Alternative Non-pharmacological Therapies for Alzheimer’s
It is not yet known what causes Alzheimer’s, but scientists have detected the areas of the brain which are affected by the disease, and, in turn, medical treatments have been developed to help suppress the effects of Alzheimer’s. Because of the side effects caused by medications, alternative non-pharmacological therapies have become a topic of interest to many researchers and doctors.
It is thought that by practicing alternative therapies that the patients are able to exercise parts of the brain that suffer from the effects of the disease. When these areas are exercised they can are strengthened and therefore preserved rather than being masked by medications. Some of the more popular forms of therapy include;
Art and music therapy: Art therapy which includes the creation of art (painting, sculpting, crafting, drawing, coloring etc) and the viewing of art. By creating art patients are able to use their motor skills in addition to tapping into different communicative channels. Music therapy allows the patient to tap into their subconscious by relating their current audial experience with past memories which allows them to connect sensory triggers from the past with the present.
Exercise and motor/visual skills: One way that Alzheimer’s patients can combat the disease is with a combination of body movement and technology. The Wii fitness and sports games are a popular method used in many Alzheimer care units. The patient utilizes their motor skills, hand-eye coordination and also exercises their body at the same time. This is a great body and brain work out and promotes interaction in patients.
Aromatherapy and food supplement: Using essential oils like; lavender, rosemary and lemon oil have been linked to improve the cognitive functions and behaviors of Alzheimer’s patients. There has also been a lot of research done on the effects of consuming foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids, Curcumin (Tumeric spice), Ginko and other anti-inflammatory herbs to improve brain functions.
With the growing advocacy and publicity for these alternative therapies there is hope that the future will bring more extensive research among non-pharmacological treatments and that more caregivers and doctors are willing to practice these methods.
Written by Danielle Maravelas of Babbling Ink "Outsourcing Professionals United"