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Aromatherapy & Memory

How to use Aromatherapy to help with memory loss.

As famously quoted by Shakespeare in Hamlet, “Rosemary for Remembrance; pray, love, remember….”, our memories define our personalities. They can offer us guidance when faced with big decisions, produce unconscious smiles or laughter and even cause spontaneous tears of joy! They are an essential component of our personal well-being and any dysfunction to our memory can cause extensive stress and worry.

Aging and Memory

When we consider memory problems we generally associate such thoughts with diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, so when we begin to develop a mild kind of forgetfulness it is not unusual for us to become nervous when we begin to draw our own conclusions. Researchers such as Nikhil Swaminathan (2007), have shown however that memories can begin to fade somewhat with age, so hold off that panic button until you are aware of the facts! Memory lapses in older adults are a normal and expected sign of aging and are not an ominous sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Even in severe cases of memory loss, often the cause can be attributed to medication/naturopathic remedies or alternatively to the level of stress the individual is experiencing during this period of time. In cases such as these simply removing the medication, altering the remedies being used or lessening the levels of stress can treat and repair the memory so it can continue to function at its best.

Symptoms of Normal Forgetfulness and Signs of Cognitive Impairment

Just as our physical abilities begin to slow down with age, so do our memories. We may find ourselves walking into a room and wondering why we went there, or find we loose our keys or our glasses case more than usual. We often forget the name of a person we haven’t seen for some time and on the odd occasion forget about that dental appointment; ..although the latter date may have been conveniently misplaced!

It is unlikely that these symptoms will correlate with anything other than age-related factors. It is perhaps when you notice this occasional forgetfulness to be having a bigger impact upon your life that you should seek out a professional opinion. Forgetting things that are no longer trivial for example, directions to a friend’s house, when your child”s birthday is or where you parked your car are all relatively important pieces of information and being unable to remember them will no doubt cause more upset.

Improving your Memory

There are simple methods we can adopt in our attempt at combating the effects age will have upon our memory. Eating a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis will not only keep us fit and agile but also promote blood flow to the brain, increasing the level of brain chemicals that are needed to support our complex cognitive systems.

Have that afternoon nap! Tiredness can make it difficult to think and to concentrate upon tasks in hand. Alike our bodies our brain needs to rest too, so sleep often and sleep well. Remove the stressors from life. Take classes in relaxation, try yoga for example or book in for that stress-free massage you always promised yourself. Cut back on the bad habits, for example smoking or drinking heavily; you wont only increase your expected life span but will significantly reduce your risk of being affected by vascular disorders.

Aromatherapy is extremely useful in compensating for any dysfunction in the memory as it can play a role in not just the physical and emotional well-being of the individual but also the person’s mental well-being. An aroma can not only affect a person’s mood but can also prove powerful enough to evoke memories, hopefully ones we are happy to recall. Rosemary in particular has been found to increase blood circulation around the body and to the brain, providing an excellent stimulant that enables the memory to function more sharply. It is also an aroma that can help relieve stress and relax worries. (V.A. Worwood, 1991)

Essential Oil Recipes that can aid memory and other cognitive functions

A good way to surround yourself with the aromas of essential oil is to use a diffuser. (In this instance I would recommend a battery or electric powered diffuser as these types are considered much safer than the candle variety.)

Place 3 drops of Rosemary essential oil and 3 drops of Basil essential oil in the diffuser and allow the aromas to stimulate your mind whilst you complete any daily chores. If this blend is a little too stimulating for you, then replace the basil with 5 drops of Lavender essential oil and allow the aromas to relieve any worries.

Alternatively, by adding 18 drops of lavender essential oil and 12 drops of rosemary essential oil to 30mls of Evening Primrose oil, you not only create an oil for your hands which works at rejuvenating your skins cells, but also ensures your mind is getting the full benefits of these calming, stimulating oils.

It is vital to exercise as well as rest & relax; it is the last thing you want to do when you are tired, but exercise helps to build up your energy store and fight off fatigue.

Energy Blend

Initially blend 20 drops of Grapefruit essential oil with 15 drops of Cypress essential oil and 10 drops of Geranium essential oil.

Add 10 drops of this blend to 10 mls of Evening Primrose Oil, and use the latter blend to rub onto your body to help start building your energy supply.

Morning Energizer

Add 2 drops of Grapefruit essential oil with 1 drop of Rosemary essential oil to a dry facecloth. Rub all over your body, then step into the warm shower and rinse well.

Blend for a Restful Sleep

Blend 10 drops of Valerian essential oil with 10 drops of Vetivert essential oil and 10 drops of Geranium essential oil. Add a few drops of the blend to a tissue and place either inside your pillowcase or in a diffuser for a good zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

*This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.*

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