In the spring of 2002, an acquaintance of mine excitedly told me of a healer who could use essential oils and natural therapies to treat a family member’s precancerous growth. The relative would then be spared surgery recommended by specialists at a university affiliated medical center.
It sounded too good to be true. I decided to investigate. This article describes what I uncovered about the healer, self-styled naturopath Donald Gary Young, his multi-level marketing company Young Living Essential Oils, his Young Life Research Clinic Institute of Natural Medicine, and his special technique called Raindrop Therapy.
He is a man with no training, with inflated credentials, and a history of arrests for health fraud. Now let’s examine his company.
Young Living Essential Oils
Young and his third wife Mary Billeter Young started Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) in Utah in 1992. A biographical sketch describes her as previously quite successful at a multilevel marketing company, which I believe was Sunrider International. Building on her experience, the Youngs established YLEO as a typical MLM company in which “independent distributors” are said to earn money by selling products and by earning a percentage of the sales of the distributors they recruit.
In a 1995 training video, Young states that he persuaded a reluctant user to try his oils by “appealing to his ego,” assuring him that he would “make history”.
Young claimed that Raindrop Therapy could effectively treat scoliosis by affecting toxins and viruses, which he said cause scoliosis. There is no scientific basis to this claim because there is no evidence that either viruses or toxins cause scoliosis. However, the undiluted oils can cause a burning sensation and skin redness, which the raindrop therapist alleges are evidence that viruses and toxins are leaving the body. In actuality, it is only a local skin reaction to irritation.
Raindrop Therapy uses seven single essential oils plus two blends formulated by YLEO. The concentrations of several oils exceed recommended safe doses and can cause skin irritation, sensitization, phototoxicity, and essential oil toxicity. A thorough analysis of the potential problems associated with each of the oils is detailed in the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists’ White Paper on Young Living Oil’s Raindrop Therapy.
Gary Young is an uneducated huckster with a track record of arrests for health fraud. He has repeatedly inflated and falsified his education and credentials. His inability to recognize the limits of his knowledge and training contributed to the death of his own child.