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Aromatherapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Aromatherapy, an ancient practice, incorporates the use of essential oils for healing. Essential oils are made with the extracts of specific plants, many of which are considered to have healing properties. Aromatherapy has been found to offer some relief for patients suffering from mesothelioma. While aromatherapy is not a cure for the disease, it can help ease stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain caused by the cancer.

Using essential oils is low risk when done with the guidance of an experience and trained practitioner. Aromatherapy professionals understand which oils will help, how much to use, and how to administer them. Essential oils may be used with muscle massage or other ways that do not involve direct application.

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What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to help people relax and get relief from certain symptoms. It is considered an alternative medical practice, but it can compliment conventional treatments. Patients using aromatherapy usually inhale the aroma of essential oils. Sometimes essential oils are used for massage therapy. In rare cases, a patient may consume a small amount of an essential oil. However, this should never be attempted without direction from a qualified and experienced practitioner. Taking any oil by mouth is potentially dangerous, especially if you are unaware of proper dosage or possible side effects.

Essential oils are extracted from plan compounds. Extracts may be made from the flowers, roots, leaves, or seeds of a plant. An essential oil may contain the extract of a single plant, or may include a mixture. Practitioners choose blends based on the plant’s qualities and the effects they will have on the patient. Patients may be instructed to add essential oils to bath water, a cold or warm compress applied to the skin, or to use it in a diffuser, adding the aroma to the air.

The History of Aromatherapy

Throughout history, essential oils have been used by many different civilizations. The power of scent has long been recognized as having therapeutic benefits. Essential oils were used in ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, India, and China, for cosmetic and hygienic purposes. However, these oils were also used as medications and herbal therapies. Also, essential oils were also used in many ancient spiritual rituals.

Aromatherapy has seen continued use through history and continues to be used today. Modern studies of how oils could heal began in the 1920s with the research of French chemist,Gattefosse. Gattefosse is now known as the founder of modern aromatherapy. He investigated how essential oils, like lavender oil, could be used to treat skin conditions including infections, gangrene, and minor burns.

Benefits for Cancer Patients

Aromatherapy is an alternative practice that can be used by mesothelioma and other cancer patients to complement traditional treatment. While it is not a replacement for conventional cancer treatment aromatherapy can help patients experience relief from symptoms and side effects.

Research into aromatherapy effectiveness is limited. However, there is some evidence that aromatherapy helps. Aromatherapy may assist patients in finding relief from stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and pain. The aromas from specific essential oils alone can produce these effects, however massage therapy may also contribute. When administered by massaging the essential oils into the skin, patients get the benefits of massage—pain relief, relaxation, and reduced fatigue—as well as all the benefits of aromatherapy.

Research is limited in determining the effectiveness of aromatherapy for treating other symptoms like nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, improving circulation, improving digestion, or boosting the immune system. Some patients say they relief due to aromatherapy treatment, however further study is needed to provide solid evidence.

Essential Oils for Mesothelioma Patients

Patients suffering from mesothelioma may find pain relief through the use of aromatherapy. When used topically for massage, chamomile essential oil may be helpful at relieving pain. Essential oils that help reduce anxiety and stress include chamomile, lavender, rose, bergamot, and ylang ylang. Many of these can also help patients find relief from depression. Clary sage, basil, sandalwood, geranium, and jasmine oils can also help ease the symptoms of depression. For nausea, ginger, lemon, or mint essential oils may help. For fatigue, peppermint, geranium, eucalyptus, rosemary, and basil may have an energizing effect.

Risks

When aromatherapy is administered by a trained professional it is considered safe. Essential oils should be used as directed, but may cause harm if ingested. Therefore, be sure to use under the guidance of a trained professional

Some people may experience allergic reactions to certain essential oils. Some essential oils may affect a patient negatively, causing headache or nausea. Essential oils may cause irritation or toxic effects if used broken skin or open wounds.

Working with an Aromatherapy Practitioner

If you are living with mesothelioma, aromatherapy could provide relief from symptoms and side effects of conventional treatment. There are few risks associated with aromatherapy, making it a safe compliment to treatment. However, it is important to work with a trained professional. Some oils have toxic effects if used inappropriately. Also, be sure to inform your medical team if you decide to try essential oils or other alternative therapies.

Although aromatherapy is an ancient healing practice, modern cancer patients are embracing it as a complement to western medicine. For patients living with the discomfort and pain of mesothelioma, alternative therapies could improve quality of life. With the right practitioner, aromatherapy can provide stress relief, relaxation, pain relief, and even more benefits.

Page Edited by Dave Foster

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Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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