Choosing And Essential Oil Diffuser For Therapy Or Just Great Scents

Posted on Thursday 13 January 2011

In the world of therapeutic aromatherapy, there are three modalities of using essential oils: Topical application, ingestion and inhalation. Sometimes inhalation gets dismissed as not real medicine, but this just isn’t the case. Essential oils still get into your bloodstream if you inhale them (thereby helping oxygenate your blood, as many proponents will attest to) and providing a host of other therapeutic effects. But which diffuser is best? There are so many types available, in a wide range of prices. Which one is best really depends on your goal: to simply enjoy the aromatic pleasures of fine essential oils, or go all the way and get every last health-supportive effect you can from aromatherapy. We’ll look at them all here: warming, fan, nebulizing, and ultrasonic nebulizing.

The Science-Proven Health Benefits of Essential Oils

Research over the last decade has informed us of many important therapeutic effects of essential oils. Oils have been shown to have a wide variety of important activity, from anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal, to anti-anxiety and anti-depressant. The great thing about inhaling the oils is that you can reap many of these benefits at the same time. Some of the same oils that will lower stress levels can also support immune function by both enhancing our immune systems and directly eradicating contagions.

Choosing A Diffuser For Aromatic Applications

One of the wonderful aspects of essential oils is that by simply inhaling the aroma, significant changes occur in our body’s physiology. This is because the olfactory sense is the most closely tied of the five senses to your brain. A scent can change the way your body is functioning without you even thinking about it (one study notes over 100 changes to the patterns of RNA transcription from smelling Linalool, the primary relaxing component in Lavender). Smelling certain oils can lower stress, improve mood, calm children, and improve the quality of sleep. And for this type of therapy, ANY diffuser will do the job. The only consideration that really matters here is how large an area you’d like to diffuse the oil into — would you like to smell it from one end of the house to the other, or just in one room.

Each type of diffuser will cover a different number of square feet — and generally the less expensive models are for the smaller spaces. A “plug-in” diffuser plugs straight into a wall socket, and evaporates oil from a cotton through warmth. Easy to use, silent, great for one small-to-moderate size room. Very inexpensive. Next, the fan diffusers blow air over an oil-saturated pad. They might make a little “white noise” sound from the fan, but are generally very tolerable. The smaller units are inexpensive and for small spaces like the plug-in unit. Larger ones might cover areas up to four hundred square feet. Like the plug in, you’ll need to replace the pad every once in a while. Then there’s “ultrasonics”, which are small ultrasonic humidification units made to diffuse essential oils along with the mist of water vapor they emit (sometimes called “ultrasonic nebulizers”). Also very quiet, and nice if you’re in a dry environment. The cover about the same space as the larger fan units. The most powerful diffusers are simply called “nebulizers”, as they nebulize the essential oils to evaporate them. This means they make the oil into very tiny particles which you can see as pure essential oil vapor (without water). These are nearly silent, and can diffuse into areas larger than eight hundred square feet.

Again, all these diffusers will enable you and your family to benefit from the aromas of essential oils. Typically the more expensive units will have higher outputs, and some will have bells and whistles like built-in timer cycles and lighting effects. Still, you can make your choice purely on the size they’ll cover, or if perhaps you live in a dry environment, the ultrasonic units may be especially attractive. Further, the ultrasonics and the cold-air nebulizers have no pads to replace, which may be another consideration. If you’d like to gain the most benefit from the oils now and in the future, meaning you’d like to maximize your immune function and clean the air in your environment, it then becomes important to consider the actual concentration of essential oil being output.

It is the nebulizing diffusers that allow complete flexibility in terms of essential oil output, and maximizing the concentration of essential oils in your environment. If this is what you are seeking, make sure you find a cold-air nebulizing diffuser, one that uses air rather than water to make the evaporating mist of essential oils. The fancier of these units will have an output control, enabling you to diffuse just a little at a time at the lowest setting, to really creating a visible vapor of essential oil within the nebulizing chamber.

Conserving Your Oils While Gaining The Most Benefit

All diffusers share a common result: when you run the diffuser all the time, its likely that you’ll stop being able to smell the oil you’re diffusing. Your nose can quickly become accustom to a scent, and while its still at the same concentration in the air, you won’t be able to smell it! The best approach is to run your diffuser for only a few minutes every hour if your aim is to enjoy the aroma. You’ll often see programmable timers with which you can adjust the on and off cycle of the diffuser to maximize your enjoyment of your oils.

The author is a consultant for Ananda Aromatherapy, a source for truly therapeutic oils, like Helichrysum and Rose, at wholesale prices for everyone. Visit today to learn more on the vast medical uses of essential oils.

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1 Comment for 'Choosing And Essential Oil Diffuser For Therapy Or Just Great Scents'

    March 7, 2011 | 1:11 pm

    The ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers are by far the best choice for maximizing the benefits of your essential oils. You don’t need to use anywhere near as many drops for the same amount of diffusion, so you don’t need to spend as much money on your oils. Great post!

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