Aromatherapy For Seniors
Can Aromatherapy really help? The importance of holistic therapies for dementia, among other health concerns for seniors has come to the forefront as an important subject. In a study completed by the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology they examined the curative effects of aromatherapy on dementia in 28 elderly people, 17 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
This study concentrated on four specific essential oils, Lemon and Rosemary in the morning and Lavender and Orange in the evening. The morning mix activates the sympathetic nervous system to strengthen concentration and memory, whereas the lavender and orange activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the nerves. For this study they diffused oils in the rooms of the participants.
So what were the results? Aromatherapy was found to improve the ability to form abstract ideas. In addition, some improvement in movement was noted and they found improved cognitive functioning. See study listed above for full results and research.
What oils should be used and why?
Lavender- promotes feelings of relaxation (good to help with sleeping and through the day for anxiety)
Orange-promotes feelings of joy and comfort (good for an energy boost and to help with depressed feelings)
Lemon and Rosemary- promotes focus and concentration (Good to help with memory function)
Peppermint- promotes feelings of lightheartedness (Good for moodiness)
Ginger- promotes sense of well being (good for digestion and is anti-inflammatory for joint pain)
Essential Oils are a natural way to treat symptoms including insomnia, digestive issues anxiety and joint pain. They can be used in different ways from diffusing them, to applying them topically and ingesting them (typically mixed in with water or tea). You always want to use a carrier oil if you apply directly to the skin. Try coconut oil, joba joba oil or even mix into lotion.
“It doesn’t get much greener than essential oils: when used correctly, they are among Mother Nature’s most potent remedies.”
― Amy Leigh Mercree, Essential Oils Handbook: Recipes for Natural Living
Where should you get oils? You want to be very careful using Essential oils, they need to be high quality, or they will not be therapeutic. I personally use Doterra, YoungLiving is another high quality essential oil retailer. Both of these companies make Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Oils and many of them can be ingested, like the ginger, for digestion and anti-inflammatory benefits. There are typically 250 drops a bottle and you usually use 3-4 drops in the diffuser at a time. So, it can be well worth the cost.
So, think about adding Aromatherapy to your routine or a loved ones routine. It’s a good smelling, natural way to assist yourself.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
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