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Aromatherapy Case Study Success

The client is a 17-year-old male diagnosed with severe non-verbal autism, seizure disorder, insomnia, constipation, and hyperlipidemia. His primary complaints were anxiety, aggression, ADHD, insomnia, constipation, and inflammation. His mother reports that he had meltdowns weekly, at least once, if not more. His meltdowns were terrible; they were in cycles and would include violent outbursts, screaming, and biting.

A meltdown is an intense response to overwhelming circumstances—a complete loss of behavioral control. People with autism often have difficulty expressing when they feel overly anxious or overwhelmed, leading to an involuntary coping mechanism—a meltdown. His mother would often have to leave work and be with him during these episodes. He was on several medications, including Trileptal, Prozac, Melatonin, probiotics, and Zyprexa 5mg at bedtime, an antipsychotic.

Due to some of his medications being CYP substrates, there were many precautions to consider.

The first topical blend was:

  • 15ml safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

  • 15ml sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)

  • 5 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

  • 3 drops frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

  • 3 drops patchouli (Pogostemon cablin). In 30-days patchouli was replaced with 3 drops of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

He began using the blend twice daily for two weeks, topically applied to arms, chest, abdomen, legs, and back.

A dead sea salt shower scrub using this blend of essential oils and carrier oils was also formulated as a secondary application.

This blend was reviewed by his psychiatric nurse practitioner and approved for use. He began using the blend twice daily x 2 weeks topically applied to arms, chest, abdomen, legs, and back, followed by using the shower scrub applied to the same areas 2-3 times weekly x 2 weeks.

During this time, his meltdowns stopped. His mother would use the oils as needed when she would notice his mood begins to build up to a possible meltdown. We changed the formula, removing patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), and replaced it with three drops of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) to relax both the body and mind.

Once again, his nurse practitioner reviewed and approved the use of this blend. His mother waited a week, then began the use of this blend. During this time, his meltdowns ceased altogether, his digestion, sleep, and overall mood improved. His mother stopped regular use after two weeks and used the oil blend only as needed.

His nurse practitioner titrated his Zyprexa until she was able to discontinue the use of this medication altogether. His mother reports now that he has been entirely free of meltdowns since his first oil blend; he is off all medications, except routine medications for his seizure disorder. She continues to use this blend on an as-needed basis.

His aromatherapy blends began at the end of March 2021 and are now used on an as-needed basis. It should be noted that due to his sensory processing disorder, he was unable to use a nasal inhaler. Appreciation for the guidance from my instructor and mentor, Shanti Dechen, CCAP, CAI, LMT, this was possible.


Photo credit;; Retrieved July 13, 2021

Kerry Adams has been an LPN for over 22 years. She has worked in various settings, including geriatric and end of life, working with developmentally disabled individuals, and won awards for her dedication and service. She is the mother of an autistic child & volunteers with a non-profit autism group whose focus is on enhancing the lives of those on the spectrum and creating a supportive and inclusive community. Her passion is to help people on the spectrum improve their quality of life by utilizing aromatherapy. This inspiration has led her to become a student of the clinical aromatherapy mastery program with Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy.

This case study information is shared with the understanding that Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy and Shanti Dechen shall have neither liability nor responsibility for any injury caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this paper. Every effort has been taken to provide accurate information. This information is being presented for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please see a qualified health care provider for any acute or chronic condition requiring medical assistance.


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