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Aromatherapy plus music therapy helps reduce pain and anxiety in patients with breast cancer


Cancer treatment brings many side effects, and cancer pain is one of the most prevalent and feared symptoms.

Complementary therapy is an emerging therapy used alongside with standard medical care to reduce the side effects from conventional therapies like chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, and it shows significant clinical value in recent years.

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Breast Cancer found that aromatherapy plus music therapy improve pain intensity and anxiety in patients with breast cancer after surgery.

In the study, a total of 160 patients with breast cancer after surgery were assigned to four different groups to receive usual cancer, aromatherapy, music therapy, or aromatherapy plus music therapy, respectively.

The results showed that patients administered aromatherapy plus music therapy showed statistically significant improvement in pain and anxiety rating scores, as well as specific biochemical indictors. Although the single use of aromatherapy and music therapy did bring some positive effects on pain and anxiety management, the results were not statistically significant, compared to the treatment of usual care.

A previous study conducted by the researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center also suggested that essential oil aromatherapy treatment can be complementary therapy used to reduce pain and anxiety in conventional therapy. In the study, the patients with cervical cancer reported a 60 percent decrease in pain scores and a 20 percent decrease in anxiety scores when they received essential oil aromatherapy and 30 minutes of foot reflexology prior to brachytherapy.

In addition to aromatherapy and music therapy, other common complementary therapies include acupuncture, nutritional therapy, tai chi, yoga, massage, etc. These practices are defined as integrative medicine by the National Cancer Institute.

Integrative therapy cannot stop the cancer progress, but it can reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and help cancer patients relieve anxiety, nausea, headaches, pain and other symptoms, thus improving their overall life of quality.

American Society endorsed that the Society for Integrative Oncology recommended certain integrative medicine during and after breast cancer treatment in the evidence-based guidelines in 2018.

More and more studies have found that some interactive medicine are helpful with side effects of cancer treatment in recent years, and integrative medicine is becoming more and more popular among cancer patients.


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