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The benefits of aromatherapy and reflexology for those with dementia

Jun 23, 2016 | Discover Our Blog, Discover Our Dementia Blog

Lady doing reflexology

The use of holistic therapies has become increasingly common over the last decade and they have been applied to a range of health conditions, including dementia.

Aromatherapy and reflexology in particular can play a significant role for both the caregiver and the care recipient. While they cannot, and should not, replace conventional treatment options, they can we used alongside to help reduce the symptoms commonly associated with dementia.

Daniela Brusikova, SweetTree Complementary Therapist, explains more: “Complementary therapies can be useful in helping to reduce some of the symptoms that are closely linked with dementia. They can help with a range of issues, from easing stress and anxiety, to helping with mood swings and memory issues, and overall increasing quality of life.”

What is reflexology?

This technique sees pressure applied to different areas on the feet and hands. These reflex points are related to different organs in the body and applying pressure can have an effect on the associated organ.

Reflexology can be useful for a range of issues, including reducing the effects of stress, relieving pain, eliminating waste products and toxins from the body, and encouraging circulation and nerve stimulation. It can also assist the body in maintaining a balanced state and encourage the body to heal.

Top tip: one of the most common mistakes that people make with reflexology self-treatment is to work too heavily on the different areas, or to work too long on them.

What is aromatherapy?

This form of therapy uses essential oils extracted from plants to improve physical and mental health. The oils can be used in a number ways, including: added to bath water, used in an inhalator, used as a room fragrance, added to skin lotion or blended with oils for massage.

Most essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin without being diluted first in a carrier substance, such as vegetable or nut oil, at no greater concentration than 2-3%.

Essential oils and the issues they may help with

• Restlessness/poor sleep: Lavender, Marjoram S., Chamomile R., Neroli, Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Sandalwood
• Loss of appetite: Cardamom, Chamomile, Basil, Lemon, Ginger
• Anger, Aggression, Irritability: Lavender, Sandalwood, Chamomile, Peppermint
• Anxiety, Agitation: Neroli, Lavender, Bergamot, Geranium, Melissa, Frankincense, Sandalwood
• Depression: Bergamot, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Orange, Rose, Ylang Ylang, R. Chamomile, Sandalwood
• Apathy: Rose, Peppermint, Clary Sage, Lemon, Sweet Orange
• Memory: Rosemary, Spanish Sage, Lemon, Mellissa1

For more information about holistic and complementary therapies, and dementia care available at SweetTree, please contact the team on 020 7644 9554.