Essential oils have been used for centuries to promote physical and mental wellbeing. Numerous studies have revealed the beneficial effects of essential oils and their contribution to overall health and wellbeing. They can be used in a variety of ways to reap maximum benefits and improve one’s overall quality of life.
One of the most popular methods of using essential oils is through diffusion. Diffusing essential oils can help us relax, reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and more. In this blog post, we will explore how to use essential oils for diffusion and the many benefits they can provide for our health and wellbeing.
How To Use Essential Oils For Diffusion.
There are many ways to use aromatherapy essential oils for health and well-being. However most methods can be categorized into three main modes of application:
- Aerial diffusion: for wellness, wellbeing, aerial disinfection and environmental fragrance.
- Direct inhalation: for respiratory disinfection, decongestant, expectoration as well as wellbeing.
- Topical applications: for general massage, baths, compresses, therapeutic skin care.
In this post we are focusing specifically on the first mode, Aerial Diffusion which can be achieved using a variety of methods including:
- Heat diffusers,
- Nebulizer diffusers,
- Ultrasonic diffusers,
- Evaporative oil diffusers
1. Evaporation of Essential Oils for Diffusion.
This method refers to the natural process by which the components of essential oils gradually evaporate into the air. When a bottle of oil is left open or a few drops are placed on a porous surface, the volatile molecules begin to escape from the liquid state and disperse into the surrounding atmosphere.
This method is a more passive compared to the active diffusion methods like ultrasonic or nebulizers. The rate of evaporation is influenced by factors such as room temperature, air circulation, and oil viscosity. Warmer temperatures and greater air movement tend to enhance evaporation and diffusion.
Evaporation Diffusion Products.
2. Heat Diffusion for Essential Oils
This method uses a heat source such as a candle or electric warmer, to accelerate the evaporation process. These heat gently warms the surface on which the essential oils are placed, increasing the rate of evaporation and dispersing the aroma into the surrounding environment.
Heat diffusion can be achieved through methods like using oil burners, candle diffusers, or electric warmers. The essential is usually mixed with a carrier or water and placed on the heated surface. The heat causes the carrier liquid to evaporate releasing the essential oil molecules into the air.
Heat diffusion can be effective in creating a pleasant scent in a room and enhancing the ambiance. However, it’s important to use caution with any heat sources to prevent accidents or overheating of oils. It’s worth noting that heat may not be suitable for all essential oils. Some experts suggest that certain oils have lower heat tolerance which may negate their therapeutic properties when heated.
Heat Diffusion Products.
3. Nebulizer Diffusion.
These diffusers are commonly known as atomizers. They break the aromatherapy essential oils into separate molecules and disperse them into the environment. Using a nebulizer is regarded as one of the best therapeutic methods of diffusion as the molecules are easily absorbed by the nasal and lung tissues.
A nebulizer has two main parts: the base that contains a motor and pump and the oil nebulizing chamber, usually a clear glass container. It is the size of the pump, and not the glass container, that determines the speed that the essential oils are nebulized and the area of coverage.
They are better suited to thin essential oils such as lemon, lime, orange. The more viscous oils, such as sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver can build up over time which then clogs and blocks the nebulizer. However all this means is that the devise will require regular cleaning to remove any oil build up.
Nebulizer Diffusion products:
4. Ultrasonic Diffusion:
These diffusers work by using ultrasonic vibrations to break down essential oils into tiny particles. The particles are then dispersed into the air as a fine mist, creating a pleasant aroma in the room. The diffuser typically contains water, which is agitated by the vibrations, causing the oils to mix with the water and create the mist that is released. And it is not just the oils that benefit us, as the water particles released act like a mini humidifier providing relief from dryness and irritation.
There are many types of ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers available and they tend to be affordable.
Ultrasonic Diffusion Products.
How To Use Essential Oils For Diffusion Aromatherapy
These are the most commonly used oils associated with Aromatherapy. Essential Oils are the fragrant oils extracted from plants through either steam distillation or expression. These oils can be used in all our diffusion methods, including reed diffusers, steam diffusion and warm baths and burners.
The Absolutes are also fragrant oils but are extracted from the flowers or delicate plant tissue. The absolutes are extracted using solvent or super-critical fluid extraction.
Herbal distillates or hydrosols:
Hydrosols, also known as herbal distillates or floral waters, are aromatic water-based solutions that are created through the process of steam distillation. They are produced by extracting the essential oils and therapeutic compounds from plants and capturing them in the resulting water vapor, which is then condensed back into a liquid form.
The production of hydrosols involves placing plant matter, such as leaves, flowers, or other plant parts, in a steam distillation apparatus. As steam passes through the plant material, it breaks down the essential oil glands and captures the volatile compounds. The steam, carrying both the essential oil and water-soluble compounds, is then cooled and condensed, resulting in two separate components: the essential oil floating on top, and the aromatic water, or hydrosol, collected at the bottom.
These herbal distillates have a subtle aroma and are much less concentrated than the essentials, making them safer to use directly on the skin without dilution. They retain the beneficial properties of the plants, offering a milder and gentler version of the plant’s essential oil. Hydrosols are commonly used in various applications such as skincare, aromatherapy, culinary uses, and even as natural cleaning products.
One of the most popular uses is as natural toners, cleansers, and moisturizers for the skin. And they can also be used as facial mists, body sprays, or added to bathwater for a soothing and aromatic experience.
Different varieties of hydrosol offer specific health benefits depending on the plants they are derived from. For example, rose is known for its moisturizing and skin-toning properties, so aids dry or mature skin. Lavender is soothing and calming, often used for relaxation purposes or to ease skin irritations. Chamomile is known for its calming effects, making it suitable for sensitive or inflamed skin. And Peppermint hydrosol is refreshing and cooling, so is often used to revitalize and invigorate the skin.
They are also an excellent natural alternative for people with sensitivities to essential oils, as they are less concentrated and milder. They provide a gentle way to experience the benefits of plants.
How Does Diffusion Help Health?
Diffusion is often used for holistic wellness and wellbeing as well as alongside allopathic medical treatment. Common uses for diffusion Aromatherapy include:
- Relief from pain
- Ease stress and anxiety
- Boost energy levels
- Enhance short-term memory,
- Encourage Relaxation,
- Prevent hair loss,
- Reduce skin irritation and eczema-induced itching.
- Treat fungal infections
- Boost Anti inflammatory and anti bacterial applications
When we use an Aromatherapy diffuser we enable the essential oils to be released into the environment in a controlled way and over a set period of time. These oils transform into a sensory experience when inhaled.
Diffusion offers two primary ways to benefit us and our health:
1. Influence on the Brain and Limbic System
When we inhale the aroma of essential oils through diffusion, the olfactory system carries these scents to the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is associated with emotions, memories, and hormone regulation. The aroma can stimulate certain areas of this system, triggering various emotional and physiological responses. For instance, lavender vapor has been found to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety by influencing the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which induces calming effects. Similarly, citrus oils like bergamot or lemon can uplift mood and induce a sense of happiness.
The olfactory system’s connection to the limbic system also explains why certain aromas can evoke vivid memories or emotions. This unique interaction can have profound effects on our mental and emotional well-being, helping us relax, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and even support us gain a better nights sleep.
2. Direct Pharmacological Effects of Essential Oils:
Diffused essential oils can have direct pharmacological effects on our bodies. When inhaled, the diffused aromatic molecules enter the respiratory system, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, they travel throughout the body and exert their effects.
Different oils have distinct therapeutic properties. For example, tea tree has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help purify the air and support respiratory health. Eucalyptus is known for its decongestant properties, which can relieve nasal congestion and facilitate breathing. While peppermint oil has been shown to help ease headaches and improve focus and mental clarity.
When we diffuse essential oils we disperse them into the air, ensuring a constant yet gentle exposure to their properties. Inhaling them can provides a range of potential benefits such as respiratory support, enhancing the immune system, relieving tension, and improving cognitive function.