Aromatherapy and massage
Aromatherapy: using essentials oils either in massage oils, creams, burning them or in a compress to receive beneficial healing of the mind or body. Essentials oils are products obtained from natural, raw material, by distillation or by mechanical processing.
- Particularly suitable for use in palliative care
- May not be possible to perform a full body massage on patient, therefore massage has to be adapted to the circumstance.
- Aromatherapy can be very useful to bring hidden emotions to the surface.
Lavender- relaxing effects
Chamomile- relaxing, ideal for people with insomnia
Breathe blend-relieves the symptoms of coughs, colds, flus and sinusitis
Sleep-nourishment and strengthening of mind and body
Ylang ylang and lemongrass- peaceful atmosphere and dispels odours from wounds, colostomy sites or incontinence
Geranium- uplifting and skin-rejuvenating properties
Grapefruit, lemongrass or may chang- very refreshing and uplifting
Nurses are ideally placed to initiate methods of symptom control including the use of touch and aromatherapy. There are no clear guidelines for the use of aromatherapy for cancer.
The benefits of those who receive aromatherapy treatment are:
- reduction of anxiety and stress
- a sense of well-being
- relief of constipation, headaches, muscular aches and pains, insomnia and infections
- improvement in circulation of blood
- stimulation of immune system
Gentle massage with essentials oils can help the patient relax which can ease physical pain.
Myths on massage which need to be corrected:
MAKE THE CANCER GROW DUE TO INCREASED BLOOD SUPPLY?
Blood circulation is increased following a massage, however this will not stimulate cancer growth.
MAKE THE CANCER SPREAD?
If the cancer is a spreading type (metastasise) then it will do so on its own accord. Massage will not increase or decrease metastasise.
INTERFERE WITH CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIATION THERAPY?
These treatments are very powerful and will not be over-ridden by any effects of massage.
A massage therapist should be well trained in the guidelines to follow with cancer patients and discuss the treatment with other practitioners and nurses involved. Similarly, Aromatherapists should seek permission of a medical person when treating a person with cancer
DEDICATING YOURSELF TO PAIN RELIEF:
Your body needs regular maintenance. You take your car in for regular services so it doesn’t break down, so why should your body be any different? This includes a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle, regular exercise and making sure you treat any aches and pains early so they don’t become larger problems that intrude in your life.
You, and only you, live in your body so you alone are responsible for its daily care and upkeep.
Poor posture produces pain. What we do habitually/constantly/repeatedly determines which muscles we tighten or shorten. These muscles can cause postural distortions and result in pain. You can’t sit for 8 hours straight without at least having a stretch and then ask “I wonder why my lower back is sore”?
If you are on an exercise program or are receiving treatment for specific problems in your body, this needs to be tailored to be as unique as you are.
Medication is only masking the pain, it is not helping the problem.
Some simple hints for reducing your pain:
- Drink water as much as you can. Dehydration can lead to tired, sore muscles.
Headaches can arise from dehydration.
- Have a look at your workspace and see what you can change to minimise stress in your body. Is your chair the right height so that your hips aren’t over- contracted? Are you having to turn to one side to type on your computer? Are you lifting things to heavy for yourself?
- Get lots of sleep so your body can function properly. Make sure your pillow and bed are right for your posture.
- If you would like to find out more information, there are lots of practitioners in areas that can help you, for example massage therapy, reflexology, osteopaths, reiki and many others. Find the practitioner that suits you. They need to gather your history, your family history and find out where you have postural imbalances. You create together, the best program for you.
- Get at least 30 minutes exercise a day. Make it varied so you don’t get too bored.
- Toni McMahon