Aromatherapy and Stress Reduction
My patient L.T. is a 35 year old woman who just recently migrated from West Africa. She is a mother of four children, ranging from two years of age to 12 years of age, and she has just been newly diagnosed with early cervical cancer. Even though this patient has a family history of cervical cancer (her mother died from complications of cervical cancer with metastatic) prior to her diagnosis L.T. was asymptomatic, so this came as a shock to both her and her husband of 12 years. Due to her family history of cancer and the fact that she already has children (one girl and three boys) my patients treatment of choice is to have a radical hysterectomy performed. Even though she understands the necessity of the surgery and is in agreement with the procedure, L.T. is presently experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety and periods of depression not only due to her new diagnosis or questions of if the cancer would come back after treatment, but also about her sex life post-surgery and any deformities that accompany such a major surgery. Stress and anxiety can be psychologically crippling, not only causing disruptive sleep or work but also lowering a patients’ resistance and making an already sick person even more susceptible to infection and illness. Therefore, controlling my patient’s stress and anxiety level at this point in time is very crucial, reason why I choose Aromatherapy as a complementary therapy for this patient. Aromatherapy which is a form of alternative medicine can be traced back thousands of years ago when the Egyptians where known to burn incense made from aromatic wood, spices and herbs in honor of their gods. The ancient Egyptians strongly believed that as the smoke rose up to heaven, it would carry their prayers and wishes straight to the gods. Furthermore, the Egyptians used the technique of distillation to extract the oils from the fragrant plants and these oils were then used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes,...
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