Does this title sound ridiculous to you? I thought so too yet many people will blindly believe ‘ESSENTIAL OILS EMIT VIBRATIONAL FREQUENCIES’ without any hesitation. You are definitely not alone if you ever believed this, but if you were an electromagnetic engineer, this would sound as ludicrous as ‘ALL BABIES ARE BORN WITH TAILS’… or some other… really ludicrous… thing. Well I am an electromagnetic engineer and have dedicated myself to spreading the truth about essential oils, which at times includes some debunking. But I assure you this is an Essential Oil Love Story… Care to join me for a frolic through a field of factual fun?
A Reluctant Hero
Because we actually love essential oils, we believe in their effectiveness and therefore we cannot stand to the side and let our fellow oil lovers diminish the benefits of these fascinating molecular wonders.
It seems you can get any interpretation you desire on just about any subject on Facebook. ‘Global warming is real’, ‘global warming is NOT real’, ‘global warming IS real but not man-made’, ‘global warming doesn’t matter because the next President of the United States is going to destroy our lives’, etc.,. *(Just so you know, this post was written before the election)*
This is especially difficult for anyone who has spent their life studying and working in a science-based field. Experts have to emotionally prepare themselves to be lobotomized with each Facebook login or be OK with spending most of their time on Snopes. Given a small minority of humanity are experts in a scientific field, this is an especially lonely feeling for those that venture out onto social media with their hard-earned, science-based opinions.
Enter Dr. Papas from Essential Oil University, a PhD with a long career in essential oils science, who very clearly debunked the myth that the spontaneously emitted vibrational energy of essential oils when applied to our bodies creates an inhospitable environment for disease states, such as cancer. This myth has taken different forms but basically people proclaim that essential oils resonate at various radio (and television) frequencies. Applying these oils on or in the body then changes resonant (radio and television) frequencies of the human body to more healthful or healing frequencies, WHICH apparently range from over the air TV channels 2 through 4 and upwards to FM radio, IF you are lucky enough to be that healthy. (Whew! Please excuse the forever run-on sentence!). Pappas was assaulted in a literal sense (no, not literally or even literately) until it was obvious that a point of terminal, diminished return had been achieved:
“In short, if you are promoting EOs as being effective because of their frequency, my recommendation to you would be to seriously consider rethinking this strategy because as people become more and more educated in this field you will only end up looking foolish by such language” -Dr. P
What his explanation was missing was “sex appeal” and therefore got lost in the foamy desire for quick, sugary explanations… Unfortunately, even with 30-years of experience/education in the field of electromagnetics and having applied this science to almost every industry (medical, defense, consumer, etc.), I too don’t know how to make the real-world sexier by explaining how it works. However, on occasion, I have made seemingly complex ideas seem much easier to understand without completely sucking the life out of them.
Why This Myth Sounds Legit:
The dominant articles written that further this concept generally use valid scientific terms to legitimize false conclusions making them seem like scientific conclusions. The authors draw real-world analogies, which appeal to ‘common sense’, to paint a seemingly reality-based picture for the audience. They often reference other ‘scientists’ and specialized measurement equipment as the basis of ‘proof’.
The most abused scientific term in this mythology is the word “measured”…
In order to quantify any phenomena you must be able to measure it. If I say to you “I lost 5.5-lbs this week!”, you would assume I stepped on a scale and measured my weight loss. You wouldn’t assume that I closed my eyes, hummed to myself for a moment and then made the declaration, “5.5-lbs!”, would you? So when someone states the “measured” frequencies of various essential oils, you may assume they had a measurement device capable of quantifying this aspect of the oil. However, you’d be wrong (see “Other Problematic Facts” below for further explanation).
One of the main (mistaken) ideas that lends a sense of credibility to this myth is the concept that the higher the frequency associated with a substance, the more “elevated” the energy state of the substance. This idea is then extended to the conclusion: if you mix an “elevated” substance to one of a lower frequency, the lower frequency is raised and therefore the other substance becomes “elevated”. Sorry. Physics doesn’t want to play along with this one… “Vibrational frequency”, which is what they cite even though the “measured” frequencies are actually electrical, are simply the rate at which the molecules of the substance supposedly move back and forth between their extremes. This is NOT a measure of energy without knowing the mass of the substance that is moving back and forth.
Let’s put it this way: two children toss a softball back and forth at a constant frequency and the energy of that system is measured (by closing our eyes and humming)… Then one of the children drops the softball and picks up a 200lb adult folded up into the fetal position (me after this article) and they begin tossing him back and forth at a slightly lower frequency… We again close our eyes and begin humming… Which system has the higher energy? Yes! That one! ;) We all have enough experience with our physical world to understand the latter example is a demonstration of much more energy than the first based solely on the mass involved and not the frequency alone. Now imagine a couple drops of essential oil (an arbitrarily assigned frequency) dispersed in a human body system made up of cells of varying sizes and variable “disease states” (many different frequencies)… Wait, how does that work?
So, what if this “measured” energy emitted from essential oils and the human body isn’t actually vibrational as they claim but electromagnetic as others imply with their “measurement” techniques? Okay, okay, okay… They say that any essential oil with a frequency higher than 70MHz or so (i.e. ‘healing frequencies’) will “elevate” a body’s disease state from below 62MHz (according to this mythology 25MHz is death, which you would think would be ZERO MHz…) upwards to the healthy range of 62MHz – 78MHz. Soooo, given that we are continuously bathed in broadcast TV signals and FM radio signals that operate over these ‘healing frequencies’ with much higher energy potential, shouldn’t we see a positive effect on health in the U.S. from these signals? (I promised I’d bring it back around to TV)… Nope. It appears the rate of cancer diagnoses has increased year after year since at least 1968 (btw, they also say cancer is measured at 42MHz). I guess I won’t sit on the microwave oven to support the health of my prostate anymore…
Let’s Check Some References
I’ll take a chance here that if you are still reading this, you probably don’t have much patience left so I will just say it:
There is zero legitimate data in existence to support the idea of radio frequencies associated with essential oil resonances.
Most, if not all, of these articles point to technology originating from one man, Bruce Tainio. Mr. Tainio died of cancer in 2009 at age 65. He is characterized as a farmer who specialized in plant breeding. According to the company he founded, Coherent Resources, which may have at one time produced the BT3 Frequency Monitoring System: “Bruce Tainio has been studying energy for many years. He had a need to measure the frequencies of plants, soil and water in his agricultural and remediation studies. There was no such instrument at the time that could provide him with this information, so he set out to invent one himself. After several years of research and development, Bruce was able to build the first BT3™ Frequency Monitoring System. Over time the meter has been modified and perfected into the current model we now have today.”
The BT3 Doesn’t Seem to Exist
Other problematic facts:
You can’t buy one from the manufacturer because “…supplies for some important components have been discontinued by the manufacturer and we have not been able to find suitable replacements.” The reports of one BT3 system reportedly in use at Johns Hopkins cannot be corroborated. -Bruce Tainio was a self-proclaimed inventor, including the invention of this system, however there are no patents in his name nor is there for the BT3 Frequency Monitoring System or any patents in the company name, Coherent Resources.Back in 2004 there are reports of a BT3 having been dissected by engineers and found nothing but a simple frequency counter circuit, which could be built for a few dollars even though the BT3s were going for $2800.
From one such report it appears the frequencies “measured” may have been emitted by the BT3 itself. As an experienced electrical engineer I can tell you that it is a fundamental aspect of any kind of signal measurement product development that “spurious” emissions, or “spurs”, are hunted down and eliminated with extreme prejudice, especially if they fall within the frequency band of interest. You NEVER want your product interfering with itself. Another interesting behavior of “spurs” is that they often change frequency depending on how the device is held or touched (this is the change in ground potential affecting the behavior, NOT the vibrational frequency of the body). So, it is conceivable that the first devices built were mistaken to be measuring a signal emanating from a body (a signal actually emitted by the BT3) and that the signal changed when “elevated” substances were added to the body (depending on how the device was handled)… But now I’m just grasping.
As I’ve stated before (see ZYTO Scam article) medical devices that actually are capable of measuring bio-signals and physiological phenomena are highly sensitive with precise calibrations. There is always a historical trail of relevant science papers written on the phenomena being measured by the device. Otherwise how would they know how to measure it? Even though you may have read it on Facebook, the vibrational frequency explanation of how essential oils work is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways. Furthermore, if one looks for the device or even the paper trail leading up to the development of any device that claims to have measured this phenomena, *poof* the whole idea dissolves into a cloud of angry baby memes.
The Science of Essential Oils is REAL
Hopefully you didn’t interpret all of the above to mean that essential oils aren’t effective tools for your health… Quite the contrary! Part of the reason these essential oil mythologies are created in the first place is because these substances seem so miraculous. There is actually A TON of science behind the practical use of essential oils; a quick PubMed article search with keywords “essential oils” is a mind-blower. But my hair hurts now so more on this subject next time…