One of the ways I decided to incorporate the benefits of essential oils into my daily routine was to diffuse them. I found that there are lots of ways to do this and set out to find the best method. Here’s what I found:
This diffuser is very effective in that the essential oil is attached directly to the device, so there is no heat or water involved. It works like a perfume atomizer to create fine particles of the pure oil and blowing them into the air so they can be absorbed faster. If you want to get a continuous and constant flow of essential oil to quickly saturate the air, this is the diffuser for you. Unfortunately, because you are getting such a strong and potent concentration of the oil, you will also run out of oil faster. It is generally recommended to use timers with these devices to run for about 15 minutes per hour to not only conserve oils, but to allow the senses to process the therapeutic effects of the oils. The downside to these diffusers is that they can be more expensive than some of the others on the market, are loud, and use up oils faster (as mentioned previously).
- Ultrasonic Diffusion
The ultrasonic device is almost like the nebulizer in that it also creates a fine mist, but this device uses ultrasonic technology that vibrates cool water inside the unit to break the essential oil into tiny micro particles which disperses the oil in a fine mist. Since heat is not used with these diffusers, the beneficial properties of the oils are not altered. Because you are using water, you will not need as much oil as with the nebulizer (so your oils will last longer), however, a smaller fraction of the mist will contain essential oil so the beneficial effects of the oils won’t be as pronounced. The mist from these devices also serves the dual purpose of not only dispersing the essential oils via the fine mist, but also humidifying the air which is great in dryer homes or during winter months when dry air can be a problem. The ultrasonic diffusers do require regular cleaning of the water basin, mist disc and sensor to ensure the longevity of the unit. Note that some units come with lights and warnings not to use citrus oils, so make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the unit.
- Evaporative Diffusion
These diffusers are very basic. They operate by using a pad or filter and a fan. The fan blows on the pad that has essential oil dropped on it and vaporizes the oil. The problem with this type of diffuser is that there is no consistency on how the oils vaporize. Lighter oils tend to evaporate faster than the heavier oils so the therapeutic properties of the oils may be diminished, especially if you want to use it in a larger room, but you will still get the aroma of the oil.
Other simple methods of evaporative diffusion include inhaling a drop of essential oil placed on a tissue or cotton ball, pendants infused with essential oils (wood, terra-cotta, lava rock), car diffusers, reed diffusers and personal inhalers!
- Heat Diffusion
This method is great if you are only looking to spread a lovely aroma throughout your home. Unfortunately, this method in not the best if you are wanting the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils. Heat changes the chemistry of essential oil so the therapeutic benefits are negligible and the purity of the oil is compromised, although your space will smell nice.
Examples of heat diffusers include candle diffusers, lamp rings, steam diffusion, electric heat diffusers.
I decided to go with the ultrasonic diffusion method and currently own two diffusers that I absolutely love. Both are different sizes and different brands, but work well for what I use them for. I will discuss them in an upcoming post.