The Benefits of Aromatherapy for Seniors

Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that involves essential oils and other aromatic plant properties. They are used for improving a person’s mood or health.  Aromatherapy can help seniors with a vast number of illnesses and discomforts, such as symptoms related to dementia, circulation, respiratory infections, arthritis, and it can also help promote skin regeneration. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of aromatherapy in seniors, the variety of scents, and ways to receive this relaxation aid.

Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to treat symptoms of illnesses or just to help your aging loved one relax and calm down after a hard day. There are many ways to receive aromatherapy, such as massages, oils, candles, and baths or showers.

It can, of course, relieve stress but what else could it do for you or your elderly family member? Almost every essential oil you can buy has ingredients that help fight “bad” bacteria. The antibacterial properties help the growth of white blood cells in our body. In doing so, it helps to prevent the user from getting infections or other illnesses in the first place. As we age our body’s immune system weakens, making it more susceptible to infections or viruses. Aromatherapy helps to fill in the gaps that our immune system makes as we get older.

Lavender

Lavender has been associated with feelings of contentment, improved memory, increased cognitive performance as well as overall mood. It has shown other calming and mild sedative effects. Just like the rosemary aromatherapy, lavender has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels. It has soothing properties and is believed to promote deep sleep in men and women. Lavender aromatherapy can help your elderly family member relax, have better cognitive performance, and help them fall asleep faster and have a deep, peaceful sleep.

Rosemary

Rosemary has been related with feelings of contentment. It has also been shown to have optimistic effects on mood and performance. Rosemary has been proven to help with memory which would benefit those seniors with dementia or even those with slight memory loss.  It has seemed to have the ability to decrease cortisol levels. Rosemary aromatherapy can be a good selection to de-stress after the day and reduce the symptoms of memory loss.

Peppermint

Peppermint aromatherapy is believed to enhance mental performance and boost the mood by enhancing feelings of happiness, which can provide a delightful pick-me-up for stressed out and anxious seniors. It can also help boost your energy levels, regulate your digestive tract, reduce inflammation, and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Rose

Rose aromatherapy can promote skin cell regeneration. Rose is an exceptional beauty tool that improves seniors’ complexions and will help to soften lines and wrinkles on the facial skin. Rose is frequently acclaimed by aroma therapists for its anti-depressant and mood-boosting assets. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which can make it extremely useful in disinfecting and treating minor scrapes and cuts. It contains a natural organic compound called farnesol that helps to kill bacteria.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus aromatherapy has quite a few health advantages, not only is it an antiseptic, but it aids in blood circulation and blood oxygenation, it calms and rejuvenates the mind, and guards against respiratory infections such as colds and flus. It can also be used for treating headaches and as a natural treatment for sinusitis.

Lemon

Research has indicated that lemon aromatherapy may have anti-depressant type effects, making it an excellent natural choice for those who are stressed, tensed or suffering from anxiety.  Lemon aromatherapy can be used for mood enhancement, help lower blood pressure, reduce the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles, and it can sharpen memory and increase concentration.

If you or your elderly family member are having trouble relaxing or would like a natural remedy for illnesses, you should consider educating yourself further on the topic of Aromatherapy. While aromatherapy is a natural treatment, you must be careful with its use. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind:

  • Always ask your doctor before starting any aromatherapy with elderly patients as it may interact with a medication or illnesses.
  • When giving an aromatherapy massage, always be gentle. A senior’s skin is very thin and can tear easy.
  • Use aromatherapy in moderation because too much of certain oils can be toxic.
  • As with any other medications or over the counter medicine, pay careful attention to any changes in skin color or condition.  Also notice if the person has any new complaints that could be associated with the oils.
  • Certain oils can be irritating to the skin, so extra care should be given with the first and subsequent applications.  You can also dilute the mixture more than you would for a younger individual.  Common irritants include: Peppermint, Basil, Cinnamon, Ginger, Wintergreen and Pine.
  • Keep oils put away in a safe place when using them with someone forgetful or confused.  They could accidently mistake them for a medication to be ingested.

Aromatherapy has many benefits for seniors, including physical improvements, mental clarity, and appearance.  It is important that you know which oils provide which benefits and pay attention to any possible side effects. When unsure always consult with your family doctor first.

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