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Case Study - Remarkable Aromatherapy

by Lindsay Woodman(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 152 - November 2008

I developed a practice for the clients and their carers of a mental-health drop-in-centre to come and have affordable aromatherapy, aimed at calming and revitalizing both carer and cared-for.

Chest Massage
Chest Massage

Michael (not his real name) in his early 50s, was a carer for his wife, and had never received aromatherapy before. He had been in a car accident 20 years previously, sustaining multiple injuries, and in which his right arm was rendered useless. The medical team had wanted to amputate the arm, but he had persuaded them to allow him to keep it although it was unusable, as both the arm and hand had no muscle tone, feeling or movement, and was as cold as stone. Following a second car accident the year before, Michael wore a head-collar at night to support his head, and suffered frequent blinding headaches.  Michael the carer indeed needed to be cared for.

I used a three percent essential oil massage blend of sweet marjoram (Oreganum marjorana) to warm the area and get the circulation moving. I used Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) as a painkiller, to increase muscle tone and as a nerve stimulant, also lemon (Citrus limonum) to decongest and detoxify the areas that had been in 'hibernation'. The base oil contained arnica for muscle pain. I massaged his sore back, shoulders and neck gently and as sensitively as possible, as he was shy about his first ever massage, and I wanted to allow his body to get used to the treatment.


The week after the massage Michael spent his first two nights since the accident without the collar.  He was keen for more treatment and we continued with regular sessions for the next two years.  Michael's tense body was starting to relax, allowing deeper massage, and I began massaging the limp right arm, really because I felt it needed to be warmed, his skin being cold, his right arm the coldest.  It seemed strange massaging a place that could not be felt, but a surprise happened in this session. Michael felt sensation in his upper arm for the first time since the accident.

Mixing a blend
Mixing a blend

Over the next few weeks, the head collar use reduced.  Michael experienced some aching reaction to the massage, which would be due to uric acids being released from the muscle tissue, but each time he was in less pain, having more obvious positive results. I changed the essential oils so that his body did not get used to the blend. I used analgesic, nerve stimulates, muscle tone improvers, as well as circulatory stimulants. Peppermint, eucalyptus, black pepper, juniper, geranium, lavender were all used, changing the oils to suit his emotions, moods and activities. I also included vitamin E in the blend to increase the circulation. He used combinations of these oils in the bath at home to increase the power of the therapy.  Four months on he had the first week without a headache. He told me I 'moved' the pain from the points where it 'sticks', and he was subsequently able to talk about depression, tension and feeling low.

I showed Michael how to hot compress his shoulder. His body awareness was growing remarkably and he could gauge how much pain he was in. He was also able to start doing some small physical activities such as gardening. The massages were producing 'pins and 'needles' and some twitching in his right hand.  He had reduced his intake of painkillers (with no prompting by me) by three-quarters! He was generally in much better spirits and started to work physically harder, even mixing concrete, which caused pain in his lower right arm!  Previously, he could burn his arm without feeling a thing. 

After six months the arm became warmer to the touch, he could move it from the shoulder joint, could also tell the general areas were I was working, which was a huge step forward. After eight months he closed his eyes for the first time in the treatment and really switched off. After a year, the biceps in the right arm were increasing in mass. Michael used to be able to touch thumb and finger when holding around the top of this arm. This was not possible any more. He was getting a tingling, pumping sensation as I massaged the upper-arm. 

Foot Massage
Foot Massage

After seeing a bone specialist, he came back saying that the specialist was 'astonished' by the muscle tone. His arm previously was not producing melatonin and so it never got a suntan; however, he now had a brown hand. Eighteen months after beginning aromatherapy he felt the heat of a bath in his fingertips for the first time, he knew which finger I was massaging, could feel the heat of my hand, and started to move his fingers. 

Aromatherapy can be truly remarkable. I watched, over two years, the power of the combination of the essential oils, massage, baths and compresses, with the support and knowledge of the professional holistic Aromatherapist facilitating real and extraordinary change.


  1. Suzanne Fincaryk said..

    I am just in awe of that. I will be taking the Wholistic Practitioners diploma in a month's time and I am even more excited to take this course than I was before. This is amazing.

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About Lindsay Woodman

Lindsay Woodman BA Hons LLSA MIFA Reiki Master is a Holistic Aromatherapist having gained her Diploma, with honours, in 1996, and a member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists. She runs her own practice in North Wales and is a Reiki Master, which she incorporates into her aromatherapy. Lindsay is Founder and Principal of the Welsh School of Aromatherapy, which runs courses up to and beyond professional level, including Holistic Aromatherapy Diploma, Aromatouch course for carers, Reiki Attunements and correspondence courses. Lindsay may be contacted on Tel. 01766 890 500;


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