HealthDay News — Female cancer patients report positive experiences with aromatherapy massage (ATM), according to a study published online March 2 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Alice N.L. Kwong, from the Institute of Vocational Education in Hong Kong, and colleagues examined the perceived benefits and adverse effects of ATM use among female cancer patients. Semi-structured interviews were administered to 15 women with cancer. 

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The researchers found that all participants reported a positive experience with ATM. There were physical and psychological perceived benefits for ATM, including overall comfort, relaxation, reduced pain, muscular tension, lymphedema, and numbness, as well as improved sleep, energy level, appetite, and mood. There were reports that a few participants found that ATM helped to enhance self-acceptance and coping with their altered torso. There were no reports of adverse events. Four main themes that emerged from the interviews included: an immediate effect bringing comfort and reconnection to daily life; a pleasurable moment to forget the disease, boosted by the aroma; a pampering experience of being cared for, with preservation of dignity; and communication with a failing body.

“This study contributed by providing a better understanding in ATM from female cancer patients’ perspective which adds to the existing body of knowledge,” the authors write. “The implications for nursing practice, education, and future research were suggested.”

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