You’ve made it to week 4 of A Mom’s Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils. In the past three weeks, we discussed Where to Begin with Essential Oils, How to Safely Use Essential Oils, and methods of Inhaling Essential oils. This week we’re taking the information about inhaling essential oils a step further and discussing how to choose a diffuser.
How to Choose an Aromatherapy Diffuser
One of the more common ways essential oils are used therapeutically is by diffusion. This method is also considered the safest way to use essential oils. You will likely want to purchase a diffuser in the near future, so let’s take a moment to discuss what exactly a diffuser is and how to choose an aromatherapy diffuser.
What is a diffuser?
Basically, a diffuser is a machine that disperses (diffuses) essential oils into the air so that you can more readily inhale them as you go about your day. The oil floats up into the air and the particles are inhaled into your lungs where they are absorbed into your blood stream. The microscopic particles then interact with your bodily systems according to their therapeutic properties.
There are different kinds of diffusers available: Evaporative, Heat, Nebulizing, and Ultrasonic.
Evaporative diffusers are the most basic of diffusers. In one type, drops of essential oils are placed on a filter or pad and a fan blows air through them. The air blowing through the pad causes the oils to quickly evaporate, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into the room. In the other type, the oils evaporate naturally, without the help of a fan.
While this method of diffusion works well at getting the scent of the oil into the room, it is not terribly therapeutic. Anytime an essential oil evaporates, some of the lighter, more volatile components tend to evaporate faster than the heavier, less volatile components. So, instead of getting the whole oil all at once, you are getting a higher percentage of the lighter components at the beginning of the process and a higher percentage of the heavier components towards the end of the process.
While this may diminish the therapeutic properties that the whole oil had possessed, evaporative diffusion is still a good and relatively quiet means of getting the aroma of the essential oil throughout the room.
Like evaporative diffusers, heat diffusers also cause the essential oils to evaporate quicker than normal but use heat instead of blowing air to accomplish diffusion. A “plug-in” diffuser is an example of this type, as is a “tea light” diffuser. Plug-in type diffusers are commonly used to diffuse in cars.
While some heat diffusers use high levels of heat to produce stronger smells, the best heat diffusers will only use very low levels of heat that produce more subtle aromas. This difference is important because high levels of heat can actually alter the chemical constituents of the oils, rendering them ineffective.
Although heat diffusers do share the same drawback of any diffuser that relies on evaporation—the potential of fractionating the oil into its components instead of putting the whole oil into the air––heat diffusers are a very economical and quiet method of diffusing essential oils.
Nebulizing diffusers are very powerful and effective diffusers for essential oils. They don’t require water, instead using an atomizer to distribute essential oil particles directly into the air. With these diffusers, the oil bottle usually connects directly to the unit. Nebulizing diffusers quickly distribute a lot of oil into the air in just a few minutes, but should only be used for 10 minutes or less or you might end up with much more oil in the air than is needed or even safe.
This is the type of diffuser you might consider using during times when your household is sick and in need of a quick dispersing of essential oils to treat your symptoms (for example, when everyone has coughs and congestion) because it will disperse the greatest concentration of essential oils the most quickly. The nebulizing diffuser I have and love using is the Opulence Nebulizing Diffuser from Organic Aromas. We have been using this diffuser since January when we all had the flu, and now into allergy season. It’s also become my favorite for when I know a migraine is coming on.
Ultrasonic or Humidifying Diffusers
An ultrasonic diffuser is similar to a nebulizing one in that it distributes essential oils particles into the air, but it uses water and the fast vibration of an ultrasonic plate to break the essential oils into tiny particles, dispersing them in a fine mist. The tiny particles are then easily absorbed by the lungs for greater therapeutic effect.
This is the type of diffuser I use most on a daily basis. I keep one in the bathroom, kitchen, and in my son’s room. It is quiet, cost-effective, and the intermittent settings mean I can set it up and forget about it, while it works its magic. My favorite diffuser of this type is the AromaFuse carried by Plant Therapy.
Once you’ve chosen a diffuser, you can start using it right away with the 10 simple diffuser blends found in your Essential Oils Starter Kit. You’ll find help with sleep, allergies, focus, relaxing, and more here. If you have not yet downloaded your Starter Kit, you can do so by entering your email below.
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Be sure to compare the ingredients with the information I gave you earlier in the course for using essential oils safely if you will be diffusing around your children. You can make substitutions as needed. All essential oils are compatible, but you’ll want to find a blend that pleases your senses and works for its intended purpose.
Next Up: Using Essential Oils Topically
Never use essential oils undiluted, in the eyes or mucus membranes. Do not ingest unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep essential oils away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier oil).
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.