Aromatherapy cancer therapy
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of natural essential oils which are believed to help alter a person’s mood or cognitive function and promote well-being.
What is aromatherapy used for?
It is often used holistically with other treatments such as massage and can play a part in the management of complex chronic wounds which can follow surgery.
Deputy Clinical Lead Anita Mehrez says: ‘We have found that specific essential oils can be useful in increasing comfort, protecting surrounding skin and reducing any odour from complex chronic wounds [sustained during cancer treatments].
‘This can have a huge impact on the patient’s psychological wellbeing.’
Therapists are also exploring their use in treating chronic vaginal dryness which is common following cancer treatment.
Anita Mehrez says they have helped improve many women’s quality of life.
Inhalator / Aromatherapy sticks
These are among the newer aromatherapy methods and provide cancer patients with an easy way to breathe in essential oils when they feel they need to.
They can help patients manage anxiety during and after cancer treatment as well as common side effects of chemotherapy including nausea and insomnia.
Aromatherapy and cancer treatment
Dawn O’Reilly* (diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic lymphoma) says: ‘Since I started using aromatherapy I found that as I take deep breaths it grounds me again. The smell takes you to a place where you are calm.’
Other uses of Aromatherapy - stop smoking
Many women continue to smoke when they are being treated for cancer as a way of coping with the stress they are under.
Aromatherapy inhalators are being used within smoking cessation initiatives to help patients reduce their nicotine intake.
Aromatherapy cancer therapy resources
Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists
Canadian Cancer Society - Aromatherapy
BBC - Aromatherapy eased my breast cancer stress
Skin Cancer Survivor - benefits of aromatherapy