Reflexology and Aromatherapy Reducing Side Effects in Cancer Patients

A non-invasive approach employing reflexology and aromatherapy can reduce anxiety and pain in women undergoing cervical radiation therapy, according to a clinical study conducted at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

Earlier data states that 40% of women going for cervical radiation therapy suffer so much anxiety and pain that they become susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This clinical study was conducted as researchers were eager to know if integrative medicine approaches, such as reflexology and aromatherapy, could lessen the anxiety and pain commonly felt by women undergoing brachytherapy.

This type of specific radiation is an extremely effective in the treatment for various types of cancers that occur deep in the body. The radiation sources are placed close to the tumour itself, which helps in lessening radiation exposure to adjacent normal tissues.

“We have this very effective treatment approach available, but in reality these therapy sessions cause such extreme discomfort and anxiety that tolerating treatment becomes both mentally and physically stressful for patients.”, said Lisa Blackburn, a clinical oncology nurse specialist and principal study investigator. She further added, “Our preliminary work shows that we can reduce our patients’ pain and anxiety through integrative medicine techniques, without introducing another pill or invasive procedure into their treatment regimen.”

Blackburn wishes reflexology and aromatherapy will become a prominent care standard, not limited to just brachytherapy patients, but for anyone with anxiety and pain problems.