Monday, December 11, 2017

THE GIFT OF AWARENESS AND EMPOWERMENT

Every Christmas, I sit down and make my list of people that I am gifting to. Of course there is always the kiddos, grand kiddos and in my case the great grand kiddo, special friends and those wonderful service workers that make each and every day so pleasant with their friendly hello's and extra help doing something more than their job description calls for.... you know....trash guys, bug sprayer, mailman, ups driver, the handyman. You probably have the same kind of list but if your list includes a caregiver, here's my suggestion ... consider giving them a Gift of Awareness. That will be a gift that keeps on giving.

On a daily basis I come in contact with the caregivers that take care of some of my neighbors.
More times than not, they are family members but pretty often, it's a friend of the family, a home care agency or an non-relation live in caregiver but always .... I see the many ways they go above and beyond in their care-giving. I think the harshest thing I recognize in all of them is their outpouring of love and concern and often, fear of not knowing something they think they should.

Jim and Helen Whitworth are not doctors ... at least neither has that sheepskin hanging on their wall but both have walked the walk of the Care Giver and both do a heck of a job talking the talk. While their individual journeys are somewhat different, their first hand experiences have set them on a mission to help both professionals and family members learn how to make this precious time more comforting and less stressful for both caregiver and their charges. Their passion resulted in 2 Award Winning Books, (A Caregivers Guide to Lewy Body Dementia and Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia) an Award Winning Blog, (The Lewy Body Rollercoaster)  a highly recognized caregiver training manual ( Riding a Rollercoaster with Lewy Body Dementia) and another book soon to be released.

Jim's first wife passed away in early 2003.  Annie, died with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). At the time, most people, including the medical community, knew very little about LBD. In the Whitworth's live seminars, Jim tells of the mounting frustrations with the medical community and is often heard saying, " I tried to tell the doctors about symptoms that didn't match Alzheimer's and DID match what I'd researched about LBD but they said, 'Never heard of it!' and ignored me."  That frustration led to his determination to make increasing awareness about LBD, and its interplay with other dementia his mission. Jim is an avid reader and meticulous researcher. He was an early member of LBD online support groups and in late 2003, partnered with four other caregivers to co-found the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA). As its first president, he helped the organization start growing towards its present highly recognized status.

Helen does have a medical background as a nurse and educator. She dealt with patients with a variety of disorders and their family members but when her husband was diagnosed with cancer, she experienced care-giving from a family point of view. Soon after he passed away, she retired from the nursing profession to spend a good part of the following five years as caregiver for three more family members (one at a time), including a sister with Parkinson's.

They have been through a myriad of physicians, care facilities, in home aid and alternative options. They have seen the good, the bad and the horrific ugly yet their research, trial and error and determination to create optimal care and comfort has provided them with effective tools they now share with other caregivers.

I've had the honor and pleasure of working with Jim and Helen for the past 3 years and can tell you these are two people filled with compassion. They have and will always make themselves available to speak to caregivers and are diligent in answering e-mails, letters and phone calls from the many they have met on this journey. They generously give of their time to care facilities, in home agencies and caregiver groups around the US to raise awareness of LBD, it's interplay with other diseases and disorders and alternative therapies for dementia care.

Although Helen has a medical background, neither she nor Jim speaks with medical authority. Rather, they both bring you a well-informed caregiver's point of view. 

In my estimation, their trio of books are the gift of Awareness and Empowerment for any caregiver so if you are looking for that perfect gift for the caregiver in your life or to gift yourself as a caregiver, consider this:



My wish for each of you is a Joy filled Christmas and Peace of Mind in the coming year.

Namaste'

Feel free to contact me at regina@lbdtools.com with any question you may have. If you are using the form on the lbdtools.com website, please, remember to include your name, phone or email preference. Without that, I am unable to reply.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR: STRESS REDUCTION, IMPROVED SLEEP, MEMORY & COGNITION

Believe it or not, certain kinds of stress can be very beneficial. According to experts, stress is a burst of energy that basically advises you on what to do. In small doses, stress has many advantages. For instance, stress can help you meet daily challenges and motivate you to reach your goals. In fact, stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. It can even boost memory.

In addition, there are various health benefits with a little bit of stress. Researchers believe that some stress can help to support the immune system. For instance, stress can improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. In one study, individuals who experienced moderate levels of stress before surgery were able to recover faster than individuals who had low or high levels of stress.

Stress can also be a vital warning system, producing the fight-or-flight response. When the brain perceives some kind of stress, it starts flooding the body with chemicals like epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. This creates a variety of reactions such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Plus, the senses suddenly have a laser-like focus so you can avoid physically stressful situations — such as jumping away from a moving car — and be safe.

Stress is key for survival, but too much stress can be detrimental. The kind of stress that dementia patients and their caregivers experience is Emotional Stress and that kind of stress stays around for weeks or months weakening the immune system and causing high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. In particular, too much epinephrine can be harmful to your heart and elevated levels of cotosol can cause adrenal fatigue leading to even more devastating physical damage. It can change the arteries and how their cells are able to regenerate.

Unchecked, the body will fall into a chronic condition, maintaining high levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol and Chronic stress can lead to — or worsen — serious health problems, including high blood pressure, autoimmune illnesses, digestive issues, while creating a chronic sense of being overwhelmed that exacerbates depression and anxiety.

Stress is an inevitable part of life. I find it amusing when someone says, “You can manage your stress” when in reality, the ONLY thing you can “manage” is to CHANGE the way you respond to it and avoid or change some of the situations that create negative stress.

Dementia patients, especially in the early period, experience stress related to fear of what is happening to them, memory loss, confusion and extreme levels of frustration and anger that can lead to anxiety, agitation and sometimes result in physical violence.

As a caregiver, your emotional heart goes out to them. There is a certain feeling of helplessness as you watch them suffer with these issues and the limited ability to express themselves. In reality, you can do more than you think you can.

Something you as a Caregiver need to take into consideration … if YOU are stressed, your patient / charge WILL become stressed even more. Your emotional, physical and spiritual connection with your patient / charge is unique and through that connection alone they will feed off of your energy and behavior. You may think you hide stress well … WRONG! It’s a heightened 6th sense in caregivers and patients and they will sense that kind of energy emanating from you immediately just as you do when they cannot communicate to you what is wrong.

So … what to do?

In this article, we will explore in depth, those Essential Oils that have been shown to have the greatest impact and provide exceptional results for stress reduction, improved memory and cognition for you AND your charge / patient. Yep, you can, pardon the expression, … “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak by providing relief for your patient / charge while ALSO taking care of YOU.

As a Caregiver, changing the way YOU respond to stress is something you are able to do on an intellectual level but what about your charge / patient? Expecting them to consciously change anything with lasting results is well beyond reality however; by you incorporating Aromatherapy with Touch Therapy into their daily routine can help them achieve those changes

My last blog talked about Touch Therapy and Massage therapy, their extreme benefits for both you and your patient. What I am covering in depth here are those Essential Oils that have found to be far more beneficial to dementia patients. This blog covers the specific selection of oils, their properties and relation to dementia issues and how best to use them.

BEST APPLICATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS:
There are three applications for essential oils, topical (to the skin), aromatic (Aromatherapy) and ingesting. For this issue, we are working with topical and aromatic applications.

TOPICAL APPLICATION:
Hand massage, (or Touch Therapy as discussed in my last article) is highly effective for both you and your charge. The massage along is relaxing for both of you but using specific essential oils for the massage can make a huge difference in lasting effects.

A 1998 study in Australia found that when patients in a dementia day-care facility received a 10 to 15 min hand-massage with a mix of essential oils, the patients showed significant improvement in all areas measured.

These areas included;
  • the patients’ feelings of well-being
  • increased alertness
  • decreased aggression and anxiety
  • improved sleeping patterns

(Kilstoff and Chenoweth, 1998).

AROMATHERAPY:
Aromatherapy is best performed with a misting diffuser. There are a multitude of them on the market and each has its own bells or whistles however they can also be pricy and worthless.

My recommendation is the GreenAir©SpaVapor.

GreenAir© now makes 3 SpaVapors, the difference being the automated run time and the square footage they cover. These diffusers start around $22.00 to $45.00. I have four in my 1,700sq. ft home. Each of mine provides coverage for about 400sq ft and I have run them pretty much daily for the past 5 years. My 3 recommendations cover a Good / Better / Best scenario. In my estimation these are an excellent buy for the money. I’ve included links at the end of this article to the three I mentioned in the event you want to investigate their individual properties and compare them before making any purchase. Also, Amazon’s pricing is a bit below other suppliers.

WHY ESSENTIAL OILS WORK:
When essential oils are put into a diffuser, the oil is broken up into miniscule drops that are transmitted through a mist and disbursed into the air.

The Essential Oils you will want to consider using are those that are highest in sesquiterpenes, the chemical constituent which allows these molecules of oil to cross the blood brain barrier and beyond and Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Here’s why;

The blood-brain barrier is the filtering mechanism between the circulating blood and the brain that prevents certain damaging substances from reaching brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid. A common mis-conception is that all small molecules cross the blood brain barrier. However, an unbelievable 98% of small molecule pharmaceuticals can not cross the blood-brain barrier. (Pardridge; 2009).

Dr. William M. Pardridge, an expert in blood-brain barrier research, determined that “ The development of new drugs for the brain has not kept pace with progress in molecular neurosciences because the majority of new drugs discovered do not cross the blood –brain barrier” The ability to cross this barrier is essential for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders.

The chemical constituent called sesquiterpenes found in some essential oils, are known to be able to go beyond the blood-brain barrier thereby directly interacting with brain cells and unlike many pharmaceuticals, can impact the brain therapeutically. They are in fact known to interact with neurotransmitter receptors, specifically; glycine, dopamine and serotonin receptors. (Wang et al., 2012; Okugawa et al., 2000)

Even if a particular essential oil does not cross the blood-brain barrier, this oil can still affect the brain through activation of the olfactory bulb. Odors and emotions are processed in similar brain structures located in the limbic system.

All of the oils listed below are high in sesquiterpenes however; although these oils suggested are known to have the greatest positive impact, each person will differ in their response so it is important to do a bit of research to see which ones impact your patient / charge in the most positive of ways. 

There are several that, while not containing a high rate of sesquiterpenes, they are recommended because of their beneficial impact and their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

I also want to remind you that not all Essential Oils are alike. The oils I refer to in this blog are of the highest quality and Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Most of these oils recommended have generally been recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption by the FDA (21CFR182.20).

Caution: When using any Essential Oil for topical application (skin contact) it is best to blend it with Fractionated Coconut Oil to prevent possible skin irritation or desensitizing. The recommended blend is 1 drop Essential Oil to 4 or 5 drops Fractionated Coconut Oil.

RECOMMENDED OILS FOR TOPICAL APPLICATION & AROMATHERAPY:
The following 2 oils are not high in sesquiterpenes but are highly recommended for their enhancement and equalizing properties as well as other health benefits.

·       Sandalwood; Sandalwood is a high intensity oil and while it does not register high in sesquiterpenes, it is highly recommended to use with those suffering from dementia. Its aromatic influence helps to calm, harmonizes and balances the emotions, enhances brain function, and improves memory. (Blends well with Frankincense, Lemon, Myrrh and Ylang Ylang)

·       Frankincense; Frankincense is a high intensity oil and while it does not register high in sesquiterpenes, it is highly recommended to use with those suffering from dementia and related disorders. Its aromatic influence helps focus and improve concentration while minimizing distractions. It eases impatience, irritability and restlessness and can enhance spiritual awareness and thought. (Frankincense blends well in particular with Clary Sage, Lemon, Sandalwood, Peppermint but can blend with any oil as an enhancer)

On A Personal Note: Both Sandalwood and Frankincense are fairly pricy. If I were to choose one over the other, it would have to be Frankincense. Every client, and I mean every client I have ever worked with responded positively to Frankincense and the two combinations I found were very well received were Frankincense and Clary Sage or Frankincense and Peppermint. If you want to skip that cup of coffee in the morning and be ready for the day, diffuse Frankincense and Peppermint. It’s AWESOME! As a side note, I wear the Frankincense and Clary Sage combination daily. It keeps me grounded, focused, improves my recall, enhances my thought processes, keeps me calm and fills my heart with such a positive sense of self. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The oils highest in sesquiterpenes are:
·       Ginger: Aside from improving digestion, ginger acts as a soothing agent reducing anxiety. Its aroma can help influence an increase in energy and appetite. (Ginger blends well with Lemon, Rosemary and Frankincense)

·       Myrrh: Myrrh is very soothing to the body. As an anti-inflammatory, Myrrh works directly on the immune and nervous system and may also help improve appetites that are waning. (Myrrh blends well with Frankincense, Lavender and Sandalwood)

·       Vetiver: Has been found to help depression, insomnia, extreme nervousness and stress. (Vetiver blends well with Clary Sage, Lavender, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang)

·       Ylang Ylang: has been found to help slow rapid breathing, aids in balancing the equilibrium, alleviate frustration, balance heart function, reduce infection and eliminate shock. Ylang Ylang has also been used for centuries to stimulate the adrenal glands if fatigued, can bring about a calming and relaxing effect and alleviate anger. ( Ylang Ylang blends well with Lemon, Sandalwood and Vetiver)
If using any of the oils, listed above, solo or blended with another for hand massage, it is also recommended to apply a small amount of this oil over the brain stem area on the back of the neck.

On a Personal Note: Ginger, Coriander, Rosemary, Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint can ALL be used to cook with however….USE EXTREME CAUTION. An EO isn’t like dried spices. Start by using a toothpick and dip it into the bottle then into your food. Taste it before adding any more. I can assure you from my own personal experience, 3 drops of Peppermint in a box of brownie mix will feel like the frozen tundra has just landed in your body. When it comes to using EO’s in cooking…..LESS is more!

Other oils tested and highly recommended for use in dementia sufferers are:
·       Coriander: Coriander is a gentle stimulant for those with low physical energy. It also helps one relax during times of stress and irritability and nervousness. It can also provide a calming effect to those suffering from shock or fear. Regular use may help prevent memory impairment. Use sparingly as Coriander can be stupefying if over done. (Coriander blends well with Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Ginger, Sandalwood and Frankincense)

·       Rosemary: Rosemary has been used in multiple dementia studies around the world and has been found to enhance the quality of memory when inhaled. It also demonstrates a calming relaxing effect. Combining Rosemary and Lavender in a diffuser has been shown to relax and calm while improving memory and provides extended periods of cognition. Combining Rosemary and Peppermint in a diffuser provides a more energetic and stimulating effect while improving memory and recall. (Rosemary blends well with, Peppermint, Lavender, and Frankincense)

·       Lemon: Lemon is invigorating and has been found to have strong anti-stress, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties as well as can improve memory and concentration. I recommend drinking up to 5 drops of lemon oil in a glass of water several times daily. It aids digestion, helps dehydration and excess fluid retention, strengthens the immune system, promotes energy and is highly refreshing. (Lemon blends well with Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang)

·       Clary Sage: Widely used to alleviate depression, Clary Sage is excellent for insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, muscle fatigue and Parkinsons. (Clary Sage blends well with Lemon, Sandalwood and Frankincense

·       Lavender: Lavender has been used over centuries for a variety of ailments however is best known for its calming, anti-depressant properties and is used for restful sleep. When in doubt, use Lavender. Recent studies have shown that combining Rosemary and Lavender in a diffuser will relax and calm while improving memory and provides extended periods of cognition. (Lavender blends well with Clary Sage, Lemon)

·       Peppermint: Peppermint has been used for centuries for a wide variety of ailments from improving Alertness to reducing fevers, eliminating nausea and other digestive issues, muscle aches and headaches. Peppermint is purifying and stimulating to the conscious mind and has been shown to improve memory and mental performance. It can also be used to help with anger, depression, fatigue, and hysteria. (Peppermint blends well with, Rosemary, Lemon and Frankincense)

CAUTION: Use sparingly and with caution if dealing with someone suffering from hypertension / high blood pressure. In this case, diffusing is best.

Coming up next: Meditation: Slowing the Progression of Dementia

I wish you all a most Happy Thanksgiving and hope your holiday is filled with love, joy, hope and peace.
Namaste'

To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form. It is imperative that you include your name, the manner in which you would like to be contacted (email address or phone number). Without that, she is unable to reply to you. 
http://www.lbdtools.com/contact2.php

Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.

For more in depth information about Essential Oils and the health benefits, please click here. https://www.doterra.com/US/en/site/healingthings

If you would like to know how to purchase these oils at wholesale pricing, please contact me here: http://www.lbdtools.com/contact2.php

Feel free to contact me at regina@lbdtools.com with any question you may have. If you are using the form on the lbdtools.com website, please, remember to include your name, phone or email preference. Without that, I am unable to reply.

Good


Better


Best


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TOUCH THERAPY, MASSAGE THERAPY AND ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DEMENTIA

The Human Touch is a powerful thing. Often a touch can be something as simple as placing a comforting hand on a shoulder or another’s hand or, a more powerful touch found in a hug or gentle embrace. For someone with dementia, this is huge.  

The number 1 question I get from caregivers is “What can I do to dispel agitation and anxiety.” While everyone responds differently, you may need to try several things before finding that particular therapy that works best for your charge. There are several basic things I will suggest doing that may well be your key to preventing episodes from occurring but it is important to try first to discover the source of his or her trigger. Consider this exercise much like child-proofing a home.

Anxiety and agitation may be caused by a number of different medical conditions, medication interactions or by any circumstances that worsen the person's ability to think. Ultimately, the person with dementia is biologically experiencing a profound loss of their ability to negotiate new information and stimulus. It is a direct result of the disease.

Situations that may lead to agitation include:
  • Moving to a new residence or nursing home
  • Changes in environment, such as travel, hospitalization or the presence of houseguests
  • Changes in caregiver arrangements
  • Misperceived threats
  • Fear and fatigue resulting from trying to make sense out of a confusing world

There are 5 basic things you will want to do to prevent or reduce agitation:
  • Create a calm environment.
    Remove stressors. This may involve moving the person to a safer or quieter place,      or offering a security object, rest or privacy. Try soothing rituals and limiting caffeine use.
  • Avoid environmental triggers.
    Noise, glare and background distraction (such as having the television on) can act as triggers.
  • Monitor personal comfort.
    Check for pain, hunger, thirst, constipation, full bladder, fatigue, infections and skin irritation. Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature. Be sensitive to fears, misperceived threats and frustration with expressing what is wanted.
  • Simplify tasks and routines.
  • Provide an opportunity for exercise.
    Go for a walk. Garden together. Put on music and dance or paint or draw.

NOTED SUGGESTION: I know this is off the subject of Touch and Massage therapy but creating the calming environment is first and foremost. Research has shown that a combination of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils in a diffuser reduces or eliminates anxiety. Rosemary has been shown to increase cognition while Lavender acts as a calming and soothing agent. Regular daily diffusing helps to create and maintain a calming environment.

Once you have done all you can to ensure creating a calming environment and you are confident there isn’t any medical issue needing your attention yet anxiousness or agitation still persists, Touch Therapy and the use of specific Essential Oils will generally provide immediate relief.
Touch Therapy is our primary focus in this blog today. Touch Therapy is easily learned and incorporated into a daily routine while Massage Therapy should only be performed by a licensed practitioner with knowledge and experience working with dementia’s and the aged. Above all else, Touch Therapy and Massage Therapy present SIDE – EFFECT FREE alternatives to everyone.

How do Touch Therapy and Massage Therapy differ?
Touch Therapy works like an exchange of energy from the giver to the receiver.
In Touch Therapy, therapists place their hands on or near their patient's body with the intention to help or heal. In doing so, therapists believe that they are consciously directing or modulating an individual's energies by interacting with his or her energy field. The focus is on balancing the energies of the total person and stimulating the body's own natural healing ability rather than on the treatment of specific physical diseases.

Sounds kind of WooWoo-ish? Well, we are made up of energy and we exchange energy in many ways. Touch is but one way. Let me give you an example. Have you ever seen a person walk into a room and suddenly it feels like a ray of sunshine just pierced the room? That’s positive energy. Have you ever met someone that immediately made you feel warm and welcome or uplifted? That’s the kind of energy everyone wishes for! On the other hand, have you been in someone’s presence that just made you feel horribly uncomfortable? That too is energy … just the kind you want to avoid!

Every person on the planet has the ability to channel or focus energy into something akin to a radio transmission. In the case of YOU, a caregiver, it’s your compassion, the love of people, your desire to comfort and heal that makes up this beautiful signal your patient or charge feels from you. Your touch is so very therapeutic … but you can do so much more with it.

Touch Therapy is based on the following assumptions:
  • ·        The human being is an open energy system composed of layers of energy that are in constant interaction with self, others, and the environment.
  • ·        Illness is an imbalance in an individual's energy field.
  • ·        Clearing or balancing the energy field promotes health.
  • ·        All humans have natural abilities to heal and enhance the healing in others.


The popularity of Touch Therapy in the nursing profession has encouraged research in this area. There have been more studies on Touch Therapy than other energy therapies (Reiki, Healing Touch).

Early studies, reported by Heidt, indicate efficacy in muscle relaxation and stress and anxiety reduction. Later studies identify physiological effects (blood pressure, pulse, and temperature) as well as subjective measures, such as stress, time perception, and self-assessment of health.

Touch Therapy does not attempt to cure disease, but rather to stimulate the body's natural healing process. According to Touch Therapy research, the major effects of Touch Therapy are a deep relaxation response, reduction of pain and anxiety, and faster wound healing.

Massage Therapy is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance health and wellbeing. But whether there is a specific goal or not, massage therapy tends to increase the general health and wellbeing of the recipient.

Massage Therapy not only moves the body’s energy, it can relax muscles, strengthen tissue, tone skin, and increase circulation which promotes healing.

Massage can:
  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance physical performance
  • Improve general wellbeing
As a caregiver, I suggest treating yourself to a full body massage, at minimum, once per month. This gives you the opportunity to fully relax and let go. Learning and implementing Touch Therapy into your daily care giving routine will also have a profoundly positive effect on you.

How to Perform Touch Therapy:
In this blog, I am going to attempt to give you a description of a simple but effective technique to use. For those of you interested in a bit more in depth information about various techniques, please drop me an email at regina@lbdtools.com. I am putting together a instruction booklet that will provide you with photos which can help immensely when attempting some of these techniques. As of this writing, it is so very close to being finished.

This technique in particular was used during very intense anxiety / fear episodes with several of my dementia clients when they were brought to my studio for massage the first few visits. It calmed them quickly, helped them to focus on why they were there and put them at ease to move ahead with massage.

I preferred to sit next to the client. Since I am right handed, I will speak to this from a righty’s perspective. If you’re left handed however, make the adjustment to accommodate.

As a right handed person, I would sit on my client’s right; put my left arm around their shoulders cupping their left shoulder with my left hand. This provides a sense of security and comfort.
With my right hand, I would take their left hand and lace the 4 fingers together, like the church and steeple /\ .  

Once the fingers are laced, press gently with your fingertips downward on the top of your client’s knuckles and turn their hand over, palm side up.
Using your thumb and with a gentle but firm pressure, move the flat of your thumb in slow circles (clockwise) in the palm of the hand. Occasionally, and from the center of the palm, move the thumb up towards the wrist slowly using firm but gentle pressure.

You want to be sure and use a firm but gentle pressure. 

If you make the circles to lightly, it becomes a tickle and can further irritate or exacerbate their agitation.

Try it using your own hands. Make the steeple, lace the fingers. Press your fingertips against the knuckles of the opposite hand and slowly rotate the hand until the palm side is up. Then press firmly but gently with the pad of your thumb into the palm of your hand and begin a slow circular massage.

Even this exercise, using your own hands, will have a calming and relaxing effect on you.

You can sit across from or next to your charge, whatever works for you. The Touch Therapy technique would be the same, just make you modifications based on how you are sitting.

Essential Oils for Touch Therapy:
People respond differently to Essential Oils. What one person responds positively to, another may be put off by so my making recommendations is kind of like using a very broad paint brush and painting a very wide swath across a canvas…having said that, I have found that with anxiety, agitation and depression in particular, there are several EO’s that just seem to have the same beautiful effect on everybody that comes in contact with them. The effects will vary from person to person though. While one person may become calm and serene, another may nod off completely and take a little power nap so be watchful until you find what works for your charge.

I preface the following with, no matter what EO you use, make sure to get a bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil to use with your Essential Oils. EO’s can be very strong and can irritate skin if not cut with the coconut oil. Fractionated Coconut Oil is so pure and so refined; it spreads easily like silk, goes far and is wonderful for the skin. Use a 3 to 1 ratio…3 drops FCO to 1 drop EO. It just doesn’t take much at all.

Please keep in mind, what I am suggesting is based on research and client use and these oils or combinations of have been shown to be highly effective as topical or aromatic applications for the following:
1.    ANXIETY / AGITATION: Serenity or Lavender or Balance
2.    DEPRESSION / SADNESS: Elevation or Clary Sage or Citrus Bliss
3.    LOSS / LACK OF APPETITE: Wild Orange, Lemon, Ginger
4.    MUSCLE PAIN / TREMORS: (Topical Only) AromaTouch
5.    POOR CIRCULATION: Cypress
6.    EDEMA: (Topical Only) Basil and Lemongrass and Cypress
7.    INSOMNIA / DIFFICULTY SLEEPING: Serenity or Lavender

Some Guidelines using EO’s:
·       One drop of your choice of EO per hand is more than enough to do the job.
·       If you need more lubrication, add a few drops of the FCO.
·       Always coat the skin with FCO before adding the EO. This way the EO is spread further, won’t irritate the skin and doesn’t end up saturating a tiny area.
·       Always replace the caps on your oils after using

Hey …Who doesn’t like a foot massage…right!!! Well, some people are pretty squeamish about anyone touching their feet while others will whip off the shoes and socks and throw their feet into your lap quicker than you can take a breath. The thing about your feet….they are a road map to every organ in the body. They are your foundation, what keeps you standing upright, moving along AND it is the quickest way for Essential Oils to get to the blood stream and do its job. If you put peppermint oil in the arch of your foot, you will taste peppermint in your mouth in less than 10 seconds. So, if your charge will allow you access to their feet, remember it’s the place to apply oils for the fastest results.

PRECAUTION: If applying FCO and EO’s to the bottoms of the feet, make sure you cover the feet with socks and / or shoes to prevent them from slipping and falling when they get up.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form. http://www.lbdtools.com/contact2.php

Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.

Coming up next: Essential Oils for Aroma Therapy - Stress Reduction, Improved Sleep, Memory and Cognition

Supporting Research on Touch Therapy and incorporating Essential Oils:

Monday, September 11, 2017

NUTRITION THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA: USING ESSENTIAL OILS

You will find an enormity of Essential Oils on the web, in health food stores, specialty shops, even grocery stores but one thing I can state as absolute fact … Essential Oils are NOT alike.

Rather than use an explanation from a biased source (a manufacturer or supplier) I’ve gone to the dictionary to answer the question, “What IS an Essential Oil?”.
It states. An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oilsethereal oilsaetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.[1] The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.[2]
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expressionsolvent extractionabsolute oil extraction, resin tapping, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumescosmeticssoaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.”

Essential Oils cannot be reproduced in the pharmaceutical industry. Chemists can replicate some of the known constituents but it would be next to impossible to successfully replicate or recreate an essential oil in the laboratory without sacrificing purity and therapeutic value.

Essential Oils embody the regenerative, protective and immune strengthening properties of plants.  These are very powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals which can cause cellular damage in the body. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-parasitic and antiseptic properties.

So, right now you're asking, what does all of this have to do with dementia and nutrition? The answer is….quite a lot.

Dr. William M. Partridge, an expert in blood - brain barrier research, determined in 2003 that, "The development of new drugs for the brain has not kept pace with progress in the molecular neurosciences, because the majority of new drugs discovered do not cross the blood brain barrier." The ability to cross the blood-brain barrier is essential for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders.

The blood brain barrier is the most secure tissue barrier in the body. It is highly selective in order to protect the fragile tissues of the central nervous system. This barrier only allows passage of certain compounds that are crucial to brain function (glucose, some amino acids, etc.). Novel research has demonstrated that certain sesquiterpene constituents found in essential oils can directly cross the blood brain barrier because of their small molecular size (2-4).

Although sesquiterpenes were particularly studied, it is reasonable to assume that other essential oil compounds, especially monoterpenes, which are structurally smaller than sesquiterpenes, can also penetrate the blood brain barrier.

Ok … now comes the tricky question … “How do I know an Essential Oil is safe for use?”

The applications most common to use are, ingestion (consuming internally), topical application (on the skin) and inhalation (smell by diffusing or simply inhaling from the container). In terms of Nutrition Therapy, we are addressing ingestion.

Given that the basic requirement for calling a product an “Essential Oil” is that the ingredients must contain a minimum of 1% plant essence, my advice is to simply READ THE LABELS! If the product doesn’t have a nutrition label on the container, it most definitely is NOT something you can put into the mouth and swallow.  If the first ingredient on the ingredient list is not the plant essence, well, suffice it to say it begs me to ask the question … WHY would you want to buy it?

I have used Essential Oils for well over 50 years, both personally and in practice so, I am pretty particular about what I put in my mouth or on my skin and especially in a massage practice, the practitioner is far more cognizant about what he or she uses on their clients.

Let me preface the following by saying, this is NOT a sales pitch. Whatever products are discussed in this blog are here simply because these are the items I use or suggest to clients  and are the positive or negative results obtained by me or other practitioners sharing their results with me.

Before using any product, I do intense and thorough research. Next I will either use it, to insure it isn’t caustic or I will talk at length to people that have used it to find out what, if any, negative or positive effects they experienced. If I find it to be effective and feel it may help clients, I may incorporate it into my use.

When it comes to dementia or any related disorder / disease, I will always encourage caregivers to exercise extreme caution when looking at products to use. Anything that can cross the blood brain barrier … in my book …better darned well be the purest of the pure, the cleanest of the clean and the best of the best. Bottom line, the end result is we are dealing with the brain.

Six years ago, I found a particular line of Essential Oils that, for me, ended my search for the best of the best. These are the things I looked for:
1.    Purity and Therapeutic Value
2.    Source
3.    Who is behind the product
4.    Research / testing results prior to bringing it to the public
5.    Feedback – this really ranks lowest on my list because the Essential Oil market is highly competitive and in the online world, negative comments or criticism often comes from a competitor.

The purpose for the preface to the guts of this post is simply this … be very careful when choosing an Essential Oil product or any other product for that matter. As a caregiver, you are looking for ways to increase comfort, eliminate anxiety or stress and provide optimal care for your charge. Knowledge is power and being forewarned is being armed. At the end of this blog, I will provide you with contact information where you can email me with questions or for details of any item mentioned.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR NUTRITION THERAPY:
Proper nutrition is essential for everyone but as we age, it takes on an even greater priority or, it should. For those suffering with any form of dementia and especially those on any kind of pharmaceutical, Whole Food Nutrition isn’t just important … it is an absolute must.

Medications have an extreme impact on the digestive system or the gut. Your gut is literally your second brain, created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation, and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control. It's important to understand that your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are heavily dependent on your diet and vulnerable to your lifestyle.

WHERE TO BEGIN:
Recent research 1/2 indicates that; physical and psychological stressors, environmental toxins, medications, processed foods, sugars and more increase inflammation in the gut. This inflammation will interfere with the signals transmitted to the brain.

Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neuro-degenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes, dementia and cancer.

A gentle Digestive Cleanse using something as simple as Lemon Oil and PB Assist® will tackle gut inflammation and eliminate many of the toxins residing there, allowing the good bacteria to flourish and aid in the increased production of serotonin and the uptake of much needed whole food nutrients … naturally. This helps to retrain the body's systems filters to function normally once again.

THE IMPORTANCE OF WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION:

An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with pro-biotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating pro inflammatory stimuli to the brain, may also improve depression symptoms, general health and quality of life.

According to a study (2015)3 run by the Mental Health Centre of Kayseri Education and Research Hospital, obesity ran at a higher than normal rate among depressed patients and essential vitamin / mineral / fatty acid levels were much lower as well as the ability to uptake nutrients.

WHAT TO TAKE:

A balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, an energy complex of B vitamins, and 800 IU of vitamin D, readily absorbable minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as organic trace minerals for optimal bone and metabolic health, a unique blend of health-promoting polyphenols from a wide variety of some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables, a unique whole food blend of vegetable powders from some of the healthiest vegetables, including the cruciferous vegetables and a botanical blend of pure plant extracts to help calm the stomach for those who may have experienced stomach upset with other vitamin and mineral products.

In addition, a proprietary blend of therapeutic quality essential oils, plant and algae-sourced omega fatty acids that can help support joint, cardiovascular, and brain health; as well as healthy immune system function.*

Now, you can go to a health food store and purchase these supplements individually and in some cases, two or more blended into one tablet. Chances are, most of what you will purchase is synthetic versions of the vitamin or mineral or many supplements contain fillers which the body doesn’t need but who wants to take a handful of pills in addition to medications currently prescribed? I don’t. This entire composition is available in 2 bottles and the dose I would suggest is ½ the recommended dose ( 2 of each per day) until the body acclimates to the improvements in energy levels, brain and digestive function.

Just an FYI to all you caregivers out there … If you plan to give these supplements to your charge, think about taking them yourself. Remember, the stress you are under as a caregiver will have the same negative impact on your body, mind and spirit as it does to your charge. Taking care of YOU is ALL important. If you don’t take care of YOU, who will take care of your charge if something happens to you?
(The supplements described above are available in the Daily Nutrient Pack®)

Stress, medications and often resulting depression and anxiety take a physical toll on the body. The first order is to help bring body systems back into balance.

To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form.

Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.

Next up: Touch and Massage Therapy using Essential Oils – We’ll discuss the recommended oils to use in both therapies and oils for specific disorders / diseases, improved sleep, reducing stress, depression and anxiety as well as effective massage techniques you can easily learn.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Supporting Research on Nutrition:

Note: These links to the latest research on the importance of Nutrition in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, panic / panic attack disorders, bi-polar disorders and treatment resistant patients will take you to a web page off this blog.

1.    Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R.

2.    Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Porter K, Beversdorf DQ, Lemeshow S, Glaser R.

3.    Evaluation of Nutritional Status of Patients with Depression.
Kaner G, Soylu M, Yüksel N, Inanç N, Ongan D, Bamsrl E.