The Growing Use Of Aromatherapy In Palliative Care.

Published: Monday, 04 April 2016 15:50

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy, which uses essential oils to promote healing in clients.  It has been used in palliative care for many years now to reduce the side effects that patients have to endure.  It is also used in coping with some of the side effects of cancer.


Essential oils can be obtained through various processes from the seeds, flowers, leave, root or even whole plants.  Almost all essential oils thus derived are then used in various products, cosmetics, perfumes or oils.

According to Cancer Research UK some of the essential oils that are used by people with cancer include lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, chamomile, peppermint, lemon, geranium, jasmine, marjoram and ylang ylang.

These oils can help with anxiety, pain, depression, stress and/or tiredness, which are common side effects with cancer and its treatment.

In order to start using these oils, it is advised that you consult an aromatherapist first.  Aromatherapists should be at least trained up to level 3 on the national vocational qualification framework and must be member of bodies such as Association of Aromatherapist or equivalent membership body.  Becoming members of these bodies help aromatherapists’ to keep their training up to date.  This also ensures that their qualification has been vetted and verified so that clients can place their trust in them.

Essential oils can be used as a cold compress, used on oil burner, in warm bath (along with a carrier oil or cream), or inhaled with steam. 

Many cancer clinics and hospitals offer aromatherapy to relieve symptoms or side effects and this may help people to have a sense of wellbeing. A UK hospital carried out a research on 160 people and over 75% of patients reported experiencing benefits.  We need more research efforts put into establishing wider significance and benefits of essential oils for people with cancer.

To get most from your aromatherapy treatment:

·    Always disclosed full medical history to your therapists

·    Focus on the outcome i.e. what do you wish to feel at the end of the treatment

·    Ask them lots of questions about their training and experience

·    Ensure that they are member of their industry regulatory body and have professional indemnity insurance. 

An aromatherapist should give you a choice of blends to choose from.  Select the blend with the most appealing aroma, as that is the one that will benefit you the most.

Contributor: Sumita Singh, Affable Therapy Training Ltd.