Aromatherapy Skills Taught at MD Anderson Cancer Ctr

Aromatherapy Skills Taught at Cancer Center

Complementary and alternative medicine continues to make inroads into mainstream medical care. Massage and energy-work techniques are employed at many hospitals throughout the United States—and now, aromatherapy is finding its place alongside other CAM therapies.

Cherie Perez, a supervising research nurse in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, teaches a monthly aromatherapy class to answer those questions for cancer patients and caregivers undergoing treatment at the center, according to a center press release. Perez's classes are offered free of charge through M. D. Anderson's Place ... of wellness, a department within the center that focuses on helping patients and caregivers deal with the non-medical issues of living with cancer. M. D. Anderson's Place ... of wellness was the first complementary therapy facility to be built on the campus of a comprehensive cancer center.

Perez, who first became involved with aromatherapy to help relieve the physical pain and discomfort caused by fibromyalgia, shares her professional knowledge of the basics of aromatherapy, safety precautions and interactive demonstrations in each hour-long class.

While essential oils may not directly stimulate the immune system, they can complement cancer treatment by boosting the system's ability to fight off infections, says Perez.

Certain oils can also stimulate lymphatic drainage or have antibacterial properties, she adds. And because aromatherapy has many potential uses ranging from managing anxiety and nausea to helping with sleep, general relaxation, memory and attention, many individuals, including cancer patients, can benefit from aromatherapy.

For more information about the aromatherapy classes at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, visit

Source: Massage Magazine, 9/06

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