The treatment of dementia is not satisfactory and many caregivers and patients have been opting for non-conventional therapy. One such alternative therapy that has been hyped up to delay or prevent dementia is aroma oil therapy.
Aroma oil therapy has been widely used to treat a number of medical ailments including insomnia, depression, anxiety and pain. Aroma oil therapy essentially involves use of pure essential oils from various fragrant plants like peppermint, sweet marjoram and rose. The apparent minimal side effects of aromatherapy has been of magnetic attraction to alternative health care practitioners and patients.
Many herbal and health food stores advertise aromatic oils as first choice therapy in order to reduce symptoms of dementia and disturbed behavior. Anecdotal reports indicate that aromatic oils can also promote sleep and stimulate motivational behavior. It is for these reasons that many patients have increasingly turned to aromatic oils rather than pharmacological therapies.
At present, thousands of individuals use aromatic oils for personal health care. These products are readily available, do not require a prescription and are relatively inexpensive. The question is, “Do aromatic oils help treatment of dementia?”
The number of randomized studies looking at the benefits of aromatic products are small and solid data are difficult to come by. Recently Cochrane reviews looked at data from one small study where aromatic oil therapy was used for the treatment of agitation and other neuropsychiatric symptoms in individuals with dementia.