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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quick Tips to Learn About Diffusing Essential Oils

Diffusion of an essential oil means to distribute the oil in the air around you. Essential oils easily evaporate ~ more easily than water ~ so this is a pretty straightforward thing to do. At the same time, there are ways to get even more essential oil in the air, at a higher concentration than, say, if you just let a bottle sit open on a table. This is where an aromatherapy diffuser comes it. The diffuser evaporates the essential oil faster, using one of many possible methods (more on that in a moment). And why would you want to evaporate the oil faster? If you just left a bottle sitting open, you and your family would occasionally smell the aroma coming from the bottle; if you'd like your whole room or house to be filled with that aroma, you'd use a diffuser.

The least expensive diffusers work very well for bringing aroma into the air. They often use heat to evaporate essential oil ~ others use a small fan ~ and both these types often have a small replaceable pad onto which a few drops of essential oil are placed. These diffusers have the advantage of low cost and ease-of-use, though they generally are only for small spaces, like a single bedroom or small office. More advanced diffusers, called ultrasonic diffuser, are like small ultrasonic humidification units, built to diffuse essential oil along with a mist of air. They are well-liked, particularly in dry environments ~ the ultrasonic diffusers are also made to fill a somewhat larger space with aroma.

There are other simple, inexpensive 'low-tech' methods of diffusing essential oils. These are as simple as candle warmers ~ where a candle gently evaporates a few drops of essential oil floating on a small bowl of water above a tea-light candle (don't forget the water! So many people report these devices burn their oils, but they've put them just over the heat!). A Reed Diffuser is also common, which evaporates aromatic oils through bamboo reeds and slowly into the air. Though they do most often use a synthetic dispersion agent called DPG or dipropylene glycol, which most aromatherapists will not recommend using, as at some point the diffusion process requires one breathing in its vapors.

The most advanced aromatherapy diffusers produce a fine, concentrated mist of pure essential oil, without water or heat. (Our favorite on the planet is the Florihana professional model we have here). In medicinal aromatherapy practices, therapists will sometimes have their clients actually breathe the visible vapor of an oil or oil blend to help them get well. In Europe, one can find an apparatus that looks like an oxygen tent, though instead allows the patient to breathe in oils that are considered highly anti-viral or anti-bacterial. This employs what is called a "nebulizing diffuser" (this is not the same as an "ultrasonic nebulizer" in that no water is used). The nebulizing diffusers are wonderful in that they can be used in both small spaces, just for aromatic needs, or for larger areas where a high concentration of essential oils are desired in the air. At the same time, they can take a little more attending to ~ needing the occasional cleaning ~ and typically use precision glass pieces to make the fine mist of essential oil evaporate properly. Even so, the best of these available today are small, quiet, nice looking and easy to maintain.

The essential oil one can diffuse vary as much as the diffusers themselves. If you're just wanting to make your space smell wonderful, choose a few of your favorite aromas and just go for it! Use small amounts at first to conserve your oils, while you get an idea of how much essential oil diffusing for so long suits your tastes. Some people are more sensitive than others, so take your friends and family into consideration as well. Note that children generally need much less oil to notice and have a response to, so lower your starting volume for the younger ones of your family. Blending oils from the same family is easy to do, and generally results in a very fun scent. To simply bring great cheer to a room, woods and needle oils work especially well, as their scents are broadly loved. Balsam Fir, Pine, Spruce, Black Spruce and Juniper Berry go very well together; the Citrus oils also combine well ~ you can blend virtually any combination of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Tangerine and Mandarin and make a very uplifting combination. If you like floral aromas, you can try blending your favorites of those as well, though they take a little more close attention to the ratios of each oil so that one does not overwhelm another. When you start, it's not a bad idea to take notes about how many drops of each oil you've used and adjust them to make your favorite combination the next time. There are many pre-made diffuser blends of pure essential oils available as well, so consider giving them a try.

Finally, if you're wanting to diffuse with specific therapeutic purposes in mind, you might want find some recipes from Aromatherapists created with your needs in mind. Lavender diffused during the course of the night (in very small amounts) can significantly improve sleep ~ this would be considered a therapeutic application. To improve mental clarity, Rosemary has shown positive results in many studies, and is a lovely stimulating aroma. To support the immune system, some therapists recommend a blend of Rosemary, Thyme Linalool, Hyssop and Melissa. You can pick and choose among the immune supportive oils that sound best for your needs ~ and the essential oils from herbs also seem to easily blend well together to create a fun and healing combination.

So there is a primer on diffusing essential oils. To recap, first pick the diffuser style that will suit your needs, whether you'll just like to smell the aromas in a smaller space, or diffuse significant quantities for health reasons. Next, you can blend one oil at a time (diffusers usually do not require one to clean them between oils, nor are the therapeutic effects significantly altered by this), by a pre-blended formula, or create your own diffuser mixture. Just be sure not to include any fixed or carrier oils for diffuser use (many massage formulas can be converted to diffuser use simply by removing the carrier oil). Start slowly, remembering that you'll generally need less oil than you think to produce the effect you need.

*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

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