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The Amazing Array Of Benefits From Diffusing Essential Oils

Gerry ObertonOct 28, 2009 | edited Sep 23, 2010 - by @GerryOberton

Essential oils are a curiosity to many folks — they smell nice, but they're just not sure what to do with them, never mind how to get the most from aromatherapy's science-proven benefits (like antiviral, antibacterial and stress-reducing actions). So where to start?! Inhale! Breathe them in! By using a diffuser to accelerate the evaporation of oils in the air around you, not only does your place smell great, but its the best way to use the most sought-after uses of aromatherapy: immune system and emotional support. We'll start with a quick review of the potential benefits of diffusing essential oils for your family, with specific notes for children, then look at the best diffusers for each use.

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 Best Diffuser For Protection From Infectious Illness

In order to best disinfect the air in your surroundings, you can imagine you'd need a little bit more essential oil than what evaporates 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.

Diffusers for “Aroma”therapy: Anti-Stress and Emotional Support

For simple aromatic use — where oils are used for uplifting your spirits, calming or helping your children sleep, or just making your environment smell fantastic, a “fan” or “warming” diffuser is totally appropriate. The fan diffusers work by blowing air from a small fan over a pad that has been saturated with essential oils — the warming diffusers work the same way, but with a little bit of heat (they don't get so hot as to burn anyone, and are safe to use around kids). The fan units will emit a quiet hum when on, the warming units will be silent — and the fan units will generally emit aroma into a moderately-sized space, while the less-expensive warming units are suited for a single room.

Use Oils Efficiently with a Timer

It's a known fact that if you smell the same aroma for hours on end, eventually you won't notice it any longer. Also, once your environment has enough oil evaporated in the air, no more is needed for the disinfecting effect until the oil naturally dissipates. A timer helps conserve your essential oils by only evaporating your oils during the “on” cycle. The “off” cycle in effect lets your nose forget the oils are in the room. Therapeutic timing cycles are around 5 minutes “on”, 25 minutes “off” — this is completely flexible depending on the diffuser, the room, and your desired “aroma strength”. Some diffusers come with timers “built-in”, but for those that don't, a common appliance or lamp timer will do the job. The better timers will be infinitely adjustable, allowing you to set the diffuser cycles precisely — these timer units are called “digital, programmable” timers.

Choosing Oils For Your Purpose

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

Diffusing essential oils is easy to do, and gives the best results for certain aroma-therapeutic applications — specifically those to do with preventing colds and flu, supporting emotions and bringing calm to a family environment. There are many diffusers to choose from — generally the more expensive units will offer the greatest potential for therapeutic uses, but they're certainly not necessary to get started. The lowest-cost warming diffusers are only about $12, simply to use, and are very durable. This, and several essential oil samples is a great way to get started using the therapeutic aspects of essential oils and aromatherapy.

The author has made available much information about aromatherapy, such as using sage oil and other aromatherapy oils.

categories: aromatherapy,essential oil,immune system,illness,disease,depression,family,children,home,women,alternative health,wellness,health

Tammie Lavigne Author Oct 30, 2009
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practical it is! thanks for this great post! very informational, it touches on many benefits of different essential oils to everybody ? adults and children http://www.aromatyme.com/

edited Oct 30, 2009 - by @TammieLavigne29204
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