Maintaining a Fragrance-Free Retreat


Though this issue may be unfamiliar to you, there are a growing number of people who are sensitive to commonly used items. 

This condition or disability is known as multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and involves people who have developed an acute sensitivity to various chemicals in the environment.

People with MCS experience a range of debilitating physical reactions, some even life-threatening, to chemicals used in a variety of products, including fragrances and personal care products which include “natural” or aromatherapy body products.  

The most problematic substances are:

  • Aftershave
  • Essential oils and body lotions
  • Fabric softener
  • Fragranced shampoos
  • Gels/hairsprays
  • Laundry detergent
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Some deodorants
  • Sunscreen

How can I be fragrance free at the retreat?

  • I can wear clothes laundered in fragrance-free laundry detergent and avoid laundry softeners such as “Bounce.”
  • I can use fragrance-free soap and shampoo and hair products.
  • I can use fragrance-free lotion and avoid cologne, aftershave lotion, and perfume.

More information and a list of products is available here. 

We are not suggesting that people stop using items that are medically necessary. 

As we look to make our community accessible to everyone, you can help make this happen by refraining from using scented personal care products at the retreat.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

It is the mission of IMCW/The Insight Meditation Community of Washington is to support the awakening of hearts and minds through the direct experience of the Buddhist path, and the integration and manifestation of wisdom and compassion in all aspects of life, for the benefit of all beings.

P.O. Box 3
Cabin John, MD 20818

Phone: 202.986.2922