Aromatherapy for back pain and acne

Published on 28 September, 2015 | Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy – Case Study

for client with back pain and chronic acne

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Before starting the treatment Client was asked to complete a treatment card and informed that her treatment was not to be considered a replacement for conventional medical treatment for illness or a healthy lifestyle. I advised her to seek medical attention regarding her chronic acne, which she requested some treatment for. I thought it was better for her to seek some advise from her doctor regarding the underlying causes of this before trying to treat it with face massage as she has requested.   When asked question 9 regarding allergies, Client told me that she had an allergy to peanuts and at this point to be on the safe side, I decided and told her that we would not use any nut oils and I would use an organic sunflower oil instead. She agreed and was happy that there was an alternative.

I asked Client if there were any questions she had for me, she responded no and was happy to start her first treatment.

Client background

Client is and 18 year old with a history of chronic acne, some back pain and some hand pains likely caused by too much typing. She has recently been studying hard for exams and feels that her stress levels are affecting her overall well-being. She admitted that she does not have a particularly healthy lifestyle because she eats too much junk food and does not exercise. She wanted to try aromatherapy massage as a starting point for including some healthy, relaxing activities in her schedule in the run up to her exams. She was more comfortable with a hand massage than foot or back massage but said she might be interested to try these at a later stage when she felt more comfortable.

Treatment

To start Client treatment I told her that we would start with a simple chamomile and lavender massage as she had previously told me that these were oils she really liked from childhood history of them being used by her mother in the home a lot. She said there were some oils she really didn’t like but couldn’t remember the names of and so wasn’t interested to smell any in this session to test them out!  I set aside a small mixing cup to measure out a blend of 5ml of sunflower oil oil and one drop each of Roman Chamomile and Lavender. I told her that these oils were both good for helping aid relaxation and allowed her to smell the blend to make sure she liked the two oils mixed together.

To start the massage I directed Client to sit on a comfortable chair and provided her with a pillow that I had covered with two towels to rest her hands on. I asked her to remove her jewellery. While she was getting comfortable, I set up a nature sounds CD that I have found clients particularly like for relaxation. I was burning lavender in the room before we started the consultation because I knew that she liked it. This is also a favourite oil of mine and helped me to prepare for the treatment too. I was also wearing a white fastened tunic which I bought to wear when I do treatments because I thought it would help me to feel professional and act as a mental covering as well as a physical one to keep my clothes free of oils etc.  My friends have commented about this looking professional so this has been encouraging.

After mixing the oils and I poured a little of the blend into my hands to warm it and asked Client to smell to check she liked it. Her face said it all and the treatment started with spreading it over the back of her left hand upwards toward the elbow a few times in effleurage movements. I massaged in circular movements on the back of her hand and down to her fingers beginning with the little finger to the thumb. When I turned her hand over and was massaging the palm with circular movements Client mentioned that there was some pain between her thumb and index finger in the soft area and I was extra gentle with this area but focused extra attention with increasingly firmer circular movements to try to help which she commented that it felt really good. I continued the massage up her inner forearm for a few minutes, adding a little more oil and going back to the painful spot in her hand once more before ending with a few light strokes and wrapping the hand in the top of the two towels covering the pillow. I repeated the same process o the other hand where she also had the same tender spot on the palm between the thumb and forefinger. I left Client to relax for a few minutes and went to wash my hands and bring us both a drink of water.

I advised Client that she should try to drink plenty of water to help her body to remove any toxins from the body and avoid having a bath or shower until the next day which she said she might find hard but would try for as long as possible. I told her that the tender spot in her palms would benefit from this and I think this helped convince her a little bit. I also reminded her that if she experiences any itching or irritation on the skin she should take a shower.

During and after her treatment Client commented that she felt really relaxed and the next day she also noticed that the pains in her hands had felt much better in the right hand and gone in the left. She was reassured by the fact that I kept asking her throughout the massage if she was ok and this made her feel comfortable. She looked a little bit sleepy at one point, which was reassuring for me that I was doing something that was relaxing her! I advised Client that if she keeps feeling pain in her hands she should talk to her doctor about this to make sure it isn’t something more than typing causing it.

Reflection

This was my 5th treatment with a friend/family member and I thought it was an interesting experience because this client was a teenager and had different experiences, ideas and needs from the others who were all much older adults with pretty similar hectic adult life related problems. I think that the fact I have started to view my treatments with a professional approach in wearing special clothes and having a little kit box of oils really helps me to have the right frame of might when I carry out a treatment and helps people to be reassured

I would like to improve in my knowledge of different skin conditions so that I can offer some professional advice next time someone asks me a specific question about a skin condition because Client acne was obviously something that she was concerned about and I wasn’t confident or qualified to advise her.  She was disappointed about the fact that I couldn’t offer her a face massage that would help to clear it up too.

Overall, the treatment was very successful and the things I learned from this particularly case more than the others has stimulated me to progress in my studies in aromatherapy.

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