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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Choosing The Best Diffuser For Your Needs

Essential Oil Diffusers: An Amazing Array Of Health Benefits For Your Family

Essential oils are recently in the limelight of the alternative medicine scene. Professional aromatherapists have said for years that essential oils' greatest gift to mankind will be the treatment and prevention of infectious illness -- and now science is fully validating this claim. Plus oils have also been scientifically shown to make people happier and lower their stress levels (among a great many other therapeutic actions). What's the easiest way to use these wonderful natural medicines for yourself and your family? Simple inhalation! And what's the best way to do this? By using an essential oil diffuser. Here's a look at all the medicinal benefits of inhalation of essential oils, and a guide to choosing the right diffuser for your needs.

The Data Is In: The Science of Aroma Medicine

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.

The Right Diffusers For A Healthy Immune System

You can imaging that in order to best disinfect the air in your surroundings, you'd need a little bit more essential oil evaporating then, say, the scent from an aromatherapy candle. To get this amount of output requires a "nebulizing" diffuser. To "nebulize" an essential oil means to make a very fine mist, which quickly and easily evaporates. Some diffuser manufacturers claim their diffusers make smaller droplets of mist than others, but the truth is they all will work. The droplets all "disappear" completely upon leaving the diffuser, without any residue around the machine. To best conserve your oils while still creating these therapeutic effects, you'll want a timer system too -- some come with them built-in, though the most versatile will be external, fully-programmable timers you can find online or in a hardware store.

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.

Simple Diffusers To Deliver Effective Aromas

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.

Automatic On/Off Cycles 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.

Selecting The Best Oils For Your Needs

Each essential oil has a unique chemistry; the unique chemistry of each oil gives it its aroma and its therapeutic action. For emotional support -- oils that make you happy -- consider the "Needle" oils. Oils distilled from Spruce, Fir, and Pine needles are very popular to give your home the scent of being deep in the forest. You can imagine how pleasant that may be! Other anti-depressant oils include the citrus oils (virtually all the oils pressed from the peels of citrus fruit are considered very uplifting) and some folks really enjoy the florals: Rose Geranium, Rose, and Neroli. Lavender essential oil is THE most studied oil for calming and rest. There are many resources on the internet to help you find the oils you enjoy smelling, with the psychological energetic profile you're interested in. Most oils in this category are safe for all ages -- only Peppermint, used for invigorating mental activity, is not recommended for use with younger children.

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.

In Conclusion: Diffusers Make Aroma-Therapy Simple

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 "pumkin 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.


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