- A warm air humidifier (or diffuser) is least effective method for aromatherapy. Heat changes the qualities of oil and usually decreases its effectiveness. Many of us use humidifiers, especially in winter, when heaters dry out our indoor air. Try adding a few drops of essential oil. It won't hurt and it might help--and it will add an enjoyable scent to the air.
- Candles smell lovely but you still have the heat issue. Again, use and enjoy, but don't expect them to be very helpful as a relaxing agent.
- A nebulizer uses full strength oil. While they are very effective, they are also very expensive. Essential oil nebulizers are not like those you carry around and sniff. They are more like diffusers, except that they don't require water. They do have their uses. One is that they often offer programming. I have one that I use to diffuse a blend of oils that helps me sleep without getting a stuffy nose. I set to run a few minutes every half-hour. Then I connected it to a 24 hour timer set to run only at night. I believe the high cost of the unit ($100-$150) is worth the continuity I get. With the timers, my oils last a long time too.
- A cool mist diffuser is both effective and inexpensive. You can get a good diffuser for between $15 and $25. Usually you just add a few drops of your favorite oil or blend to the water and let it "peculate." I keep one near my desk where I work and one in the living room where I relax with different blends in each one.
There are several other oils besides lavender that are known for their calming qualities: bergamot, cinnamon, ylang ylang, geranium, patchouli, rosewood, jasmine and basil. In addition, peppermint and the citrus oils--lemon, ornate and pink grapefruit are all uplifting and energizing.
Next week: More about these oils and a few others that can help with after-holiday stress "leftovers."
For more about essential oils that are most helpful with dementia, read our 12/8/2017 blog.
For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books: A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.