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The Use of Essential Oils for Symptom Management

Aromatherapy is the most widely provided complementary therapy in palliative care in the U.K. Aromatherapy for relaxation, stress relief and emotional / psychological support is becoming known as 'holistic aromatherapy' and is generally provided in the form of aromatherapy massage. The understanding of the term 'clinical aromatherapy' is evolving as an advanced level of aromatherapy practice where essential oils are also used for symptom management.

Integrating Clinical Aromatherapy in Specialist Palliative Care provides some of the best available evidence on essential oils as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic, anxiolytic and sedative agents. It describes the process used at one hospice to integrate the use of essential oils in simple ways in symptom management, alongside conventional measures. The three chapters on wound care, skin care and mouth care provide a guide and framework which may encourage other hospices and palliative care units to consider the approach. Case studies illustrate effective practice; formulations and procedures are described. Resources are given for advanced clinical aromatherapy studies and continuing professional development for aromatherapists.

With forewords by Rhiannon Harris, Director, Essential Oil Resource Consultants, and Cath Miller, Director of Nursing, St. Gemma's Hospice, Leeds this guide is intended to provide a basis for organisations to develop their own policies, protocols and procedures in order to safely introduce essential oils for symptom management in response to local need.

Marianne Tavares is a consultant in complementary therapies in palliative care who now works and resides in Toronto, Canada.