The Benefits of Aromatherapy for Memory Care
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries for its healing properties. It uses aromatic plant extracts for the improvement of physical, spiritual, and psychological well-being. The health benefits of aromatherapy have been packed with evidence for its acceptable practices. It includes the cognitive function to boost memory and improve moods, especially for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy, also called essential oil therapy, serves as a complementary therapy and alternative medicine. It is proven to treat various disorders and reduce anxiety, insomnia, and depression. The essential oils from plants, trees, herbs, and flowers that form aromatherapy are used as healing for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia to improve memory.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, it is defined as both art and science, combined with the medical professionals’ expert knowledge behind it. Although aromatherapy has been present since ancient civilizations, its modern name for medical treatment was initially started by Rene Maurice Gattefosse in 1937. A French chemist who wrote a book stated aromatherapy as treatment.
Benefits of Aromatherapy for Memory Care
Memory loss can be alarming. If not monitored well, it can affect one’s physical and psychological health in many ways. The good thing is that aromatherapy and essential oils have acceptable practices to improve brain function and reduce memory loss.
As one grows older, the increase of Alzheimer’s or dementia rises too. It is associated with the loss of short-term memory at the early stages. It might involve forgetting where you put things immediately and even a family member’s name. At its worst, it can result in long-term memory loss called amnesia.
Aromatherapy works by stimulating olfactory receptors that regulate emotions and relieve anxiety and depression symptoms among patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is either inhaled or applied directly to the skin. The use of essential oils also gives one a sense of calmness.
Aside from relieving symptoms linked to memory intrusion, aromatherapy can also promote cognitive functions such as learning, thinking, and problem-solving. Studies show that the “aroma” or the scent of essential oils help improve and encourage such functions.
Best Essential Oils to Help Improve Memory
As the number of patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia increases, there is an increasing demand for proof of essential oils’ effectiveness. Recent findings show that these certain essential oils help to improve anyone’s quality of life. It is also said to enhance mental alertness and memory function. Various essential oils to help boost ones memory are available in drugstores and online. Some of them are:
- Peppermint: Improves long term memory and calms the nerves. It can enhance the ability of reasoning, concept formation, alertness, and problem-solving. It is inhaled or used as an air diffuser. Peppermint can also help to improve restful sleep and reduce tension.
- Lavender: It is used for its calming property. Lavender scent produces a crucial memory performance enhancement and helps one focus. Lavender oils can ease anxiety, promote calmness, and stimulate the brain for better functioning.
- Rosemary: Known to help balance and strengthen memory, Rosemary prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical relevant for thinking and concentration.
- Bergamot: It is a citrus scent used in aromatherapy to elevate mood and alleviate stress. It also regulates good memory and thinking.
- Lemon Balm: Also from the mint family. It is traditionally used to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Ginger: Ginger oil from the rhizome has a strong aroma. It is traditionally used for cognitive enhancement and can protect against brain damage. It is useful to reduce motion sickness. The intake of ginger can help in the brainpower of attention, the accuracy of attention, speed, and quality of memory.
- Frankincense: According to pharmacological studies, it has materials that help maintain a good memory. It improves the retention of motor memory for seniors. It also reduces the accumulation of fluid in the brain called brain edema.
Use of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy and essential oils are commonly used as an inhaler and for topical application to the skin. Great care should be taken when administering aromatherapy products. Bath oils, facial oils, and massage oils are products that suppress such essential oils and are used for aromatherapy. Also, essential oils are combined with water for the best results. Essential oils see various product usage, such as:
- Steam inhalation
- Body oils and creams for massage
- Aromatic spritzers
- Bathing salts
- Hot and cold compresses
- Clay masks
Best methods for using essential oils suitable for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia:
- Massage: Massages relax and improve blood circulation and muscle tone. It is essential to the body’s immune system because of its therapeutic benefits through the use of essential oils.
- Direct Inhalation: 2 to 3 drops of essential oils through tissue or by hand application directly to the nose is excellent for its relaxing effect.
- Bath: Best practice to relieve stress and promote healing for skin conditions. Add 8-10 drops of essential oils to your bathtub full of water.
- Compress: Add 2-5 drops of essential oils to a basin of warm or cold water. Soak a damp towel and rub it gently on your skin.
- Foot Bath: A massaging foot bath is perfect for releasing the tiredness of your feet. It can promote energy and relaxation. Add 2-4 drops of oils to the basin for a few minutes and pat dry.