Your brain is one of the most complex and ubiquitous machines that has ever existed, yet we still haven't fully grasped how it works and why, sometimes, it can fail us. Have you ever set your phone or keys down, for a split second, only to misplace it a moment later? Have you ever forgotten where you parked the car, what you did with the check book or can't remember if you turned the oven off before you went out? No shame, we all have.
Our minds carry so much information
, day in and day out, that it's no wonder we may forget certain memories or moments in life. The one question that most find troubling is, "What happens if you start forgetting the more vital things?" Such as, your spouse's name, where you graduated from college or even your home address. There may not be a permanent cure for memory loss, but there is a way to help trigger those special moments, big or small. Recall Therapy (also known as Reminiscence Therapy) is a brain building tactic for those who may struggle with dementia, Alzheimer's or any kind of memory loss. We were fortunate enough to interview Crystal Cline, a licensed massage therapist and personal trainer, and have her answer some questions that we all want answered. Cline has worked in this field for over 25 years and has utilized Recall Therapy with several patients who struggle with memory loss
What is Recall Therapy?
"Recall therapy is using any tactile stimulation to affect the cognitive memory."
In other words, by opening and heightening all of your senses to familiar objects, smells and tastes, your brain will trigger past memories or moments associated with those sensory objects. One of the strongest senses to help recall your memory is your sense of smell.
What's the Age Range for Recall Therapy?
Most Recall Therapy patients range from individuals 55 years old and up, and are typically individuals who may struggle with dementia or Alzheimer's. However, any individual (no matter the age) can use recall therapy to heighten their memory and practice
using their senses in order to retain their memory.
Is Recall Therapy Just for Dementia and Alzheimer's?
The answer is no. Not only is this a helpful technique for those who may have dementia or Alzheimer's, but it can also help other individuals who may have/have had a Traumatic Brain Injury, Autism and Short Term Memory Loss
"By touching certain soft fabrics or objects that might be familiar, individuals can become more comfortable in a social setting, as well as being able to recall happy memories that keep them positive."
Can Aroma Therapy Help?
As stated previously, one of your strongest senses to help recall memory
is your sense of smell. Your nose can remember hundreds of thousands of different smells and this is a great practice to help you or your loved one recall certain moments in life. Cline suggests that by keeping a different scent in each room, you can recall the small things more frequently. For example, let's say your kitchen smells like citrus, your living room of sage and your bedroom of lavender. If you left your phone in the kitchen, but you forgot where you put it, you may be able to recall having your phone in the kitchen because you remembered smelling citrus with your phone. Brilliant, isn't it? Bonus: Rosemary is one of the most soothing
and powerful scents that can help the elderly remember things more frequently.
What About Music or Photos?
Showing your loved one old family photos
or positive past times are great ways to help keep them not only happy, but practicing their recall. Cline says that most older patients can only remember past times from when they were much younger. By bringing up positive past times, you and your loved one can both reflect on something special, as well as keeping their conversation positive
. As for music, Cline shared a beautiful story from one of her past patients:
"I worked with one couple who were both in their late 60's and the wife was battling Breast Cancer. During my time there, the wife had developed Alzheimer's from her chemo treatment. I became a familiar face that she could recall because I was at their home frequently and I worked with her to help trigger her memory. "One thing that we did to help regain her memory was sing. In the past, the wife loved playing her guitar and was very talented. Although her mind struggled with recalling some things more than others, she could remember playing her guitar from beginning to end, without fail."
Isn't that music to your ears? Our minds are such powerful things that can retain so much information, whether we realize it or not. There are many self-practices that you can do to help your mind stay active
, as well as helping your loved one improve their recall memory. Here at Legacybox
, your memories are important to us. So, enjoy reflecting on those fun past times that make you smile.