Tuesday, November 21, 2017


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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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. 

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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.




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