Aromatherapy is a natural and holistic tool that provides a wealth of benefits for seniors and individuals of all ages. Increasingly popular over the past few years, aromatherapy is easy to incorporate into a daily care routine and can be used to address many areas of your life. There are a wide variety of essential oils to choose from, all with different mood-boosting benefits.
Aromatherapy works by using the highly concentrated molecules distilled from the seeds, roots, leaves and flowers of plants. These oils interact with the body's chemistry to create therapeutic effects. Aromatherapy signals parts of the brain that control the mood, memory and emotions in a positive light.
Aromatherapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It can improve sleep, reduce anxiety and depression levels, improve memory and reduce difficult behaviors. While it's best to check with a physician before adding any medicinal-type product to your routine, most aromatherapy scents are safe for many users.
Essential oils come in many forms, including massage oils, bath oil and shower gel and regular oils. Some aromatherapy oils even come in a spray form for use on your pillow when you go to bed at night. Each oil has its own unique scent with different benefits.
Lavender. Use lavender to promote feelings of contentment, increase cognitive function and to improve your mood. It has also been known to enhance sleep and deliver a mild sedative effect.
Peppermint. Enhance feelings of happiness and alleviate stress with peppermint. It also helps boost energy level, regulate the digestive tract and reduce inflammation.
Rosemary. Rosemary has an optimistic effect on moods and performance. It may also help improve memory, which makes it beneficial for seniors with even slight memory loss.
Eucalyptus. Frequently used as an antiseptic, eucalyptus aids in blood circulation and helps calm the nerves. It is often used to guard against respiratory infections, including cold and flu.
Lemon. Like most citrus scents, lemon helps restore energy and provides an uplifting effect.
When trying aromatherapy, consider the following tips
Use aromatherapy in moderation to prevent interaction with medications
Be aware of the effects of each oil before trying it
Use care when applying to the skin to prevent rashes and other outbreaks
Mention to your doctor or your medication management team at the Gardens at Barry Road assisted living community if you're using essential oils. Providers can help you understand what oils may not be safe for you. Once deemed safe, add essential oils to your daily routine, which might also include other healthy activities such as games in the activity center or walks on the landscaped grounds.