“Aromatherapy “is the word formed by the combination of two terms: aroma (fragrance) and therapy(treatments). In the 1920s, French chemist and perfumer René Maurice Gatte Fosse coined the term “aromatherapy,” a subcategory of “herbal medicine”. This therapy is a natural healing method for one’s mind, body, and soul. In Aromatherapy, essential oils are used as a leading therapeutic agent, highly concentrated substances extracted from flowers, leaves, stalks, fruits, and roots and distilled from resins. Essential oils are a complex blend of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, alcohol, aldehydes, esters, ethers, ketones, oxides, phenols, and terpenes that can emit distinct odors. Inhalation, massage, and simple application on the skin surface are the various ways to administer it into the body to attain physical and mental balance. Many scientists have documented their versatile antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory nature and immune booster body with hormonal, glandular, emotional, circulatory, calming effect, memory, and alertness enhancer. In addition, these essential oils act on the olfactory nerves, which run from the nose to the brain. Nowadays, the use of Aromatherapy has become popular in many chronic diseases like cancer and sleep disorders.
The stimulation properties of these oils are found in their structure, which is similar to that of actual hormones. When essential oils are inhaled, they integrate into a biological signal of the receptor cells in the nose. The call is sent to the limbic and hypothalamic areas of the brain via the olfactory bulb. These signals cause the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin, endorphin, and others to connect our nervous and other body systems, ensuring the desired change and providing a sense of relief. Serotonin, endorphins, and noradrenaline are released by calming, euphoric, and stimulating oils, respectively, to produce the desired effect on the mind and body. Different therapy types include massage aromatherapy, medical Aromatherapy, olfactory Aromatherapy, cosmetic Aromatherapy, and Psycho aromatherapy. Many plants have been reported to be used in Aromatherapy due to essential or volatile oils in plant materials such as flowers, barks, stems, leaves, roots, fruits, and so on: Examples include Lavandula angustifolia (anti-inflammatory), Helichrysum italicum (anti-hematoma), Pinus sylvestris (adrenal cortex stimulant), Vitex agnus castus (estrogen progesterone equilibrant) and Tanacetum annuum (antihistamine). Peppermint, clary sage, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, etc. Tea tree oil reduces the histamine reaction of weal and flares in humans. Existing research on essential oils indicates that noncytotoxic concentrations have an anti-inflammatory effect by increasing interleukin-10 production.
Both tea tree oil and terpinene-4-oil inhibited the growth of human melanoma M14 WT cells and M14 Adriamycin-resistant cells. In melanoma cells, the action was linked to apoptosis via a caspase-dependent mechanism. When human colon cancer cells are sensitized to geraniol, a component of essential plant oil, 5-fluorouracil treatment is enhanced. Attempts are being made to establish a link between essential oils and anti-tumor activity. The Poly pharmacological anti-tumor mode-of-action of cardamom essential oils has some promising results to back up the claims. In some cancer patients, aromatherapy massage has been shown to help reduce anxiety, nausea, depression, and high blood pressure. Cancer patients use Aromatherapy because it makes them feel better. Contact dermatitis can help lift their spirits and improve their overall wellbeing. There is some evidence that aromatherapy massage can improve treatment outcome. There are several types of applications. Oils are typically applied topically in diluted forms and in conjunction with a carrier oil. A few drops of essential oils can be inhaled drop steaming water and then using an atomizer or humidifier to disperse the fragrance throughout the room. Some aromatherapists argue that using specific herbs in food can also be considered Aromatherapy. However, this should be regarded as one particular alimentation rather than one particular use as essential oils.
The use of essential oils is thought to improve both physical and emotional wellbeing in cancer patients. They are widely used in cancer treatment and can change the metabolism of cancer cells in shallow doses and provide—energy for synthetic processes. As a result, essential oils are being regarded as a promising agent, opening up avenues for novel anticancer therapy as a means of overcoming the side effects and high cost of chemotherapy approaches in breast cancer.
Claims have been made for the impact of certain oils, ranging from affecting a patient’s “subtle body”; bringing balance to a specific “chakra”; restoring harmony to the “energy flow”; becoming centered; contributing to “spiritual growth”; altering mood and improving overall health; to more specific claims such as having anticonvulsive and spasmolytic properties. Benefits for cancer patients include reduced anxiety and relief from emotional stress, pain, muscular tension, and fatigue. In addition, individuals’ expectations and subjective perceptions of oil influence treatment outcomes, including whether or not they have previous experience with a particular scent and whether or not it is perceived as pleasurable. The neurochemical aspects include glutamate binding inhibition, GABA augmentation, and acetylcholine receptor binding. Linalool, for instance, is the primary terpenoid component of lavender oil. Linalool has been shown in animal studies to inhibit glutamate binding. Inhaled lavender oil reduces electroshock-induced convulsions in mice, suggesting augmentation of GABA. It is thought that scent receptors in the nose send chemical messages to the brain’s limbic region via the olfactory nerve. It, in turn, can impact a person’s emotional reactions, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Aromatherapy is generally recommended to help patients cope with stress, chronic pain, nausea, and depression. Thus, one can expect both direct effects of the oils and positive patient expectations. Numerous in vitro and animal studies indicate that essential oils’ chemical constituents have anticancer properties. Human studies have assessed the efficacy of essential oils in a supportive role, and while essential oils appear to be effective in this setting. More extensive studies are needed to confirm their effects.
An example includes a randomized study using a cool washcloth with peppermint essential oil on a patient’s neck associated with a significantly more significant decrease in the intensity of nausea in cancer therapy patients than using a cool washcloth alone7. Patients receiving certain types of chemotherapy frequently report nausea as a subjective symptom. It has been linked to dehydration and delays in chemotherapy administration, among other adverse effects. Furthermore, anxiety associated with the fear of chemotherapy-induced nausea is common, and it can further reduce these patients’ quality of life.
Aromatherapy in thyroid cancer
People are becoming more concerned about their thyroid health as the number of thyroid diseases continues to rise. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck, just below Adam’s apple. Thyroid hormones are involved in metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature. Even a slight imbalance can make you feel constipated, leading to muscle weakness, fatigue, and even weight gain. Essential oils are a simple way to alleviate the discomfort caused by thyroid imbalance.
Lemongrass has potent anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, lemongrass essential oil can help to detox your thyroid while maintaining its natural lymphatic function.
Anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and pain-relieving properties abound in frankincense oil. Furthermore, it aids in the treatment of skin disorders caused by thyroid imbalance. By destroying free radicals in the body, the essential oil also protects the thyroid. Apply Frankincense oil mixed with a carrier oil to the thyroid gland.
Myrrh essential oil
Myrrh, like other essential oils, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For centuries, this essential oil has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. According to some studies, rubbing two or three drops of myrrh oil on the thyroid gland can help support thyroid health.
Is Aromatherapy safe for use?
Although lavender, bergamot, and other essential oils are generally considered safe, allergic/hypersensitivity reactions and contact dermatitis have been reported; oils derived from ylang-ylang, lemongrass, jasmine, sandalwood, and clove are primarily known for their contact-sensitizing (inducing allergic reactions) properties. As a result, many cancer centers offer aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a pleasant, inexpensive approach for symptom management. It is administered as a standalone treatment or as a component of therapeutic massage. Aromatherapy is a friendly, low-cost method of symptom management. It is effective as a standalone treatment or as a part of a therapeutic massage session.
benefits and techniques
Relaxation and stress relief: Aromatherapy can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and alleviate stress, which can be beneficial for cancer patients who often experience emotional distress. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are commonly used for their calming effects.
Pain management: Certain essential oils have analgesic properties and can help with cancer-related pain. For instance, peppermint oil may be used topically to alleviate neuropathic pain, while lavender and chamomile oils can help reduce muscle tension and joint pain.
Nausea and vomiting relief: Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can cause nausea and vomiting. Aromatherapy with essential oils like ginger, peppermint, and lemon has shown promise in reducing these symptoms. Inhalation or topical application may be used, depending on personal preference and tolerance.
Improved sleep: Cancer and its treatments can disrupt sleep patterns. Aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender, roman chamomile, and sandalwood may promote relaxation and help improve sleep quality.
Mood enhancement: Cancer patients may experience mood changes, including anxiety and depression. Aromatherapy can help uplift the spirits and improve emotional well-being. Citrus oils like lemon, orange, and grapefruit are often used for their mood-enhancing properties.
Immune support: Essential oils with immune-boosting properties, such as tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemon, may support the immune system during cancer treatment. However, it’s important to use caution and consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils during periods of compromised immunity.
Massage and topical application: Aromatherapy can be incorporated into massage therapy or applied topically through diluted essential oils. Massage with essential oils can provide relaxation, pain relief, and improved circulation. However, it’s crucial to follow proper dilution guidelines and seek guidance from a trained aromatherapist or healthcare professional.
Inhalation and diffusion: Inhalation of essential oils through diffusion can provide respiratory benefits and emotional support. Using an aromatherapy diffuser or inhaling oils from a tissue or inhaler can be effective methods for inhalation.
Personalized blends and preferences: Each individual may respond differently to aromatherapy, and it’s important to find the scents and oils that work best for you. Personalized blends can be created with the help of an aromatherapist to address specific needs and preferences.
It’s crucial to remember that aromatherapy is not a substitute for medical treatment, and it should be used in conjunction with conventional cancer care. Always consult with your healthcare team before incorporating aromatherapy into your cancer treatment plan to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your individual situation.
To summarise, the use of diluted essential oil poses few risks. However, aromatherapy/essential oils may be used safely by cancer patients for a short-term benefit in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms and increasing sleep patterns and wellbeing. Anxiety and depression were reduced in the short term in a study of aromatherapy massage in cancer patients using 20 essential oils. Other researchers discovered it to be as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy and preferred by many patients for emotional distress. Furthermore, patients receiving hospice care experienced pain and depression reductions after Aromatherapy massage with a blend of oils (bergamot, lavender, and frankincense) for better sleep Aromatherapy appears to be beneficial for managing pain, poor sleep, nausea, and psychological distress, with high patient preference and compliance. However, well-designed, more extensive studies are required to establish the usage recommendations.