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How To Gain Aromatherapy’s Most Important Benefits Through Diffusion

Posted May 06 2010 6:01am

Essential oils are fast becoming recognized as something more than just natural perfumes. Some of their proven major therapeutic actions include direct eradication of bacteria and viruses, boosting immune system function, and acting to reduce stress, uplift spirits and improve rest. The reason these effects are mentioned specifically is that they’re very easy to produce in your own home using one simple device, an “essential oil diffuser.” A diffuser disperses essential oils in the air in your home or office, allowing you and your family to easily inhale the oils (for immune boosting, stress relief, etc.) AND naturally, effectively disinfecting the air.

Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Essential Oils

The big interests in home use of essential oils is twofold: 1) They can bring calm to overexcited youngsters while acting as antidepressants for everyone. 2) They have proven antibacterial and antiviral actions; they are able to destroy these microbes in the air, while simultaneously support the strength of our immune system. There’s a good bit of scientific data backing both these claims available for free viewing at PubMed.Gov start by simply searching for “essential oil” and see where it takes you. Again, the easiest way to reap these benefits of essential oils is to use a diffuser to release the oils into the air in your environment. A diffuser simply evaporates oils faster than they would naturally, getting a therapeutic concentration into your living or office space but there are many diffuser styles we’ll help you find the one best suited to your needs.

Diffusers For Antiviral/Antimicrobial Action & Immune Support

For disinfecting the air in your environment, you need to evaporate a relatively high concentration of essential oils. The only way to do this effectively, while conserving the oils to keep costs to a minimum is to use a “nebulizing” diffuser in conjunction with a timer system. While these diffusers will have a somewhat higher initial cost, they’re the only diffusers that will output “therapeutic” doses of essential oils for every possible application. These diffusers “nebulize” the oils, making them into a fine, quickly evaporating mist. This is also the diffuser that will diffuse aroma in the largest area; so even if you’re only wanting a pleasing aroma in your home, for over 800 square feet, this is the diffuser of choice.

The nebulizers come in two styles: “cold air” and “ultrasonic”. The cold air units use only air pressure to diffuse the oils, and output the highest concentration of any diffuser type. The ultrasonic is essentially a small water-humidification unit, where oils are mixed with water and then evaporated. Both styles typically have output controls, so you can turn up or down the amount of oil being diffused. They are also both exceptionally quiet.

Fan And Warming Diffusers for Stress Reduction and Improved Rest

Other styles of diffusers either gently warm the oils or use a fan to blow over the oils to evaporate them. Their intention is to get the oils in the air so you can enjoy their aromas and while this sounds simple, its actually therapeutically meaningful: The “smell sense” is the only one of the five senses directly wired to the control center of the brain (signals from the other senses travel through “switching stations” first). The result is that the body reacts to a smell without us thinking about it. Certain smells can lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and help us sleep more deeply. Some users report feeling happier or calmer when inhaling particular scents, and other scents make the mind sharper improving test scores, reducing errors at work, and improving the efficiency of studying for school. A fan diffuser will blow air and evaporate oil from a cotton pad, and warming diffusers will safely (i.e. ok to use around children) and gently use heat to also evaporate oils from a pad. Both these styles are good choices for smaller areas, like a bedroom or living room.

Conserving Your Oil Supply: Use A Timer For Best Results

The best way to use the least amount of essential oil for your needs is to use a timer either built-in to the diffuser or a readily-available appliance timer. For ANY application, whether simple aromatic use or medicinal needs, one need only be exposed to the diffused oils for a few minutes at a time. Aromatically, your “smell scent” will become quickly accustom to the aroma, and you’ll start to think the diffuser isn’t working anymore. Running the diffuser for only a few minutes every half an hour lets your nose “forget” the oils are in the air. The same principal works for disinfecting the air and immune-system support there’s no need to over-saturate the air with essential oils. They are so potent that there’s no need to continually diffuse a high concentration for these results.

Choosing Oils For Your Purpose

All essential oils have naturally different chemical make-ups. That’s what gives them their individual aromas and their individual therapeutic actions. For an uplifting, pleasing atmosphere, the “evergreen” oils are very nice: Fir Needle, Spruce, and Juniper Berry. These are excellent antidepressant aromatics too, along with the citrus oils: Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and the like, plus Rose and other uplifting flower-scents. For calming and better rest, Lavender is the first choice; when folks aren’t a fan of this popular floral oil, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang are great choices. For all the purposes, its important to use oils you or your family actually like the smell of! There are MANY oils to choose from, and by sampling a few, you’re sure to find something everyone enjoys.

For immune support and air-cleaning, there are many oils highly regarded for their antimicrobial actions. Bay laurel is very nice, and scientifically shown to be an effective anti-viral. “Plain” Lemon and Rosemary oils are excellent antibacterials, as is Lemon Tea Tree (very potent), Lemongrass, and Eucalyptus Radiata (shown specifically to help our white blood cells function better). Most oils that are sharper and brighter will be effective, but be careful as there are some herb-oils that are too strong to diffuse, like Oregano and Thyme, along with the spice oil Cinnamon. In any case, use your judgment with the aromas: if they seem to intense, they are and either switch to a different oil or turn down the diffuser output. Also be aware that children are MUCH more sensitive to essential oils than adults adjust your use as necessary, and consult a reputable guide to using essential oils with children.

Using Essential Oils Therapeutically: Choose Your Diffuser, Choose Your Oils, Away You Go!

Essential oil diffusers are inexpensive and easily purchased at a local health food store and around the internet. Look for a unit specifically designed for use with pure essential oils, rather than “fragrance oils” (man-made replicates of natural scents there is no “pumpkin pie” essential oil, for example!). If you’re not sure which oils to start with, there are many guides and great books available, and many aromatherapy companies will have support staff to help get you started. The world of aroma-medicine is available to you, and diffusing oils in your home is a great beginning in this realm of natural medicine.

Ananda Aromatherapy are the makers of therapeutic essential oils for aromatherapy . The website includes excellent resources for the beginning and advanced practitioner alike.

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