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Complementary Therapies: Essential Oils

You have been diagnosed with bladder cancer and are having treatment, in the form of BCG, chemotherapy, or even radiotherapy. You may want to use complementary therapies to help with the side effects of treatments. You do need to check first with your doctor to make sure they won’t contraindicate your treatments or affect them in any way.

So, what can you use?

Essential oils work by being absorbed into the bloodstream, and this can be done in various ways. You can use an oil burner or a diffuser. These use the inhalation method. By adding a few drops of essential oil to some water, you can create smells that uplift and relax, that ground and balance you, and that can revive you. Essential oils have many health benefits, from relaxation to being “antiemetic,” meaning that these oils are effective against vomiting and nausea.

The benefits of essential oils

I would recommend using an oil burner or a diffuser – this way, you can have these gorgeous oils filling the room with their amazing aromas. Aromas/smells have the power to completely transform your day; they can invoke memories and help boost our moods and well-being. How fabulous is that?

Essential oils are used to make perfumes; they are also in a lot of cleaning materials and air fresheners, known by their chemical names. One that sticks out is “Limonene”. This is present in citrus oils. Next time you buy an air freshener, check out the chemicals on the back and I’m sure you will find it there.

Individual properties of essential oils

Each essential oil has different “properties” to them. Some are relaxing, some are uplifting, and some help our respiratory and circulatory systems. What we need to understand is that each oil is categorized in “notes”. It is these “notes” that determine which oils should blend together. Ideally, you would want a top, middle, and bottom note for a long-lasting effect, although some oils are naturally beautiful on their own, like lavender.


Top ‘notes’ are oils which tend to be light, fresh and uplifting. These oils evaporate quickly; citrus oils, for instance, are top notes. Middle notes are generally warming and soft aromas, and a lot of essential oils fit into this category. Lavender, rosemary & geranium are middle notes. Bottom notes or base notes, as they are sometimes called, are they heavy oils. Strong and rich oils, they usually are very relaxing and sedating. Frankincense and Sandalwood are examples of these. Some oils are between “notes,” for example, clary sage is a top to middle note, so this means you can use it as either.

Creating a blend

Ideally, you will want a strong base note; this usually is roughly 45-55% of the “blend.” Then, you will add a middle note oil, roughly 30-40%, and top notes are usually 15-25% of the blend. A “blend” is exactly that, a blend of oils. It can also come down to your own personal preference, so if you like a particular oil, you can use more of that in a blend. Trial and error come into play here.

Using an essential oil in the bath has a double absorption rate. You will be directly inhaling the oil, as well as the oil being absorbed through your skin. Once the oil has been absorbed, it will be held under the skin, like a little reservoir and will slowly be released into your bloodstream, which is why the effects of essential oils last for a long time.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.