How aromatherapy can provide relief during breast cancer As one of our most popular free one-to-one therapies at Breast Cancer Haven, aromatherapy is praised by our visitors for it’s 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 one of our aromatherapists, Denise, about why we offer aromatherapy and why it’s such a great treatment. What is aromatherapy? “Aromatherapy can work in many different ways. At Breast Cancer Haven we focus on using essential oils in therapeutic massage blends. This involves massaging the visitor 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 visitor at Breast Cancer Haven has their own set of problems and is 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 plai 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 “Many of our visitors have been through an exhausting physical and emotional ordeal by the time they come to Breast Cancer Haven. For many, their aromatherapy treatment might be the first time that they 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 “It can also be helpful for our visitors to practice aromatherapy outside of sessions at Breast Cancer Haven. I love to make special blends of aromatherapy oils for visitors to take 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.” Aromatherapy at Breast Cancer Haven “The great thing with aromatherapy is that it starts to work from the moment you step into the therapy room and inhale the scent of the oils. A visitor once told me that aromatherapy was responsible for sustaining her throughout her breast cancer treatment. I believe this comment speaks volumes about the effectiveness of aromatherapy and how helpful it is to people affected by breast cancer.” Aromatherapy is available at all Breast Cancer Haven centres. Sign up to receive free breast cancer support and begin aromatherapy today.