The following case study was conducted by one of APA's students for her final Diploma Course exam. She kindly allowed us to share her successful treatment process which highlights that physical problems can be a reflection of one’s psychological condition.
Ms. B is a young freelancer and lives alone. She was raised by her grandmother after her father died when she was 4 years old and her mother re-married. She knows about aromatherapy from the Internet but never got a chance or had the motivation to try a treatment. This is the reason why she jumped into this chance to be one of the clients in this case study.
There are two main health problems that are bothering Ms. B constantly and she would like to see if aromatherapy can help. The first one is constipation and the other is an irregular menstruation period. The constipation problem has been with her since her teenager years and since it has not given her any uncomfortable feelings, she has never tried to treat the problem. Regarding the menstruation problem, she is fully aware that this is a serious problem but again she seems to not have the motivation to take any steps treating it.
There are also other minor health problems that happen occasionally with cystitis and insomnia being two of those that appear a bit more frequently. She is having cystitis once every few months. Every time it occurs, she feels very itchy and gets slight pain in the affected area. However, rather than finding a way to treat the problem, she rather tolerates the uncomfortable feeling for a few days until the problem is gone. She wakes up very early each morning around 6:00am and is not able to go back to sleep no matter how tired she is. Before going to work, she will do meditation at home.
Constipation seems to be the most irritating problem for Ms. B among all other health issues she has mentioned, and in fact, it seems to be the most urgent one to deal with. It is therefore decided to focus on treating constipation in the first few treatments, and then the focus will turn to her menstruation problems for the rest of the treatment sessions. For the two minor problems mentioned - cystitis and insomnia - two take-home blends are prepared for the client to tackle the problems in case there is a need.
Massage blends with carrier oils Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) and Vitis vinifera (Grapeseed) together with alternative use of essential oils Citrus reticulate (Mandarin) and Myristica fragrans (Nugmet) are prepared for treating constipation in the first two treatment sessions and last two sessions. Elettaria cardamomum (Cardamon) is used throughout all sessions to deal with the constipation problem.
It happened that in the first treatment session, Ms. B mentioned that her cystitis came back again. A take-home blend with Malaleuca althernifolia (Tea Tree) and Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) for a sitz bath was then prepared.
With the constipation problem improving steadily, the focus was then directed to the menstruation problem from the third treatment session onward. Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) and Prunus amygdalus (Sweet Almond) is now used as the carrier oil of the massage blend. Citrus auratntium spp amara flos (Neroli) was chosen to be the core essential oil in the massage blend as this oil has a calming effect on the intestines and also helps the emotional depression with PMS. Citrus bergamia (Bergamot) was also introduced in the massage blend to relieve the recent stress caused by the tension with her new boyfriend.
The massages given to the client in the first few treatments were focused on her lower back to relieve the tension around her lower spine and also on her abdomen to help her intestines movement. As the constipation problem improved and her tension with her boyfriend increased, more focus was on her shoulder and neck to help releasing her tension in the last few treatments.
Overall speaking, the time spent on massaging the client’s abdomen increased throughout the 7 treatments as requests for massaging more the abdomen area were made almost every time during the treatments.
Over the course of seven treatments, the student realised her client’s various physical problems were a reflection of her psychological condition or mind set. As a good client-therapist relationship was established throughout the treatment sessions, the client began to share more about her life with the student including lots of secrets that she has kept for herself. This behaviour reflects the symptoms of constipation and the request for massaging more and more on the abdomen area.
After the first few aromatherapy treatments, Ms. B told the student that her bowel movement improved a lot. She was really happy and surprised that the essential oil worked wonders for her body. She also loved the smell of the oil blend and said that the effect was better than when using her own face cream.
In the second and third treatment, Ms. B expressed how she loved to have the treatment sessions especially the massage on the abdomen. She also told the student that she would use some essential oils in her meditation session and the oils also helped in her meditation.
To the client, the most enjoyable part in every treatment was the consultation part and she thought that after having a few treatments, she was fine and her body condition has improved.
At the end of the case study, Ms. B had a new perspective on the effect of essential oils on her body and said that she will use essential oils in her daily life when there is a need.
Results / Treatment Summary:
The student successfully introduced the healing power of aromatherapy and established a habit of using essential oils on her client at the time of her need. The client found a good way of sharing all her secrets which at the end helped her to improve her body condition. She also started to realize that she naturally wants to ignore any health problems by keeping them somewhere in the corner of her body and not facing them. She was encouraged by this experience to face her problems, first by speaking out and share with at least, a therapist.
The result of this case study convinced the student even more of the healing power of essential oils and being a therapist, one should observe more the psychological need behind physical problems.