Aroma Acupoint Therapy for Symptom Management with Adolescent Patients: Early Experiences from School-Based Health Centers

Med Acupunct. 2020 Oct 1;32(5):287-292. doi: 10.1089/acu.2020.1447. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Objectives: The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recognized a need for more resources for integrative medicine for health care providers and for patients. The aim of this study was to introduce Aroma Acupoint Therapy (AAT)-a relatively new integrative medicine modality using essential oils to activate acupoints-and to describe the early experiences of providers using AAT for adolescents at school-based health centers (SBHCs). Materials and Methods: This was a case series of 15 adolescents treated with 1 of 2 AAT specific protocols plus standard medical therapy between April 2018 and February 2019 at SBHCs. Of these 15 patients, ages 12-19, 14 were female. Clinical characteristics and treatment courses were abstracted by retrospective review of the patients' electronic medical records. The main outcomes and measures for this research were clinical characteristics, treatment courses and pre- and post-treatment pain scores for adolescents treated with AAT. Results: All 15 patients had nonspecific symptoms, including headaches, menstrual cramps, nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, back pain, or dizziness. Pain scores were recorded in 8 of 15 encounters, and suggested improvements in most patients. Subjective documentation by the providers also suggested that most of these patients had reduced symptoms. Conclusions: With the call for nonopiate and integrative approaches to pain management, there is an urgent need to study the effectiveness of such modalities, such as AAT. It is safe, inexpensive, easy to learn, and is well-received by both health care providers and patients.

Keywords: acupoint; adolescent; aroma acupoint therapy (AAT); essential oil; integrative medicine; school-based health centers.