What is it?
The use of essential oils extracted from plants for healing relaxation. They are used mainly during massage but can also be used in baths, inhalations or vaporisers (oil burners).
Why use it
When inhaled or absorbed through the skin during massage, the oils are thought to have a positive effect on the body’s tissues, the mind and spirit.
What to expect
The aromatherapist blends essential oils and adds them to a base (carrier) oil before applying them to your skin during a massage. For more on this, see Safety of oils used in bodywork.
What is the evidence?
There is limited evidence that aromatherapy may have positive short-term effects on pain and anxiety in people with cancer. There is some small evidence that aromatherapy improves sleep and quality of life.
Meditation and Relaxation Podcast
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and PathWest, Chairman and Founder Solaris Cancer Care Foundation, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA); Dr Robert Blum, Clinical Director, Cancer Services, Bendigo Health, NSW; Sally Brooks, Senior Pharmacist, Medicines Information, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Suzanne Grant, Senior Research Fellow, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Prof Danforn Lim, Adjunct Professor and Advisory Board Member, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, and Adjunct Professor, UTS, NSW; Christina Line, Statewide Services Senior Coordinator, Cancer Council WA; Jen McKenzie, Physiotherapist (Lymphoedema) and ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist, The McKenzie Clinic, QLD; Simone Noelker, Wellness Centre and Pastoral Care Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Nirzari Pandit, General Practitioner, RACGP Specific Interests Integrative Medicine Group, NSW; Georgie Pearson, Consumer; Cris Pirone, Counsellor, Cancer Council SA; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner, and UNSW Research Fellow, NSW; Kirsty Trebilcock, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
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