Discover the 8 health benefits of Aromatherapy for cancer patients.
Aromatherapy could be an unlikely hero in our long battles with cancer, that is, if we found out 5 years or so ago. The thing is, as the years go by, science has been reaching out its relentless hands on the subject of aromatherapy for quite some time now.
What seemed so mysterious and doubtful on the subject is gradually being clarified.
Today, reports have emerged from here and there on the effects of aromatherapy on the overall health of the body, and without exception, the effects on certain ailments such as cancer.
The shift from chemical and scientific treatments like chemotherapy and radiation to a more natural way is certainly welcome. Additionally, 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 methods of application. 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 organ systems.
Health Benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients
Previously recognized in its ability to treat depression and other emotional distress, some other health benefits of aromatherapy 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 health benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients.
1.- Helps reduce pain
The most common reason people, especially cancer patients, chose aromatherapy is that they believe aromatherapy can relieve emotional stress, relax nerves, and to some extent relieve pain for patients, especially when These are brain cancer patients.
Studies have asserted quite conflicting opinions on the efficacy of aromatherapy as a pain reliever for cancer patients.
However, there are many ways that aromatherapy works, and each has its own way of achieving the same results. Judging by the chemical properties and composition of certain essential oils used in therapy, the analgesic effects can vary depending on the type of oils.
More 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 a 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, those theories have been disproved by the view that brains cannot distinguish between the odors produced by essential oils and those produced synthetically.
Currently, the assumptions are mainly theoretical due to the lack of actual neurophysiological studies that can explain the relationship between olfaction and the limbic system.
2.- Relieves depression and anxiety
Those who are into 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 aromatherapy is believed to have the ability to relieve cancer patients of their depression and anxiety. As discussed in the previous paragraphs, studies have been linking the effects of aromatherapy to emotions.
Some studies concluded that aromatherapy has short-term benefits, including 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 go a long way toward fighting the depressions that are almost prominent in cancer patients.
By getting rid of unhealthy mental attitudes, hopefully those who are battling 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 is even almost arguably 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 of which are nausea and vomiting (conditions called CINV). Depending on the essential oils selected for aromatherapy, the use of aromatherapy can work very well in conjunction with chemotherapy.
They have so many different effects on inhalation or topical applications, including sensations of freshness and strong aroma. The good news is that they can also be used to reduce nausea and the possibility of vomiting that comes with chemotherapy.
This is because mentholated oil can help neutralize the nerves that are activated in case of nausea. Therefore, the presence of aromatherapy can greatly enhance the overall procedures of cancer patient treatments.
4.- Strengthens the immune systems
The world of aromatherapy is so vast that we must be careful not to mistake one essential oil for another. Because, in fact, there are few essential oils that are exceptional compared to the rest. One of them is incense.
Frankincense is widely known as the most powerful 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’s one of the many health benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients.
5.- It is an antioxidant
Some essential oils, when applied in the right way, can also help cancer patients tremendously in fighting 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 done in China suggests that lavender essential oil can increase antioxidant enzymes in the body. The enzymes include catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
There is also Romanian research that concludes that inhaling lavender oil may have neuroprotective effects against oxidative stress, which could lead to the growth of cancer cells in the brain.
6.- Relieves headaches
Aromatherapy can generally induce feelings of relaxation, indicated by relaxation of the 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 not treated properly. 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 generally anxious and tense, due to the therapy they are undergoing or other causes. Often times, anxieties and stresses lead to much bigger problems, such as insomnia.
Because regular sleep and rest are critical to effective treatments, disturbed sleep patterns can be harmful, especially for cancer patients.
Fortunately, aromatherapy can be used to treat these 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 bathing.
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 equal.
Take for example essential oils derived from frankincense. People have sworn by it for its powerful effects in treating anxiety, immune system, digestion, and respiratory problems.
Even current research is said to have discovered that frankincense might have antimutogenic and apoptotic abilities, which are the key factors in our fight against cancer.
Unfortunately, the effects were not demonstrated on active cancer cells in humans, therefore we still have a long way to go to discover how aromatherapy can help save us from cancers.
These are the main benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients, as suggested by many research and medical studies. It turns out that the benefits themselves are no longer limited to nervous and mental relaxation, which was the main goal of aromatherapy in the past.
New insights, as well as increased reliance on more natural alternatives, should encourage us to try harder to discover the potential benefits of aromatherapy.
The presence of pharmaceutical industries that market chemicals should not deter us from looking for other alternatives.
We hope the article on the 8 health benefits of Aromatherapy for cancer patients has been of help.