Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, RN, PhD, Chairperson; Ann M. Mayo, RN, DNSc; Patricia Quinn, RN, PhD


Essential Oils, Fibromyalgia, Multimodal Integrative Medicine, nursing, self care, women


Fibromyalgia is a female dominant chronic syndrome of diffuse muscle pain on palpation of at least 11 of 18 syndrome-associated tender points present for 3 months or longer. There is no cure. Self-care management involving multimodal integrative medicine approaches may increase treatment involvement resulting in a sense of control and pain relief. This embedded, single case study explored 'how' and 'why' an informant with fibromyalgia chose to initiate and continue self-care management using essential oils over several years to treat symptoms within context reality. Orem's Self-Care Deficit Model and the Principles of Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona formed the holistic theoretical research frameworks. Mixed methods (descriptive statistics, pattern matching and thematic analysis) were used to analyze and triangulate converging data from four Likert visual analog scales, rheumatologic medical records, indepth interview transcripts, literature reviews, field notes and observations. Results indicated that the informant's skills progressed from using pre-mixed transdermal essential oils applications to using undiluted, neat, layered transdermal interventions of essential oils. Additionally, of the 12 fibromyalgia symptoms treated with essential oils, six significantly improved and 5 different symptoms moderately improved. Compared to pharmacological measures, self-care management using essential oils empowered the informant to more rapidly control her symptoms. Quantitative and qualitative data supported internal and external validity and reliability. Implications indicated the need for further research in fibromyalgia self-care using essential oils to delineate efficacy in symptom management, impact on functional status and measurement development.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons