. The Manila Bulletin spoke to her prior to her wildly successful Art Bar’s Essential Oils Fair early this month, where Jen held a talk and Make and Take Class for her followers in the Philippines.

Her love for EOs has taken her all over the world, with several blogs and books to her name, but of course, it hasn’t been a journey without naysayers. She says that she hears the statement like “Oils are all just placebo effect” all the time. “I would laugh at the skeptics,” Jen says, “They work, they’re true, there’s nothing placebo about them.” She tells us the story about her husband, Tim, who she admits she uses oils on all the time, without his knowledge. “My husband is very calm. He’s really even-keeled, very calm. Nothing sets him off. So I use oils on him randomly, just to see how they’re going to react, and he doesn’t know. We have this oil called Joy, and I use it on his feet, and in about 20 minutes, he’s like a peppy cheerleader—it’s like the weirdest thing. Another one was when his mom passed away two Decembers ago, and he wasn’t processing it well. He was really in shock. So someone recommended to me to use oil called Clarity, and rub it on the back of his neck. After about 10 seconds, he looks around around, looks at me, and goes, ‘I know what to do.’ I’ve never heard the man say those words before. He marches upstairs and calls his brother, and I heard him talking like he was so deliberate. I’ve never heard him take charge before, he’s not that kind of guy.”

Unlike her husband, Jen admits that even after all the years of being an oil user, she still needs to allow them to work on her—she tends to fight off the benefits. “I’m not somebody that can be told what to do—I’m typical Type A, control freak. Like for example I’m mad, and someone tells me I need some Joy, and because I’m so Type A, I will fight the oils! I need to think through it, meditate for a second, and let the oils do their job.”

Young Living, the oil company that Jen has been using ever since, has a handheld device called an iTovi Scanner that tells you in five minutes which essential oils you need, based on your disposition for the day. “You just hold it, and it sends electrical pulses in your body. But it’s very safe—you can even do it on babies and animals. It knows when you’ve just worked out, or if you recently went through a traumatic experience, or if you need to release or forgive someone. And the person who’s using it, they don’t tell you anything about themselves prior to the scan, so it’s creepy that it can pinpoint exactly what you need.”

Not Just When Illness Strikes 

Feeling sick? Whatever you have, it seems like there’s an oil to “heal” you—if you were to believe what you see happening on social media, with “oilbularyos” bringing the oils out when a cold, headache, or any sickness sets in.

But Jen stresses that using oils only when you need them is the worst way to use them. “We never want to claim that ‘Oh, I don’t feel good, take an essential oil.’ That’s not how oils work. Most people misunderstand, thinking that essential oils are a band-aid or a medicine. Like it will shorten anything you’ve got going on, but it won’t heal you. Basically we look at what is it that you’re trying to support, and it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. You want to use them every day, just like you would  like to have fruits and vegetables, exercising, all the things that are included in a healthy lifestyle.”

From oil-infused personal care products to car oil diffusers and jewelry, essential oils are easy to incorporate into your daily life. If you’re wondering where to begin, Jen suggests to  head down to for free online classes for beginners.


Happy oiling!