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
For disinfecting the air in your environment, you need to evaporate a relatively high concentration of essential oils. The only way to do this effectively, while conserving the oils to keep costs to a minimum is to use a “nebulizing” diffuser in conjunction with a timer system. While these diffusers will have a somewhat higher initial cost, they’re the only diffusers that will output “therapeutic” doses of essential oils for every possible application. These diffusers “nebulize” the oils, making them into a fine, quickly evaporating mist. This is also the diffuser that will diffuse aroma in the largest area; so even if you’re only wanting a pleasing aroma in your home, for over 800 square feet, this is the diffuser of choice.
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
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.
Conserving Your Oil Supply: Use A Timer 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.
So What Would You Like To Smell Today?
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.
Using Essential Oils Therapeutically: Choose Your Diffuser, Choose Your Oils, Away You Go!
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 Ananda Apothecary carries some profoundly therapeutic essential oils, including pure organic helichrysum — with many diverse healing properties — and geranium, having several important anti-fungal and anti-microbial therapeutic actions.
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