Using Aromatherapy & Oncology Massage To Support Mesothelioma Cancer Patients
Patients with a rare form of cancer are using oncology massage & aromatherapy to support traditional medical treatment. I was recently contacted by Virgil Anderson, who lives in America, but had been following my blog postings. After his diagnosis of Mesothelioma, he has been blogging about the use of Massage & Aromatherapy for Mesothelioma patients, to discuss their many benefits to those living with this form of cancer.
What Is Mesothelioma?
‘Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that’s most often caused by asbestos exposure. It usually forms in the lungs of those who have been exposed to this deadly toxin, but sometimes occurs in the abdominal area or the area around the heart.’ Sadly rates of survival of this particular form of cancer are low, partly as diagnosis is difficult & thus often late, & also as it is usually particularly aggressive. Therefore, as well as traditional allopathic forms of treatment, many forms of complementary therapies are also used by sufferers.
Aromatherapy & Mesothelioma
‘Aromatherapy may help patients find relief from stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, & pain’
Whilst Aromatherapy cannot replace medical treatments it can be of real benefit – relieving the many side effects of medications & some of the symptoms. Commonly Aromatherapy & essential oils blends are used to assist with:
- chemotherapy, radiotherapy & other treatments
- anxiety & nerves
- sleep issues & insomnia
‘There are few risks associated with aromatherapy, so even if you find it does not help you, there is no harm in trying. It is important, though, to work with a trained professional’
Oncology Massage & Mesothelioma
Oncology Massage is one of the most common & naturally effective methods of using Aromatherapy. Whilst diffusers, aromasticks & rollerballs can be excellent transmitters of essential oil blends, for many the power of touch can be an important & significant support whilst living with cancer with increasing levels of research being conducted by the medical & scientific community. See, for example; ‘Experiences of aromatherapy massage among adult female cancer patients: A qualitative study’
‘All participants had a positive experience towards aromatherapy massage. The perceived benefits of ATM included physical and psychological dimensions: overall comfort, relaxation, reduced pain, muscular tension, lymphedema, and numbness, improved sleep, energy level, appetite, and mood. Interestingly, a few participants reported that aromatherapy massage helped to enhance self-acceptance and coping with their altered torso. No adverse effects were reported’
Having treated clients living with or in remission with cancer several issues immediately become apparent. Those with a cancer diagnosis may feel alienated from their bodies or feel awkward with touching themselves. Due to the often invasive nature of treatment their experience of touch, especially from others, may have been unpleasant – the use of drips, injections, operations, treatments etc. One client thanked me profusely after a treatment because it was so nice to feel something gentle & relaxing after months of being poked & prodded in painful ways.
Being able to relax fully & stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system can be crucial in improving the healing process. Oncology massage can have many benefits:
- reduce post-surgery pain
- cope better with side effects of treatment
- relieve anxiety, especially before treatment
- reduce fatigue
- improve sleep
- decrease levels of stress
- decrease levels of stress hormones such as cortisol & adrenaline
- strengthens immune system
- quicken recovery
- positive experience of touch
‘Multiple studies have found a clear connection between massage & a reduction in…stress & anxiety. Massage therapy also helps patients recover better & cope better with the side effects of treatment. It can reduce post-surgery pain, reduce fatigue associated with chemotherapy, & can help improve mobility after having a surgical procedure, or in general. ‘
I was particularly interested to receive Virgil’s email in light of my possible training plans for this year. In Nature To Nurture news for my current & potential clients in the future, I am looking to specialise in oncology massage to help support those living with cancer. As I often see clients with a wide range of different ailments I am hoping to also use this training to assist with other serious conditions. There are only a few select accredited trainings in the country & I am particularly interested in the courses offered in Scotland by the Iris Cancer Partnership – please continue to check my blog for my progress.