The Effects of MLM on the Natural Health Industry

As is the norm with my words, I do not expect this article to make me many friends. But I do at least hope it will educate a few people. This article is not telling you that you cannot grow a global business if that is your goal. This is not about the argument that in order for one distributor to do well financially and succeed it will take hundreds, if not thousands of hapless minions to do the hard work. This is about health modalities themselves. If you do not know what a modality is, you really are in the wrong line of work - it should be one of the first words you learn as a distributor but the fact it is omitted, rings alarm bells.

a) Are you a MLM distributor, representative, executive, diamond, or whatever your chosen company decides to label you - of any manner of health or euphemistically named 'wellness' product companies?

b) Are you the customer of a MLM distributor?

If you answered yes to either question,

a) do you have qualifications other than human rights, to qualify you to promote or sell that product? If yes, is your field of knowledge actually within the area of everything you are promoting? Have you studied every product in detail, including benefits, possible side effects, contraindications and whether it could pose dangers in regards to allergies or compatibility with other medications? If not, why not?

b) do you take your distributor's word as professional? Have you asked them if they have qualifications in what they are flogging you? If not, why not?

Do you now that if/when it goes awry (and it does very, very often) not only will you not get your money back (despite claims to the contrary) but you will not have a legal leg to stand on? There are no guarantees. The company will not want to know you. And guess which industry gets the blame?

I can already hear the responses

'We do not diagnose or prescribe.'

'We do not make health claims.'

'Our products are professionally made in the best laboratories in the world. We are industry leaders that other companies follow. Our research shows...'

Save it. I have heard it all

The truth is, people at the top are paid to come up with words (ie spindoctors) that you will learn in 'training' to ensure you know the fancy footwork to evade vital and important questions. I know of people who have become deathly ill from a 'wellness' product that almost claimed their life. When they complained, the company would not return the money. They refused to take responsibility and blamed the individual - saying they were self abusive and unhealthy to begin with, even though this person lived a very healthy life - and had not become unwell until they suffered a reaction to the product.

Sadly working in my own field, I have witnessed such a story too many times.The long and short of this is if you are not qualified in a modality, you have no right to spruik it. Take essential oils - to become an aromatherapist (originally part of a larger qualification - an elective which could take 6 months on top of all of your other studies including botanical pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, and massage at the very least) it takes dedicated study and an understanding of health that would allow you to understand a little more than, 'this oil is magic for stress...' Yes, oils work but the claims made today by people who do a few hours 'training' workshops often run by the untrained, is frightening to say the least.

What about the increasing number of dietary and nutrition MLM companies? It's a daily brain-scream for me to read on social media and in advertising pages that someone is proudly a local representative of such-and-such weightloss program. To say that clinically, 100% of patients visiting me for weightloss had been through it all, and often become seriously unwell as a result, would be an understatement. The claims are alarming. If I dare to so much as say something valid such as, "Does this diet take overall health into account?" watch the knives come out (pun NOT intended).

And then we get to the supplements. I have personally been present at 'product training' where I would sit through 2 hours of absolute drivel - appalling claims and stories that made my hair stand on end. All the oohs and aahs about making a zillion dollars. Or heart warming stories of rags to riches. Yet as a guest I would get up to at least try and educate them on safety, ingredients and quality control. Forget it. At one memorable event, even though I had the microphone, I was drowned out with moans and comments like, "Do we really have to hear this? We did not come for this." No, you came for the rah-rah, "here's your goody bag, give me your prospects and I will ensure they sign up so you will make more money."

About now, you are wondering why I am so angry at the whole MLM notion. Don't worry, chances are I have been part of your particular company in some way - as a writer, researcher, customer or even a distributor at some time. Beginning before I was qualified in any form of health care - and eventually to prove the efficacy or value of the product in comparison to what else is out there. Yes, many natural health professionals do get into MLM products but that is as much because of the unhealthy system forcing them to make money from a sideline as it is about any perceivable product quality.

In short, MLM companies cut out the middle man

You are told that shops are the middle man. That is just not true. The middle man in this area is the natural health professional. Imagine signing to a MLM company that sold pharmaceutical products only. The middle man would be the doctor, no? In the time that MLM have made their hostile takeover, pharmacy chains have not only taken over in stocking natural products - without qualification - but have access to products that not even qualified natural health professionals do.

In that same time, doctors have been invited to take part in weekend warrior workshops which affords them the title of holistic or alternative doctor. Rather than, as a number of my peers have done, walk away from the medical industry which has failed so many, they continue to fence sit - but benefit from both sides. As one pharmacy chain head said to me, 'This is where the money is." They are also privy to more health fund support and even medicare benefits for their services while the real professionals are not. Cha-ching.

Are you complicit in destroying the very industry you now promote?

You would not know about the other side of this coin - the negative effects. Because it is covered up. Some of you do it to earn a living. Others do it to increase their revenue. I have had executives of certain companies threat