Aromatherapy is the use of natural oils extracted from plants. The oils are thought to be beneficial to your body and mind. They may be used during massage but can also be used in baths and creams, and through diffusers.
You don’t always have to remove clothing to have massage or aromatherapy. Having your hand, forearm or head and neck massaged can be very relaxing. Different oils are thought to have different effects.
There is no medical evidence to show that aromatherapy helps with the symptoms of cancer or side effects of treatment. But many people find it a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
It’s important to tell the aromatherapist about any medicines you are taking and give them all your medical details. They use very low-strength oils for people with cancer. But some oils can have physical effects on the body and, for example, may affect blood pressure. Also some oils can have oestrogen-like effects. You should avoid these oils if you have an oestrogen-dependent cancer, which includes some types of breast cancer.
If you are having any type of cancer treatment, always check with your cancer doctor first before you have aromatherapy. Usually it’s fine to have aromatherapy and massage during radiotherapy as long as it’s not used on the area being treated.