I have in front of me a stack of case studies that I have completed over the past two semesters.
A case study is a detailed account of the history, presenting symptoms, observations, assessment, treatment and follow-up of an individual client or patient
Completing case studies is something that must be accomplished before you can become a Registered Aromatherapist. I currently have 11 completed studies, with, I am assuming just as many to do next semester. I have got to tell you, this has been the most rewarding part of my studies so far.
Being able to listen to my clients with empathy and understanding has been humbling. Then I get to put together a custom blend to target their areas of concern, which has sometimes been challenging. But, to hear their results has been amazing!
I’m going to highlight a few of my case studies over the next several blogs, so you can see that aromatherapy is more than just something smells good. When I make a blend to target a specific malady, I blend for therapeutic benefit…if it smells good too, then that’s a bonus. I want to help people bring their bodies back into balance so that their bodies have a chance to do what God has created them to do….heal themselves.
Case Study #1
A woman came to me seeking relief from joint and muscle pain associated with Sjogren’s Syndrome. Sjogren’s is an immune system disorder that often accompanies other immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus (Sjogren’s syndrome, 2014). Additional symptoms include dry eye, dry mouth, sun-induced rash, and migraines. There is no cure for Sjogren’s, only treatment for symptom relief (Sjogren’s syndrome, 2014).
The client presented with a history of joint pain and stiffness, migraines and job-related stress. Tests for RA and Lupus both returned negative. The client states that usually about mid-day she feels the beginning of a headache followed by joint and muscle pain and stiffness which lasts into the evening. The client had never been exposed or used complementary alternative medicines (CAM) and does not know anything about essential oils. She has had minimal relief from the variety of treatments offered by her Primary Care Physician (PCP), Rheumatologist and Pain Management (PM) specialist. She works full time as a lead Veterinarian Technician and also manages her forty-three-acre farm. Due to her variety of symptoms she also struggles with depression and anxiety. Her primary goal for CAM is relief from joint pain in her shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles.
I created a custom blend for the client to relieve joint swelling and provide pain relief. A massage and roller-ball (for ease of application at work) were created using (ratios intentionally not shared):
- Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
- Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis) infused fractionated coconut (Cocos nucifera) oil .
Black pepper is non-irritating and non-sensitizing (Battaglia, 2004). Lavender is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and may cause skin sensitivity (Petersen, 2016). Sweet orange is GRAS and can occasionally cause skin irritation if oxidized (Petersen, 2016). Sandalwood is GRAS and, in rare cases, may cause dermatitis so a maximum level of two percent should be used in the end product (Petersen, 2016). Calendula can cause allergic reactions and should not be used where an infection is present (Petersen, 2016).
After a skin patch test had been conducted of the blend to ensure there was no sensitivity to the constituents, the client was instructed to apply the mixture directly to the joints that are affected by pain and inflammation. She was cautioned to use the blend for only seven days and then to take a break from it for a seven days to reduce the possibility of sensitivity. She was advised that she could apply the oil up to four times each day. She was advised to store the blend out of direct sunlight in a cool place and to keep out of reach of children and animals (Petersen, 2016). Due to the client’s job, she was also advised to not apply the oil immediately before working with animals. Also, to allow the oils to soak into her skin before touching them, as they do not have the same enzymes in their livers allowing for the essential oils to be eliminated properly (Bell, 2012).
The client was excited! She informed me that in the two days since receiving the blend, she had applied it once each day at the moment she feels a headache beginning. She is applying it mostly to her neck, trapezius, and shoulder area. Within one hour of application, she feels relief and can accomplish her job without pain. She was pleasantly surprised at the effects of the blend. She stated that she could finally do her job again, which includes a lot of hunching over to clean teeth and administer other tests. It has been months since she has been able to work without pain.
COMING UP NEXT….
Do you know anyone who suffers with Shingles? Not fun! How can aromatherapy help? Stay tuned!
As always…if you are interested in therapeutic aromatherapy, please seek out a Registered Aromatherapist near you.
Battaglia, S. (2004). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane, Qld: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy
Bell, K. L. (2012). Holistic aromatherapy for animals. Scotland, UK: Findhorn Press.
Menard, M. (2009). Making sense of research (Second ed.). Ontario, Canada: Curties-
Petersen, D. (2016). Aroma 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: The
American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Sjogren’s syndrome. (2014). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from