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Aromatherapy for the Golden Years

The senior years have always been considered “the golden years”, but let’s face it, it’s no fun getting old. From about the mid-fifties onward the body seems to start breaking down. Creaks are felt in the joints, eyesight grows fuzzy, fat appears where it once never was, things sag, and the mind just isn’t as sharp, nor is the hearing. With proper diet and exercise, we can slow the aging process a little, but sooner or later, we all succumb. We can go either downhill gracefully or we can go kicking and screaming; either way, we can enjoy the delights of aromatherapy as we go … Essential oils, whether burned in an aroma lamp, placed on a tissue by our pillow as we sleep, bathed in or added to a hand cream or massage oil, can play a supportive part in holding onto our wits and health as we age. The scent of the oil as it hits the limbic system can spark memory, revitalize, stimulate or sedate, and balance the mind and body in an aging person.

Sometimes senior citizens begin to lose their joy in life. You hear them say that everything becomes such hard work and such a bother. It is far easier to sit and moan about one’s losses and inabilities than to make and effort to go out and embrace life. The will and desire to join in community, to reach out, to participate just becomes an impossibly difficult exertion of energy. They have no interest anymore and apathy sets in. Essential oils can help with supporting the emotional component of apathy by buoying up the spirit and rejuvenating the mind. Some of these oils are:bergamot, clary sage, jasmine, rosemary, peppermint and patchouli.

Lack of attention or inattentiveness also creeps up in the elderly. The mind wanders, thoughts become jumbled and concentration goes out the proverbial window. It seems as if pockets of memory that are stored in the brain become lost for a while, then resurface later, totally intact. It has been well documented that essential oils can increase concentration and help focus the mind. Either diffused in an aroma lamp, inhaled on a tissue or added to a face cream where the scent can continuously waft by the nasal passages, these oils will bring more clarity and focused attention to the task at hand. Some of these oils include: rosemary, peppermint, lemon, basil, litsea, grapefruit, orange and eucalyptus.

Confidence is another factor that can become challenged later in life. A once fit and strong person can become frail and unstable both physically and mentally. They can become afraid of tasks that were once natural and easy. Things like driving a car, which they had done for the last 50 years, can now seem daunting. Travel of any kind can be disruptive and frightening because they feel they are leaving the safety of a know existence and venturing into the unknown. Even shopping at the grocery store can seem like an overwhelming job. Essential oils will not suddenly inspire the elderly to be brave and undaunted, but the oils will help boost confidence and support the emotional fear associated with the challenges. Some oils for confidence are: jasmine, sandalwood, frankincense, ginger, pine, and neroli.

Digestion can also be disrupted as one ages. Essential oils can be massaged in a carrier oil over the abdomen in a clockwise direction to help assimilate food and improve metabolic functioning. Some oils that are good for digestion are: ginger, anise, fennel, chamomile, thyme, basil, cardamom, and hyssop.

Circulation can be a problem in the golden age. Arteries become clogged and dense, blood flow becomes restricted. Massage can be an amazing aid to get blood flowing more efficiently and essential oils can assist. Of course massage cannot take the place of recommended medications, but it can support these drugs and increase their efficacy. Oils to help lower blood pressure are: hyssop, clary sage, garlic, lavender, chamomile, melissa and ylang ylang. Oils that assist in hypo-tension, and increase blood pressure are: *cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, pine, black pepper and hyssop*. Hyssop has the ability to regulate blood pressure and balance it so that if it is high, hyssop will lower it; if low, hyssop can raise it and normalize circulation.

Essential oils can also be there in the last moments of a life. Burning oils in an aroma lamp at the time of transition can increase spiritual awareness and bring a sense of peace and calm to the atmosphere. Meditative oils such as frankincense, rose, neroli, patchouli, chamomile, melissa, jasmine and angelica seed can assist in relaxing the mind and opening the inner eye to the next level of existence. These oils help in letting go of this mundane world, allowing acceptance and resignation to the greater energies. These oils also assist those left behind, bringing comfort and hope in a sad, grief-filled time.

So, since we will all grow old, why fight the inevitable? Why not just light a little essential oil in an aroma lamp, sit back and grow old gracefully, delighting in the wonderful scents of essential oils?