BCCT plans to write a summary on aromatherapy. While our summary is in development, you can visit National Cancer Institute PDQ: Aromatherapy

Before using this therapy, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure this therapy is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.

Clinical Practice Guidelines

In the 2009 Society for Integrative Oncology clinical practice guidelines, aromatherapy massage is included under the following recommendation: “For cancer patients experiencing anxiety or pain, massage therapy delivered by an oncology-trained massage therapist is recommended as part of multimodality treatment. Grade of recommendation: 1C.” (1C indicates strong recommendation, low- or very low-quality evidence).1


Hundreds of essential oils are used in aromatherapy, and BCCT does not have the capacity to list all possible cautions and side effects for each essential oil. Some essential oils used in aromatherapy can cause adverse reactions in some individuals. More common reactions are skin reactions, allergic reactions, respiratory reactions, phototoxicity (skin damage from sun and other intense light source exposure) and unpleasant psychological associations.

Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems

For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.

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