Immediate and Lasting Effectsof the dōTERRA AromaTouch Technique®, a Topical Essential Oil Application Procedure, on Autonomic Function and Salivary Biomarkers: A Pilot Trial

Bahr T, Rodriguez D, Allred K
Journal of Integrative Medicine & Therapy, 2018


Objectives: To explore the immediate and lasting benefits of the essential oils used in the dōTERRA AromaTouch Technique®, an essential oil application method similar to a full-body aromatherapy massage, on stress, immune secretions, inflammatory signaling, and anxiety in healthy volunteers.
Design: Pilot trial.
Location: dōTERRA International corporate campus (Pleasant Grove, UT).
Subjects: Healthy volunteers (n=18).
Interventions: Half of the subjects (n=9) received the technique twice per week for three weeks. Control groups consisted of the other healthy individuals (n=9) who received the same massage-like technique with fractionated coconut oil instead of the essential oils.
Outcome Measures: Salivary levels of cortisol (μg/dL), TNF-α (pg/mL), IL-6 (pg/mL), IL-1β (pg/mL), IL-8 (ng/mL), and C-reactive protein (ng/mL) as well as the secretory rate of immunoglobulin A (μg/min), heart rate (beats/minute), blood pressure (mm Hg), and Spielberger state anxiety scores. Baseline measurements were taken immediately before the first session. Additional measurements were taken immediately after the first session and after receiving bi-weekly sessions for a 3-week period.
Results: Both groups experienced decreases in heart rate, mean arterial pressure, diastolic blood pressure, state anxiety scores, and salivary levels of cortisol immediately after the first session. The essential oil group also showed significantly decreased levels of C-reactive protein in the saliva immediately after the technique. After three weeks of regularly receiving the technique, subjects in the essential oil group had significantly lower salivary levels of C-reactive protein and three of the four inflammatory cytokines tested.
Conclusions: Because of the experimental design, many outcomes of the technique can be attributed specifically to the activity of the essential oils. The essential oils used in the AromaTouch Technique may be effective for enhancing the relaxation associated with a massage-like procedure involving physical touch. The oils in the technique may also be solely responsible for a major inhibitory effect on inflammatory signaling. Validation of this result warrants further investigation in a trial with a larger sample size.


Bahr T, Rodriguez D, Allred K. Immediate and Lasting Effects of the dōTERRA AromaTouch Technique, a Topical Essential Oil Application Procedure, on Autonomic Function and Salivary Biomarkers: A Pilot Trial. J Integrative Med Ther. 2018;5(1): 7.
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