Essentials oils have long been used by ancient cultures to cure a broad spectrum of maladies, both of the body and mind (see Aromatherapy and Essential Oils - Fact or Fad?). But in recent years, the Integrative Health Community has come to value the range of benefits that essential oils can offer. While the role of these oils has been well studied on its effects concerning disease and ailments of the body, it's only recently that scientific attention has focused on the action of essential oils on the aging of the mind or other neurological disorders.
Using essential oils with aromatherapy
The first mention of the notion of "aromatherapy" was in 1910 when the French chemist Gattefossé accidentally discovered that lavender essential oil notably affected the healing of burns. Since then, the role of essential oils has been studied by the scientific community looking at the role of these oils in healing or disease prevention.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy refers to the use of highly concentrated and purified plant oils used to improve physical and psychological well-being by possibly preventing disease or to improve mood. The aroma of essential oils alone has been shown to directly affect mood and behavior, but the term aromatherapy is much broader in scope as it also refers to the therapeutic (medicinal) application of aromatic substances to promote holistic healing or wellness.
Methods of aromatherapy
There are several ways to use aromatherapy. Diffusers are effective in ejecting essential oils into the air, but simply rubbing essential oils directly onto the skin allows absorption into the bloodstream as does just inhaling the essential oils.
Essential oils that may combat dementia
The research into essential oils has increased recently as healthcare practitioners are rediscovering the health benefits of essential oils. Six oils have been shown to provide sensory stimulation to individuals suffering from Alzheimer and other forms of dementia. These oils are:
- Lavender - one of the most comprehensively studied oils, Lavender has shown to help reduce anxiety and restoring balance to volatile emotions. It may also have some antidepressant qualities and promotes improved sleep.
- Rosemary - recent studies suggest that Rosemary may improve cognitive function (speed and accuracy). One of the ingredients found in Rosemary has shown higher brain performance as well as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant effects on the body.
- Lemon Balm - studies have shown this essential oil helps to calm and relax those who inhale or rub it on their skin. It also may provide relief from anxiety and insomnia.
- Ylang ylang - this essential oil seems to be effective in relieving depression and promoting good sleep. This might also be good for those care-givers who take care of dementia patients.
- Bergamot - research has shown that this oil is effective in relieving anxiety, agitation, stress and mild depression.
- Peppermint - this essential oil seems to be a mind and body energizer working to calm "frayed" nerves.
Recently, ARIIX released four blends of essential oils (See PRIIME Essential Oils for a full review) that contain blends of some of the most effective essential oils that include the ones mentioned above. These blends are Calm (which contains Bergamot), Escape (which contains Lavender and Peppermint), Sentry (which contains Cinnamon, clove, tea tree) and Ice (which contains Peppermint and other oils).