Why scents are being used to treat dementia and depression

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By 5mustsee.com

The Benefits of Using Scents for Dementia and Depression

How Aromatherapy Helps Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Many individuals find comfort in using lavender to alleviate stress and sleep issues. According to Prof Goodwin, lavender possesses pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing properties. These calming effects are valuable in medical environments.

Aromatherapy is increasingly incorporated into cancer treatment and end-of-life care. Carol Rose, a clinical aromatherapist and registered nurse, discusses in her book “Integrating Clinical Aromatherapy in Palliative Care” how patients can engage in selecting oils and methods, alongside traditional medical treatments. Techniques like massage, nighttime inhaler sticks, hydrosol mouthwashes, and aromatic baths aid in addressing fatigue, insomnia, breathlessness, nausea, and promoting resilience.

In a personal experience, a friend undergoing cancer treatment used a custom scent from perfume expert Lyn Harris to mask the chemo odor. Applying the blend on her scarf before chemo sessions provided her with a sense of relief.

The Role of Aromatherapy in Stimulating Memory for Dementia Patients

Prof Goodwin highlights the potential of essential oils to influence mood by permeating the brain and inducing significant chemical changes. Essential oils, due to their small size and aromatic nature, can bypass the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain through inhalation.

Studies indicate that lavender oil may decrease instances of aggressive behavior in dementia patients. Various essential oils, such as ginger, coriander, rosemary, sweet orange, sandalwood, rose, bergamot, and peppermint, offer benefits in managing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Prof Goodwin suggests incorporating essential oils in hand and foot massages, baths, or oil burners to uplift the mood of dementia patients.

Prof Goodwin also mentions that testing for anosmia (loss of smell) can serve as an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease as olfactory dysfunction parallels brain degeneration.

Providing Comfort Before Surgical Procedures

The field of olfaction is expanding into various medical realms, aiding patients in coping with stress-inducing situations like surgeries and MRI scans. Angel Houston, an MRI technologist at Cleveland Clinic specializing in cardiac MRIs, shared her research at a medical conference in London. She has devised an aromatherapy-based stress and anxiety mitigation technique for MRI patients as an alternative to sedation.

Having personally witnessed the challenges faced by her brother during medical procedures, Houston explored non-invasive options that preserve awareness and control for patients. Her research concentrates on utilizing aromatherapy to reduce stress without inducing sedation, enabling patients to feel more at ease and empowered during medical procedures.


1. How does aromatherapy benefit cancer patients?

Aromatherapy aids in cancer treatment by helping patients manage symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, breathlessness, and nausea. It can also promote emotional resilience and provide comfort in clinical settings.

2. Can essential oils help dementia patients?

Yes, essential oils like lavender, ginger, coriander, rosemary, sweet orange, sandalwood, rose, bergamot, and peppermint offer benefits for dementia patients. These oils can help reduce symptoms like aggression, agitation, anxiety, and memory loss.

3. How can aromatherapy assist patients undergoing MRI scans?

Aromatherapy techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety in patients undergoing MRI scans, providing a non-sedative alternative to promote a sense of calmness and control during medical procedures.

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