I will forever be a candle devotee, but I’ve recently found a new way to fragrance my home and indulge in aromatherapy. An essential oil diffuser is a simple and mess-free device that can fill a room with beautiful smells. There’s no soot, hot wax, synthetic fragrance—or fire!—involved. Just a little water (if you’re using a sonic diffuser), a power outlet, and a few drops of essential oil are all you need. After the initial purchase, it’s a rather economical way to enjoy your favorite fragrances—including those you custom blend!
First, the basics: Essential oil will evaporate if left exposed to air. Essential oil diffusers help evaporate the oil more quickly in order to intensify the aroma they release into the air. In terms of scent intensity, turning on a diffuser can be compared to lighting a scented candle.
There are a few different kinds of essential oil diffusers. The least expensive uses no water at all. A few drops of oil are applied to a pad on the device. When the diffuser is turned on, the pad is warmed, and the oil evaporates, scenting the surrounding air. Another relatively affordable style of diffuser uses a fan instead of heat to diffuse evaporating oil. Either style works best in a small space like an office or single bedroom. For larger spaces, ultrasonic diffusers, which are slightly more advanced than heat or fan diffusers, operate like small humidification units and release cool steam (laced with your essential oil of choice) into the air. These devices are especially good if you live in a dry climate and could benefit from a bit of extra moisture in the air. The most advanced kind of diffuser is a nebulizing diffuser, which releases a mist of pure essential oil—no water or heat necessary. In aromatherapy, a patient may be asked to inhale the mist of pure essential oil to benefit from the oil’s medicinal properties.
The following are a few ways to enjoy and properly use your essential oil diffuser:
1. Begin by selecting oils or oil blends that make your nose happy. Common favorites include lavender, ylang ylang, peppermint, pine, spruce, and grapefruit. Try custom blends to discover more nuanced scents. Ylang ylang, lavender, and frankincense make a sweet, soothing fragrance. A drop of each is all you need.
2. You can also try pre-made blends. Essence of Vali, Edens Garden, and Aura Cacia, among other brands, have a blends for just about everything. There are blends to help you relax or go to sleep, blends to energize you, blends to comfort you, and even blends to help you feel romantic.
3. Purchase high-quality essential oils. Essential oils should come in small, dark bottles. Be wary of any that come in clear bottles since exposure to sunlight can damage the oil. Also, skip any oil brands that include “perfume oil,” “fragrance oil,” or “nature identical oil.” Finally, avoid bottle that come with a rubber dropper. Some oils can degrade the dropper, leading the rubber the contaminate the oil. If you find a brand you trust, stick with them. Mountain Rose Herbs and DoTerra, as well as the brands mentioned in #2, produce high-quality essential oils and oil blends.
4. Begin by using a few drops of essential oil per diffusing session until you have a better sense of how much oil you need to add to adequately fill your space with fragrance.
5. Follow the cleaning instructions that come with your diffuser. Keeping a clean diffuser will result in more effective scent diffusion and will help keep your device working for the long haul.
6. Do not directly inhale the mist from an ultrasonic diffuser. If we happen to drink slightly contaminated water, our stomach has a chance of destroying the unwelcome substance, but the body doesn’t have the same defenses if bacteria-laden water is inhaled through the nose.
7. If you plan to directly inhale the pure essential oil mist created by a nebulizing diffuser, be sure to consult with an aromatherapist or naturopath before self-treating.
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