Aromatherapy could be an unlikely hero in our long fights against cancer, that is, if we learned 5 years or so ago. The thing is that, as the years go by, science has been extending its relentless hands towards the issue of aromatherapy for quite some time. What seemed so mysterious and doubtful on the subject is clearing up little by little. Today, reports have arisen here and there about the effects of aromatherapy on the general health of the body, and without exception, the effects on certain medical conditions such as cancer. The shift from chemical and scientific treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation to a more natural way is certainly welcome. In addition, aromatherapy promises safer treatments with few or no side effects.
The aromatherapy in question encompasses the use of essential oils from many different varieties of plants, as well as application methods. The term itself is derived from the fact that the plants used as main ingredients are generally aromatic plants. René Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist and perfumer who coined the term in the 1920s , suggested that aromatherapy could be used to treat diseases in almost all organic systems.
8 Benefits of Aromatherapy for Cancer Patients:
Previously recognized in its ability to treat depression and other emotional distress, some other aromatherapy benefits for cancer patients are being discovered. Some even claimed that the effects touched more than the emotional aspects. Therefore, without further ado, in the following paragraphs we will discuss the benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients.
1. Help Reduce Pain:
The most common reason why people, especially cancer patients, chose aromatherapy is that they believe that aromatherapy can relieve emotional stress, relax nerves and, to some extent, relieve patients’ pain, especially when these are patients with brain cancer. Studies have affirmed quite conflicting opinions about the efficacy of aromatherapy as an analgesic for cancer patients. However, there are many ways in which aromatherapy works and everyone has their own way of achieving the same results. Judging by the chemical properties and composition of certain essential oils used in therapy, the analgesic effects may vary depending on the type of oils. Most popular studies suggested that there is a connection between the olfactory system (the nervous systems that deal with the senses of smell) and the limbic system in which the olfactory system becomes part. The limbic system deals primarily with emotions, motivations, behavior and long-term memory. Thus, theories have been developed that affirm the effects of aromatherapy on mood and emotions. Unfortunately, these theories have been refuted by the view that said brains cannot distinguish between odors produced by essential oils and synthetically produced ones. Currently, the assumptions are mainly theoretical due to the lack of real neurophysiological studies that can explain the relationship between olfaction and the limbic system.
2. Relieves Depression and Anxiety:
Those in aromatherapy use aromatherapy because it is pleasant for them. The pleasant memories associated with smell can be really powerful, due to the direct response to the senses of smell. That is why it is believed that aromatherapy has the ability to relieve cancer patients of their depression and anxiety. As discussed in the preceding paragraphs, studies have been linking the effects of aromatherapy with emotions. Some studies concluded that aromatherapy has short-term benefits, which include increases in well-being and mood, as well as a reduction in anxiety. However, apparently the same studies also concluded that the effects do not last long. That said, there is no doubt that the application of aromatherapy can greatly help to combat depressions that are almost prominent in cancer patients. By getting rid of unhealthy mental attitudes, it is expected that those who are fighting cancer will have more motivation and optimism to fight for their health.
3. It Works Very Well with Chemotherapy:
The use of chemotherapy has become the most popular method in the treatment of cancer, it could even be said that chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, chemotherapy is not entirely pleasant for patients. The therapy can cause some side effects, the most common are nausea and vomiting (conditions called CINV). Depending on the essential oils selected for aromatherapy, the use of aromatherapy can work very well together with chemotherapy. They have such different effects on inhalation or topical applications, including the sensations of freshness and the strong aroma. The good thing is that they can also be used to reduce nausea and the possibility of vomiting that comes with chemotherapy. This is because menthol oil can help neutralize the nerves that are activated in case of nausea. Therefore, the presence of aromatherapy can greatly increase the general procedures of treatments for cancer patients.
4. Strengthens the Immune Systems:
The world of aromatherapy is so vast that we must be careful not to confuse one essential oil with another. Because, in fact, there are few essential oils that are exceptional compared to the rest. One of them is incense. Incense is widely known as the most potent essential oils and strong antioxidants.
“Some research has shown the relationship between the use of incense in aromatherapy and the stimulation of the immune system”.
In fact, that is one of the many advantages of aromatherapy for cancer patients.
5. It is Antioxidant:
Some essential oils, when applied the right way, can also greatly help cancer patients fight free radicals. Many essential oils have these antioxidant properties, but the most prominent would be lavender oil. The presence of antioxidants can greatly support the therapy that cancer patients undergo. Some research in China suggests that lavender essential oil may increase antioxidant enzymes in the body. Enzymes include catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). There is also Romanian research that concludes that the inhalation of lavender oil can have neuroprotective effects against oxidative stress, which could lead to the growth of cancer cells in the brain.
6. Relieves Headaches:
Aromatherapy can usually induce feelings of relaxation, indicated by the relaxation of nerves and muscles. Some cancer patients, such as brain cancer patients, are prone to headaches from time to time. The intensity of the headache can be agonizing if it is not treated correctly. The use of aromatherapy can help relax the nerves of cancer patients and, in turn, relieve them from the discomfort of headaches.
7. It helps you Sleep Better:
Cancer patients are usually anxious and tense, due to the therapy they are undergoing or other causes. Often, anxieties and tensions lead to much bigger problems, such as insomnia. As regular breaks and dreams are critical to the effectiveness of treatments, disturbed sleep patterns can be harmful, especially for cancer patients. Fortunately, aromatherapy can be used to treat those sleep disorders. One of the most popular methods is to mix the essential oil with the bath water and let the vapors be inhaled during the bath. Both topical and inhalation applications can increase the effect and increase the chances of success.
8. Ideal for Relaxation:
When it comes to aromatherapy, studies on essential oils incorporated into therapy are, in fact, essential. Some essential oils may have more benefits than others. The point is that not all essential oils are created in the same way. Take for example, the essential oils derived from incense. People have sworn by her for its powerful effects in the treatment of anxiety, the immune system, digestion and respiratory problems. It is even said that current research has discovered that frankincense could have antimutagenic and apoptotic abilities, which are the key factors in our fight against cancer. Unfortunately, the effects were not demonstrated in active cancer cells in humans; therefore, we still have a long way to go to discover how aromatherapy can help us save ourselves from cancers. These are the main benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients, as many research and medical studies suggest. It turns out that the benefits themselves are no longer limited to nervous and mental relaxation, which is the main goal of aromatherapy in the past. New knowledge, as well as increasing confidence in more natural alternatives, should encourage us to work harder to discover the potential benefits of aromatherapy. The presence of pharmaceutical industries that sell chemicals should not deter us from looking for other alternatives.