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Yes to Life's website content is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information is for educational and informational purposes only and has not been reviewed by medical doctors or oncologists. Cancer is a highly complex group of diseases, and it is known to manifest differently in different people, often responding more favourably to individualised approaches to treatment and care. Yes to Life advocates that any person diagnosed with, or suspected of having, cancer, consults with a suitably qualified and experienced medical professional before initiating any type of therapy or supportive treatment. Click here to read our full Disclaimer.

Aromatherapy uses the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these ‘essential’ oils is believed to stimulate brain function. The essential oils can, in addition, promote whole-body healing as they are absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream. Aromatherapy is gaining momentum as a form of complementary medicine and can be used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function.


During your first visit, the therapist will discuss symptoms, your medical history, allergies and any medicines you are taking before giving you a treatment. After a detailed consultation, the therapist will carefully choose a blend of oils with you. These oils will be used in a very dilute form, taking into consideration any symptoms you may have, your treatment, and any side effects caused by it. The aromatherapist may use the oils in several ways, usually therapeutic massage, but they can be used in your bath, for inhalation, in creams and lotions, or in burners/vaporisers.

Aromatherapists can advise you on the safe use of essential oils at home. The essential oils are usually blended with a carrier oil, such as almond or sunflower oil, and used for gentle body massage. The oils are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin but there is also some uptake as we breathe in. Essential oils may not be appropriate if you find the aroma too strong, as can happen during chemotherapy. In this case a plain carrier oil would be used instead. The number and length of appointments will vary depending on the centre and your individual needs, which you should discuss with the centre co-ordinator.


The therapeutic value of natural plant oils has been recognised for more than 6000 years and used across many cultures, for their healing, cleansing, preservative and mood-enhancing properties, as well as for the pleasure of their fragrances. Massage has been used as a healing therapy for many thousands of years. Ancient cultures, including China, Japan and India, considered massage to be calming, soothing and relaxing, and also very important as a healing therapy. Now, in the 21st century, there are many different kinds of massage therapies available, each of which offers specific benefits to the mind and body.



As essential oils have very powerful effects upon the body they should only be used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. Oils should never be swallowed, or used undiluted on the skin. You should check with your doctor before having massage and/or aromatherapy as massage may not be suitable for all cancer patients. Generally, massage given to patients with cancer should use only very gentle touch techniques, as gentler types may be safer. People with cancer should avoid very deep massage.

It is also important to choose a qualified massage therapist who has undertaken all the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of massage therapy, is a member of a recognised professional body which represents their therapy and that they have public liability insurance. This is especially important if you are having cancer treatment, are very weak, have bone fractures, have heart problems, suffer from arthritis, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, some oils should not be used on pregnant women. If you are having radiotherapy you should avoid massaging the treated area. And don’t have massage to any area of your body where the skin is broken, bleeding or bruised. You should also avoid general massage therapy to your arms or legs if they are swollen because of lymphoedema. However, there is a particular type of massage used for lymphoedema called manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). This is a very specialised treatment and people who need MLD are referred to a lymphoedema specialist by their doctor or specialist nurse. Some people worry that having a massage when you have cancer may make the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body.

No research has proved this to be true. Several reviews of the scientific literature have attributed numerous positive effects to massage, including improvements in the quality of patients’ relaxation, sleep, and immune system responses, and in the relief of their mood disturbance, fatigue, pain, anxiety, anger, depression, stress, and nausea resulting from chemotherapy treatments. Although it is not completely clear from studies how much added benefit the use of aromatherapy oils adds to the massage itself, an experienced aromatherapist should be able to work with you to find the most appropriate oils, depending on your mood and current symptoms. For example, abdominal massage with certain oils may help with constipation.


£40-60. Some clinics are able to offer an initial package of up to eight free or low cost sessions. The average cost for a 1 hour session is between £40-60.

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Nadia Brydon
Llandeilo, Wales UK

Nadia is passionate about supporting and guiding plant-based therapeutic nutritional changes and teaching how to live closer to the laws of nature believing that nature is our greatest healer and teacher ...
Altair de Almeida
Worcester, UK - England (Midlands)

Altair de Almeida has been training in Holistic Medicine since 1975 including Feng Sui, Meditation, Nutrition and Spiritual Healing ...
Dr Dietlind Elsner
Bransford, UK - England (Midlands)

Dr Dietlind Elsner is a registered anthroposophic workng as a Natural Therapist at The Fold. ...
Melanie Gamble
Melton Mowbray, UK

Melanie Gamble provides oncology massage, reflexology and aromatherapy massage to people with cancer ...
Rebecca Hayes

Rebecca Hayes is a qualified a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and has completed the Foundation Course with Patricia Peat of Cancer Options ...
Steve Kippax
London, UK

Steve Kippax practices The Four Pillars of Health which will allow us to support and maintain our wellbeing, and when disease occurs, will hasten a speedy recovery ...
Wendy Smith
London, UK - England (South East)

Wendy Smith is an experienced Nutritional Therapist specialising in metabolic/inflammatory conditions, most notably cancer ...
Action Cancer
Action Cancer is a Northern Ireland cancer charity, established in 1973 by cancer specialist Dr George Edelstyn. Services include counselling and support services for cancer patients and their families. ...
Arcturus Clinic (The)
Totnes, UK

The Arcturus Clinic has been running for over 15 years and aims to treat the holistic needs of the individual using complementary medicine. It offers ...
Arthur Rank House
Cambridgeshire, UK

The Arthur Rank House Day Therapy Service aims to help people live their lives to the full and to improve the quality of life for all who are affected by life limiting illness. ...
Ayrshire Cancer Support
Kilmarnock, UK

Ayrshire Cancer Support has operated in Ayrshire since 1982, providing emotional support and practical help for cancer patients, their families, carers and the bereaved. ...
Blackheath Complementary Health Centre
London, UK - England (South East)

Blackheath Complementary Health Centre is a multi-disciplinary practice providing complementary and alternative approaches to health care ...
Bracken Trust Cancer Support Centre (The)
Llandrindod Wells, UK - Wales

The Bracken Trust supports those who are coping with cancer, their families and the bereaved. They are about empowering people to live with, through and beyond cancer. ...
Bury Cancer Support Centre
Bury, UK

Bury Cancer Support Centre offers support, information and complementary therapies in an informal atmosphere. Therapies include relaxation, massage, aromatherapy, Bowen Technique, healing, reiki, and counselling. ...
CLAN Cancer Support
CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity for anyone affected by any type of cancer at any time from diagnosis onwards. ...
CREST Cancer Support
Staines-upon-Thames, UK

CREST is a local charity run entirely by volunteers who give their time and expertise for free to support cancer patients and their families ...
CYANA (Cancer You Are Not Alone)
London, UK

CYANA provides cancer support for the residents of Newham and surrounding boroughs. Qualified and experienced Counsellors offer one-to-one, couple and facilitated group support sessions and telephone counselling or advice. ...
Cancer Aid Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil, UK

Cancer Aid Merthyr Tydfil Ltd is a registered charity that provides a free service to those whose lives have been touched by cancer living within the Merthyr Tydfil Borough. ...
Cancer Care Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton, UK

If you have you been diagnosed with cancer and would like to benefit from a complementary therapy such as aromatherapy or reiki, then you can ask your doctor or Clinical Nurse Specialist to refer you for treatment. ...
Cancer Centre London
London, UK - England (South East)

The complementary therapy service at Parkside Hospital is an integral part of the overall oncology healthcare service, and offers a wide range of support to patients during their treatment at the Centre. ...
Cancer Connections
South Shields, UK

Cancer Connections is a charity thatd provides many services including counselling and complementary therapies, completely free of charge ...
Cancer Help
Preston, UK

Cancer Help was formed by Margaret O Donoghue in 1989 and now has two fully staffed day centres, bringing invaluable benefits to countless thousands of cancer patients in the Preston and Garstang areas. ...
Cancer Lifeline
Belfast, UK

Cancer Lifeline provides a welcoming home from home for individuals and their families living with cancer. The organisation was set up in October 1999 by a group of women all of whom are living with cancer themselves. ...
Cancer Support Centre Sutton Coldfield (The)
Birmingham, UK

The Cancer Support Centre Sutton Coldfield work alongside the local health services, hospices and other cancer charities for people affected by cancer and their carers, in Birmingham and the West Midlands ...
Cancer Support Scotland
Glasgow, UK

Cancer Support Scotland (formerly known as Tak Tent) deliver high-quality counselling, complementary therapy, podiatry and stress management services to promote mental and physical wellbeing ...
Lancaster, UK

CancerCare help families affected by cancer and other life-limiting illnesses in North Lancashire and South Lakeland, with centres in Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow. ...
Cherry Lodge Cancer Care
Barnet, UK

Cherry Lodge Cancer Care is an independent charity committed to improving the quality of life for people living with cancer, their carers and families. ...
Clinic for Integrated & Anthroposophic Medicine
Bransford, UK

The Clinic for Integrated and Anthroposophic Medicine is one of the clinics within The Fold Natural Therapy Centre. Dr Elsner, a medically qualified ...
Coping With Cancer North East
Annitsford, Cramlington, UK

Founded as a support group, Coping With Cancer North East exists to offer emotional support, practical help and information to those in the region with cancer, together with their friends and family. ...
Coping with Cancer in Leicestershire and Rutland
Leicester, UK

Coping with Cancer has a team of therapists who are experienced in treating those affected by cancer ...
Derry Well Woman
Londonderry, UK

Derry Well Women is a not-for-profit centre which offers health and social care services to women of all ages in a welcoming, relaxed, safe and confidential space ...
Macmillan Cancer Resource Centre (The)
Macmillan Cancer Resource Centres provide a safe and welcoming environment for people affected by cancer. Services for people with cancer and their families ...
New Hope Unlimited
Phoenix, United States

The New Hope Unlimited cancer treatment protocols include building the immune system, implementing anti-tumour protocols and detoxification and focusing on restoring the powerful immune system ...
Nuffield Health Cancer Centre London
London, UK

Nuffield Health Cancer Centre London’s team of cancer specialists aims to support you through your personal cancer journey providing a tailored care plan ...
Obitsu Sankei Clinic and Hospital

Ryoichi Obitsu opened the Obitsu Sankeijuku Clinic, a base for integrative medicine, and wrote over 100 books ...
Optimum Health Centre
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Optimum Health Centre was established in 1987 and offers a wholistic natural approach to restoring and promoting health, utilising minimally invasive procedures and nontoxic agents ...
Positive IV

Positive IV is a medical clinic providing IV therapy and integrative care services offering a full range of functional medicine to support your health and wellbeing ...
Rosa Medica Clinic
Cheddar, UK - England (South East)

Rosalind Blackwell is a doctor of naturopathy, medical herbalist and clinic director at the Rosa Medica Clinic ...
Surrey Holistic Centre for Functional Medicine
Godalming, UK - England (South East)

Surrey Holistic Centre for Functional Medicine is a multi-disciplinary centre incorporating the latest developments in holistic and complementary medicine ...
The Holistic Cancer Centre at Wirral Holistic Care Services
Claughton, UK

The Holistic Cancer Centre at Wirral Holistic Care Services is a nurse-Led therapeutic cancer support centre for people who have a cancer diagnosis ...
Information & Advice
Cancer Information and Support Society (CISS)
St Leonards, Global (ie: web based)

CISS promotes non-toxic holistic medicine. The educational organisation promotes prevention, self-help and freedom of choice in therapies for cancer...
Cancer Options Ltd
Nottingham, Global (ie: web based)

Led by Patricia Peat, an experienced oncology nurse, Cancer Options offers support and information on orthodox treatments, clinical trials and developments worldwide. ...
Canhelp Inc
Livingstone, United States

CANHELP serves patients and/or family members who wish to take an active part in the healing process and are willing to think outside the conventional medical box. ...
Dimbleby Cancer Care
London, UK

Dimbleby Cancer Care is a support and information service for patients and their carers from south east London and west Kent ...
Yes to Life
London, UK - England (South East)

Yes to Life is a charity that offers support to people with cancer in the UK who want to take a proactive role in their treatment ...
Acorn Cancer Support Group (The)

Acorn Cancer Support Group’s aim is to alleviate the physical and emotional distress of cancer patients and their carers. ...
Cavendish Cancer Care
Sheffield, UK

Cavendish Cancer Care are an independent charity which was established in 1991, and gives free emotional support and complementary therapies to families affected by cancer in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. ...
Chai Cancer Care
Chai Cancer Care is the Jewish community’s national cancer support organisation, enabling patients, family and friends to manage the impact of a cancer diagnosis. ...
Circle of Comfort
Fife, UK

Circle of Comfort is a registered Scottish charity which offers reflexology, massage or aromatherapy treatments to people in Fife and Perthshire ...
FORCE Cancer Charity
Exeter, UK

The FORCE Cancer Charity provides free support and complementary therapies at their relaxed and comfortable centre in Exeter, no appointment needed ...
Gentle Approach to Cancer Association
UK - England (North)

The Gentle Approach to Cancer is a Cancer Support Group based in Preston, Lancashire, offering a holistic approach helping patients look at their own needs ...
Harbour Cancer Support Centre
Hampshire, UK

The Harbour Cancer Support Centre offers support and information for people affected by cancer across South East Hampshire ...
Hospice of St Francis (The)
Berkhamsted, UK

The Hospice of St Francis is a charity helping people and their families in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire ...
Integrated Cancer Therapies (ICT)

Integrated Cancer Therapies is a registered charity specialising in delivering complementary therapy to people with cancer living in Northamptonshire ...
Jane Scarth House
Romsey, UK - England (South East)

Jane Scarth House is a local charity that provides emotional and practical support to anyone whose life is affected by cancer ...
John Holt Cancer Support Foundation (The)
Warrington, UK

The John Holt Cancer Support Foundation is a local voluntary registered charity that helps support the lives of individuals and their families affected by cancer ...
Lilac Centre (The)
Prescot, UK - England (North)

The Lilac Centre provides free complimentary therapies and holistic therapies to support patients and carers ...
Liverpool Sunflowers
Liverpool, UK

Liverpool Sunflowers is a charity providing support to local people following a diagnosis of cancer or other life changing illness ...
Macclesfield Cancer Help Centre
Macclesfield, UK

The Macclesfield Cancer Help Centre is a registered charity, providing complementary therapies for cancer patients, their family, friends and carers ...
Munro Health Co-Operative Ltd (The)
London, UK

The Munro Health Co-Operative Ltd is dedicated to the provision of complementary health care to people who would normally not be able to afford them ...
Nightingale Cancer Support Centre (The)
Enfield, UK - England (South East)

The Nightingale Cancer Support Centre’s mission is to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, their family and friends ...
Penny Brohn UK
Bristol, UK

Penny Brohn UK is the cancer health and wellbeing charity with a wide array of services free and online ...
Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care
Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care is a charity that offers free supportive services and therapies for patients and their families ...
Rotherham Cancer Care Centre
Rotherham, UK

Rotherham Cancer Care Centre services are free and there is no need for an NHS referral ...
Royal Marsden (The)
Sutton, UK

The complementary therapy team working at The Royal Marsden Hospital are experienced in working with patients undergoing cancer treatment ...
South East Cancer Help Centre
South East Cancer Help Centre aims to give any person affected by cancer an opportunity to explore ways which may help them to cope with their situation ...
Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and Community Services

Sue Ryder provides Day Service treatment across Berkshire in Newbury and Wokingham, where they support patients with practical advice, useful services and complementary therapies ...
Thames Hospice
Windsor, UK - England (South East)

Thames Hospice is an independent charity, offering free counselling and complimentary therapies for cancer patients ...
The Sara Lee Trust
The Sara Lee Trust supports people in Hastings and Rother who have been diagnosed with cancer or other life threatening illnesses by providing free counselling, complementary therapies and group activities ...
Triangle Drop-in Centre
Triangle Cancer Support Centre is staffed by experienced cancer nurses, therapists and trained volunteers, to help cancer patients and their families ...
Wessex Cancer Trust
Wessex Cancer Trust offers free, local and personalised emotional and wellbeing support for anyone affected by cancer in Wessex ...
Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre
Sheffield, UK - England (North)

Weston Park Cancer Support offer 4 free Complementary therapy sessions to cancer patients in their region to help ease the side effects of cancer treatments ...
White House Cancer Support
Dudley, UK

White House Cancer Support provides practical help, emotional support and information to people with cancer, their families, friends and carers in the borough of Dudley ...
G Baldwin & Co Natural Products
London, UK

George Baldwin first opened his doors in South East London in 1844. Baldwin’s is now London’s oldest and most established herbalist ...