Aromatherapy: FSA Eligibility

Aromatherapy: reimbursement is not eligible with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA)
Aromatherapy is not eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is aromatheraoy?

Aromatherapy is often referred to as a form of alternative medicine that falls outside the mainstream, but it also is considered by many medical professionals to be a form of complementary medicine that can strengthen or improve the efficacy of other proven medical treatments. This practice is done through the use of essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds. These oils and aromatherapy compounds are either absorbed through the skin via massage or inhaled, and in some cases, they have been found to improve a person's mood or overall health in the process (WebMD).

While there is no prevailing theory as to why aromatherapy has therapeutic effects, researchers theorize that essential oils can trigger smell receptors in the nose. This in turn will trigger a signal to the limbic system in the brain, the area that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. As a result, chemicals are released that can help an individual feel more relaxed or calm, or even put into a more heightened state. This is especially apparent during aromatic massages, as these massage oils can have a calming effect.

Why is aromatherapy not eligible for reimbursement?

Aromatherapy is mostly used for general good health and therefore would be ineligible in most cases. However, if a medical professional provides of Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) where the use of aromatherapy would be primarily for the treatment of a medical condition, then it may be eligible through a consumer-directed healthcare account.