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Holistic Case Study - Aromatherapy

Posted on: 2011-04-19 08:28:35

Presenting problem.
Mrs. X is a married woman, mother of two teenage children, presenting with depression treated by several medications. She was complaining of lethargy, disturbed sleeping patterns and inability to cope in general.  She was very unhappy about the treatment because she was suffering from many side effects most especially an excessive weight gain. The loss of her previously perfect figure was actually aggravating her depressive state. Her medical history was unremarkable. She did not suffer from epilepsy and was not pregnant.

On reviewing Mrs X treatment it was obvious that the polypharmacy she was on was far too excessive and was not helping her much. The medicine was targeting the depression, but the problem was that the side effects of the medications were stressing the lady and keeping her from real improvement. The continuous fatigue was demotivating her. Her stress level was rated as 4.
As her current women’s health doctor I was in a position to advice her. Mrs X decided that we should change medication where possible to reduce side effects most especially the weight gain as well as slowly tail down most of the medications with perhaps a little help from alternative therapies. In her case aromatherapy was considered as a suitable therapy primarily because of the use of essential oils which can be chosen appropriately for depression, and secondly because of the healing touch and subsequent relaxation of the massage. It was decided that she would start with a back massage to see how that would feel with regards to helping her situation.

Room Preparation
The room to be used for the aromatherapy session was warmed to a comfortable temperature to help relaxation. The light was subdued. Neroli essential oil was used in the candle burner as this has an antidepressant and anxiolytic properties, and candles were lit. Relaxation music was played.

Patient preparation

At the time of the treatment, the patient was asked to remove any metal objects like rings, necklaces, watch and belt, undress to her underwear and remove her shoes to make herself comfortable. She was then asked to lie comfortably face down on the treatment couch with her arms loose by her size and without crossing her legs so as not to disturb circulation. The lower part of the patients body was covered by sheet towels to keep the patient warm and comfortable.

Self preparation
Loose, white overall to protect oneself from negative energy was put on. Watch and rings were removed. Hands were washed.

Treatment given
The oils to be used, in this case geranium and chamomile, both suitable for depression were given to the patient to smell to check if she likes the scent and were patch tested. With the patients consent on their use, the oils were blended with sweet almond oil used as the carrier oil. The blend was made of 2 drops geranium oil, 2 drops chamomile oil and 10 ml almond oil. The massage was started by standing on the left side of the couch and popping the patient’s bra open and laying the bra straps back to each side of the shoulders.  A small amount of the oil blend was rubbed between the palms of the hands to warm it and the following massage routine was followed:
•    The oil was spread over the whole of the back, starting at the base going up to the neck and over the shoulders and the tops of the arms, coming back down the back to the base of the back. This effleurage movement was slowly repeated 4 times.
•    Gentle circular movements the size of a 10 p coin were made with the thumb on either side of the spinal cord, from the base of the back to the neck.
•    This was followed by larger circular movements over the top section, the middle section and the base section of the back. This was repeated 3 0r 4 times.
•    Small 10p size motions were made all around the shoulder blades to examine for any ‘knotty’ areas or tension. Knotty areas detected were loosened by circling the area in small clockwise and anticlockwise motions. Each shoulder blade was covered twice.
•    Hands were slid to the neck area to make doughing wringing movements on the fleshy part of the shoulder, always checking pressure with the patient for comfort.
•    Using both hands the tissue on the neck was wrung gently and small circular movements were made at the base of the hairline.
•    To drain the toxins out of the muscles into the lymph system, the hands were slid down the back one at a time but in a continuous motion, doing each side of the back twice while standing at the opposite side.
•    Massage was continued by doing more effleurage over the whole of the back area. This was followed by a figure of eight movement over the shoulders while moving to the head of the couch.
•     From the top of the bed more effleurage movements were done from the top of the back to the base repeating 4 times. Another figure of eight movement was done to move to the opposite side. Hand sliding was repeated twice for the opposite side.
•    Keeping contact with the patient, repeating figure of eight , the initial position on the left side of the couch was again reached.
•    Another 4 effleurage movements were done over the whole back , making them lighter and lighter to finish off the massage.
•    Without breaking contact with the patient, the patient was covered with the towel once again.
•    Rocking movements with the fingers over the towel were made to let the patient know the massage was done.
•    Hands were washed and a herbal drink or  water was offered to the patient.

The patient was advised to drink a lot of water for the rest of the day so as to flush out the toxins. She was also advised to avoid showering or bathing until the next day so that the essential oils keep on working .The patient was warned to wash off the oils if itching or signs of allergy appeared
The patient stated that she felt well relaxed and enjoyed the massage and that she would like to attend for further treatment

She was asked to sit up and get dressed and was scheduled for a full body massage the following week.