Senior citizens don’t need reminding that with age comes a whole host of health struggles. While coping with them can usually include pain medications and vitamins, aromatherapy can be a great asset in helping with another type of serious ailment: mental health problems.
The CDC reports that seniors are a vulnerable population for mental illness and can be dealing with everything from anxiety to more serious dissociative disorders. Anyone who is suffering from a mental illness should seek professional medical attention, but seniors may find aromatherapy to be a pleasant and useful tool that can go along with counseling.
1. Aromatherapy can help with anxiety.
Essential oils have been shown to help reduce anxiety in individuals who experience moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. Relaxing scents have been shown to help individuals control the body’s natural anxiety response by convincing your brain you are in a safe and calming environment. Lavender in particular has been shown to be extremely beneficial for anxiety and rest.
2. It can help you get your sleep back.
One of the most common side effects of mental illness can be a disruption in one’s natural sleep pattern. Seniors also tend to experience a loss in sleep due to things like joint pain and breathing problems, making this yet another obstacle to a good night’s rest.
Essential oils have been shown to help people sleep and improve the quality of that sleep. Aromatherapy has been used to relax individuals throughout history, and this works in a similar way. Calming scents can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, two things that tend to go up when one is anxious. This biological effect can give seniors the boost they need to relax and fall asleep.
3. Reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Aromatherapy has been proven to help reduce some of the negative biological effects on anxiety, like elevated heart rate and blood pressure. This can reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart attack, which is something that can be particularly helpful for seniors.
Managing your anxiety is an important aspect of managing your health, and Aromatherapy is a great tool to help you do that because of this physical relaxation effect it can provide.
4. It’s not another medication.
Many seniors are already taking several different medications on a daily basis. One of the most difficult aspects of that routine is making sure you and your doctor understand how all of your different medications are working together.
While anxiolytics and antidepressants can be great options for some patients, they can also have a variety of side-effects and interactions with other medications you may already be taking. Aromatherapy can provide natural relief for anxiety without causing concern over medical interactions. That said, you shouldn’t solely rely on it to manage a mental illness.
5. It can help you manage pain.
Aromatherapy has been proven to be effective in helping people manage chronic pain and joint pain, two things that many seniors are very familiar with. Essential oils like lavender work to relax your muscles and your breathing, allowing you to release some of the built-up tension you’re carrying around due to stress.
Senior’s may already be taking pain medication, but essential oils can provide additional pain relief without the need to increase medication.
Hopefully this has given you a better idea of how aromatherapy can help seniors. It has great potential for both mental and physical health benefits and has been proven successful in both categories.
Seniors who are interested in aromatherapy should consider contacting a specialist or friend who is knowledgeable about essential oils to find the right one for them. Most importantly, seniors should use aromatherapy in addition to their other medications and treatment options that they set with their doctors.
Used this way, aromatherapy can really improve your overall quality of life.
Indigo loves essential oils!!
Shop our essential oils and variety of diffusers within the retail selection at both Benton Park and Maplewood locations or add aromatherapy to your massage treatment.