by Stephanie Chambers
When I was sixteen, I used to put on makeup and clothes to try and make myself look older. I don’t know when I stopped doing that and instead started trying to do the opposite.
Getting older brings with it some good things like maturity and hopefully wisdom and no longer sweating the small stuff as much as we used to when we were younger. But there are some aspects of it, that most of us would prefer to avoid like our hair color changing, wrinkles, not being able to move as easily, middle-aged weight gain and increasing forgetfulness. However, the good news is that essential oils can help with all of these issues, and when we combine their use with a healthy organic diet, good sleep routine and an hour a day of vigorous exercise, we really can age more gracefully.
Hair color changes
According to Ayurveda gray hairs are a sign of increased Pitta dosha. When we are babies, we are mainly Kapha and that’s why we have baby fat. As we mature, we become more Pitta. The very elderly tend to get thin and frail. This is a sign of Vata. Of course, your body type depends on your own constitution but these are the influences of nature as we age. You can reduce Pitta by eating more cooling foods. Rose essential oil can also help you to reduce Pitta.
If you already have gray hair, you may have noticed that your hair tends to become a bit drier. You can help nourish your hair by applying diluted Ylang Ylang, Geranium or Rosewood essential oil to your hair before bed and leaving it on overnight.
In terms of wrinkles, prevention is definitely easier than cure. Adopting good skin care practices – like cleansing with cleansers rather than soap (because soap leaves behind a residue on your skin) and moisturizing - early in life can certainly help reduce how quickly you develop facial wrinkles. Helichrysum essential oil when mixed with Rosehip Seed Oil (10 drops of Helichrysum per tablespoon) can help. Carrot seed essential oil diluted to 1-2% in any carrier oil or unscented facial care product (5-10 drops per tablespoon) and left on overnight can feel wonderfully regenerative (although it has a peculiar smell so probably best not used during the day). See Amrita’s Essential Oils For Skin Care And Wrinkles page for more details. It helps to change the essential oils in your facial care program from time to time.
As we age there is a tendency for toxins to build up in our joints and it is these that make movement difficult. Essential oils like Cypress and German Chamomile can help. See Amrita's page about Essential Oils For Arthritis for more details.
Even though exercising can be painful at times, you shouldn’t avoid it. In fact, it is essential if you want to age gracefully. That’s why the book Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 until You're 80 and Beyondby Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge which advocates an hour of either cardio or strength building exercise every day (6 days a week) has become a best seller - because it works. This book cites lots of the scientific evidence to back this up. For day to day aches and pains from exercising, Amrita’s Muscle Tension Roll-On Relief bottle is a good thing to keep handy.
Avoiding middle-aged weight gain
It is common for people as they are aging to become less active and to gain weight. However, as I mentioned in the previous section, exercising can help to stop this from happening. Drinking more water can also help. There are also essential oils that can help you to reduce your appetite. Some of these are in Amrita’s Quit Craving Roll-On Relief. It can help you to overcome the urge to eat foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. See Amrita’s page Essential Oils For Weight Loss and Obesity for more details.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some degree of memory problems, as well as a modest decline in other thinking skills, is a fairly common part of aging.” There is some research1 showing that techniques like Transcendental Meditation can reverse this trend. Getting enough sleep and exercising regularly have also been shown to help. There is mixed evidence2 as to whether brain exercises help.
“Results3 suggest that stimulating activity, either mentally or socially oriented, may protect against dementia, indicating that both social interaction and intellectual stimulation may be relevant to preserving mental functioning in the elderly.” You may have also heard of the Blue Zones project which found that most of the people who lived long healthy lives felt that their lives were purposeful.You may also like to try using some essential oils which have traditionally been used to improve memory and the mind as a whole like Basil, Frankincense, Rosemary and Lemon.
Some of us panic when we have what is even nowadays termed a “senior moment” - that we might be experiencing the first signs of Alzheimer's Disease. But generally it isn’t the case and many have found that essential oils can also help them to focus. You might, for example, find Amrita's Mental Energizer Roll-On Relief useful. It contains Lemon essential oil and some other oils that have traditionally been used to improve mental functioning. As my other blog Alzheimers: Do our brains need oil? explains, there has been research confirming that Lemon essential improves cognitive function.
Aging is a part of life. But it doesn’t have to be associated with negative things like a lack of energy or restricted physical and mental abilities. They don’t have to be part of normal aging, or at least not till the last couple of years of our long lives. They are just signs that we need to improve our lifestyle to make it an even healthier one. We should welcome the years as they should bring with them greater freedom, more enjoyment, a clearer perception of our purpose in life and more fulfilment as we contribute to society as a whole.
Disclaimer: The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.