Aromatherapy is praised for its relaxing nature and effectiveness in alleviating the physical and emotional difficulties of breast cancer. 

But how does it work and why is it so beneficial to people affected by breast cancer? We spoke to aromatherapist, Denise, about why it’s such a great treatment. 

What is aromatherapy? 

“Aromatherapy can work in many different ways. I focus on using essential oils in therapeutic massage blends. This involves massaging the person with the oils; the pleasant scent coupled with the power of touch helps our visitors to feel instantly relaxed and cared for. This helps to bring harmony to their mind and body.” 

The secret of essential oils 

“Essential oils are magic. Each of these precious volatile oils has its own specific chemistry which in turn has a specific function. Oils can be combined and used to alleviate the side-effects of breast cancer treatment. For example, lavender oil contains linalol, which is a well-known local anaesthetic. This makes lavender great for soothing pain as well as having a lovely and relaxing scent.” 

Relieving the side-effects of breast cancer 

“There are numerous ways that aromatherapy can help you during breast cancer. Each person has their own set of problems and is therefore offered a blend of essential oils specifically tailored to their needs. For example:  

  • A lot of people have trouble sleeping after the shock of diagnosis and aromatherapy is a great way to calm the mind and help them to switch off from anxieties. 
  • Scars that occur as a result of treatment and surgery can be treated with essential oils such as neroli and frankincense. These oils are great for the skin and can help the scars to fade. 
  • A blend of plain oil and field mint can help to ease peripheral neuropathy (numbness and pain in your hands and feet), one of the possible side-effects of chemotherapy.” 

The relaxing nature of aromatherapy  

“Aromatherapy treatment might be the first time that someone have been able to relax in months. Many people that I have treated have told me that this is the first time their bodies have experienced something pleasant since their diagnosis. Relaxing gives the body and mind time to stop and recharge and to reconnect with the person within.” 

Aromatherapy at home 

“I love to make special blends of aromatherapy oils for people to use at home and self-massage. This can sometimes be the first time they have touched their scars since surgery and is crucial to the healing process and to reconnecting with their bodies again.” 

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