Aromatherapy for Health

An interest in the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy has become popular in the healthcare and hospice setting.  Aromatherapy is known as the controlled use of essential oils to promote physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

What are essential oils?

The beautiful and fragrant scent of essential oils can be found in the natural components of roots, seeds, bark and stems.  Essential oils are very clean and they are immediately absorbed by the skin. As we move towards a more holistic approach to healing, aromatherapy has seen a revival for both medicinal and therapeutic benefits.

Lavender as an essential oil

In our hospital setting, we have seen the benefits of lavender as an essential oil.  Clinical studies have shown that the use of lavender has eased patient anxiety, restlessness and promoted a sense of calmness.  In addition lavender oils are especially beneficial in the hospice setting.  Although lavender is the only essential oil that can be directly applied to the skin safely without dilution, it may be important to add a drop to a carrier lotion such as extra virgin oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil.  There are five key ways to apply lavender oil:

~The hands are the easiest method of application.  Apply one drop of essential lavender oil into your palm, rub your hands together, cup them over the nose, keeping away from the eyes, and take a deep breath.

~In our hospice setting, we apply a few drops of lavender on a piece of cloth and pin underneath the patient’s gown.

~The use of a basin of hot water is beneficial for an individual who has a cold or cough.  Place two or three drops of essential oil into a hot (not boiling) water and breathe in slowly.

~A spray bottle with about a half pint of water and approximately 10 drops of oil can also be used for spraying a room with lavender.  Be sure to shake before spraying.

~An electric vaporizer can also be effective.  Top off the little cup with water, and add a few drops of essential lavender oil.  If you do not possess a vaporizer, put the essential oils into a bowl of very hot water.  Please note it is important not to use essential oils near a flame or strong source of heat.

Where to purchase essential lavender oil?

It is important to purchase the lavender essential oil from a reputable company.  In our healthcare setting, we have ordered from Essential 3.  At Essential 3, there are three clinical Aromatherapists on staff who are experts in aromatherapy solutions for self care, massage, and wellness.  The company carries lavender essential oil as well as a variety of other oils and carrier lotions.

When using essential oils, it is important to ask your loved one if they like the smell of flowers.  In the beginning, essential oils are best used in small increments, especially with the young, frail, or seriously ill population.


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I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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