WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- When Toni Babbitz of Chevy Chase was going through high-dose chemotherapy to treat her lymphoma last year, she would leave those sessions feeling completely wiped out.
Babbitz says, "You would basically go in for a day of chemotherapy, like a mix of drugs and by the next morning I felt like a turtle. Like in a shell, I was breathing very shallow."
So instead of suffering through the toxic treatment, she decided to seek an alternative form of relief. She opted for aromatherapy at the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine. She felt the aromatic effects in a matter of minutes.
Babbitz says, "By the time I left here I was breathing again. I would say that was really dramatic. I literally couldn't even drive here. I couldn't get in a car and focus to drive. By the time I left here I could've driven away, although someone brought me each time."
Patients like Toni have aromatherapy on days before and after each chemo session. Doctors choose from about fifty types of oils for each patient.
Victoria Goldsten, HD, PhD of the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine says, "It depends on the symptoms a client may be having. As an example, a cancer patient may be having nausea. For nausea, we would use a particular oil to calm tht nauseated kind of feeling. For instance, like a peppermint or lemon oil would be very good for nausea."
Once the oils touch the skin, Homeopathic Specialist Dr. Victoria Goldsten says it begins to work in multiple ways.
"When its topical use does get bsorbed into the bloodstream from the skin, and also when you inhale the oils it crosses the blood brain barrier and actually there's a therapeutic effect just from inhaling it.", says Dr. Goldsten.
Before starting a treatment like this, it is very important to first communicate with your primary doctor and your oncologist.