Aromatherapy utilizes inhalation or topical (skin) application of highly concentrated distilled oils (known as essential oils) from flowering plants to promote healing, reduce stress, and increase vitality. Aromatherapies, however, are not intended for internal use.
Aromatherapies may be used individually or in combination with other essential oils. The most commonly used essential oils include lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, chamomile, marjoram, jasmine, peppermint, and geranium. Essential oils, however, are not the same as perfumes or flower essences.
An increasing number of cancer patients find that aromatherapy helps them be calm, relax, and find peace while undergoing the rigors and emotional strains of chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Here is how one breast cancer patient described how aromatherapy helped her cope with treatment:
“I found it gave me time out and time to switch off from what I was going through. It almost transported me to somewhere else. The atmosphere, the music and the oils are great. I just found the whole package a way of chilling out for an hour. I found it helps me with stress. It gives you the strength to go on.”