Researchers at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, in Japan measured immunological and psychological effects.
First, the details.
12 breast cancer patients received a 30-minute aromatherapy massage twice a week for 4 weeks (8 times in total).
Their response was compared to an earlier 1-month before and after with no massage.
And, the results.
Anxiety was reduced after 1, 30-minute aromatherapy massage based on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) test and after 8 sequential aromatherapy massage sessions in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) test.
HADS measures the severity of anxiety and depression separately)
Immunologic, CD16-positive lymphocytes (natural killer cells) were reduced significantly after aromatherapy massage.
CD4-CXCR3-positive lymphocytes (type 1 helper T cells) increased significantly after the 8th aromatherapy massage vs before the 8th massage.
CD4-CCR4-positive lymphocytes (type 2 helper T cells) also increased significantly after aromatherapy sessions.
More than you ever needed to know about T helper cells is here.
There were no changes during the month before or after massage.
The bottom line?
The authors tell us “Although it is hard to interpret these [immunological] results, theoretically, it is possible that aromatherapy massage affects the immune system.”
Breastcancer.org states, “Research in cancer patients has shown that aromatherapy may help relieve:
high blood pressure
The effects of aromatherapy massage on the immune system require further research.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.