If you've recently entered the world of aromatherapy or have been interested in doing so, you personally know or have heard about how beneficial it really is for us. Essential oils are gaining popularity quickly worldwide, and with reason. If you’d like a basic introduction to oils you can go over to my post Why You Need to Get Into Essential Oils
Aromatherapy can help us heal physically, mentally and spiritually. The aromatic molecules released from these essential oil plant compounds when diffused enter our bloodstream and has a direct effect on our brain and how we feel.
Types Of Diffusers
If you’re shopping for oils you’ll also need to shop for a good diffuser. There exists four different types of essential oil diffusers. These include Nebulizing, Ultrasonic, Heat, and Evaporative diffusers. Each diffuser has its own unique method for getting essential oils into the air. This can be a little overwhelming when first getting started with oils. To help you make an informed decision, here is a breakdown of each diffuser and its associated pros and cons.
1. Nebulizing Diffusers
Nebulizing diffusers break down the essential oil into tiny particles through the use of a high velocity, pressurized air stream and jet nozzle. When the essential oil is released, it goes into the air in a fine mist. This method does not alter the chemical composition—it diffuses the entire oil at once so you don’t get the more volatile components first and then the heavier later. The particle size is small enough to be easily inhaled.
Pros: Nebulizers use no heat or water, yet disperse the entire oil into the air for optimal therapeutic benefits.
Cons: Nebulizers are often the most expensive diffusers to buy and use. Because these diffusers use only essential oil, you will require more oil per use than with other types of diffusers.
2. Ultrasonic Diffusers
This is the most popular type of diffuser and it’s also the one I use. Ultrasonic diffusers use water and electronic frequencies to create a fine mist from the essential oil and water. Ultrasonic vibrations are created by a small disk under the surface of the water which causes the essential oil to break up into tiny micro particles. The vibrations propel the aromatic molecules into the air.
Pros: Ultrasonic models only use a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is used to generate the mist in an ultrasonic diffuser. Your oils can last you much longer. This method also can act as both a diffuser and a humidifier, a helpful characteristic if you live in a dry place, like me during dry Canadian winters! You also have A LOT of cool choices for these diffusers online.
Cons: Only a small fraction of the mist is essential oil, and it depends on the air current already in the room to disperse the oil. May not want to add more water to the air if you live in a humid place.
This is the kind of diffuser I use on a daily basis and the most popular. Amazon has a wide selection of affordable ultrasonic diffusers. Have fun!
3. Heat Diffusers
As their name suggests, heat diffusers use heat elements to help the essential oil gradually evaporate into the air. Sometimes they may use the oil mixed with water. Some heat diffusers use very high levels of heat to cause a stronger aroma, however, the best heat diffusers will use a very low heat to avoid drastically changing the chemical constituents of the oils being diffused.
Pros: This is an economical and efficient way to quietly diffuse the oil throughout the room.
Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level. This means that the therapeutic benefit of an oil may lessen or change entirely.
4. Evaporative Diffusers
Evaporative diffusion is using air flow to spread the scent of the essential oils. A fan blows air through a filter, such as a tissue or a pad that has essential oils dropped onto it. The moving air causes the oil to evaporate quickly, and the air with the evaporated oil is blown into and around the room. With this method, you will get the oil in segments; the lighter, more volatile components evaporate first, while the heavier components evaporate last.
Pros: This method diffuses the oils quietly around the room.
Cons: It may not be as therapeutically beneficial as the other methods because all of the components of the oil are not diffused at the same time.
5. Use Your Hands!
This is the old-fashioned way of using oils aromatically but still works great. You can simply put a drop of the oil into each hand, rub your hands together, make a tent over your nose with your hands (keeping it our of your eyes) and take a few deep breaths.
Pros: Quickest and easiest delivery method. Can be done anywhere and on-the-go if you have no diffuser with you. Only take one to two drops of oil.
Cons: Can only be experienced by the user. The aromatic particles will not be dispersed throughout the room. The skin absorbs the oil quickly, therefore the effect won’t be experienced for long.
How Long Should You Be Diffusing Essential Oils?
Although there is no standard or regulation on how long you should be diffusing your essential oils, there is a general guideline to follow. You want to diffuse your oils for 15-20 minutes. This allows enough time for the scent molecules to disperse throughout the room.
How Many Drops of Oil Should I Diffuse?
A general best practice is to diffuse 3-5 drops of essential oil per 100 mL of water in an ultrasonic diffuser and 5-15 drops of essential oil in a nebulizer depending on the potency of the oil.
Some diffusers come with a timer and will stop after enough oil has been diffused. Each diffuser is different in shape, look, size and function though and should come with general guidelines or a user-friendly manual. Make sure you carefully read and follow the instructions.
One important aspect to know about diffusion is that there are a number of factors that affect how well diffusion works. Each essential oil will stay in the air for a different amount of time.
- Peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus usually evaporate within an hour or two.
- Rosemary, geranium, and chamomile, often aromatically evaporate within two to four hours.
- Myrrh, cedarwood, and ginger can be detected by olfaction for five or more hours and may even linger for days.
- Creating balanced synergies and oil blends can help make a scent last longer or enhance overall therapeutic benefit. This is why diffuser blends are fantastic for mood lifting, insomnia, concentration, etc.
Essential Oil Diffusion Tips
1. If you’re just getting started with oils, start slowly with diffusing times. This gives your body and your brain some time to become more accustomed to the oils. Start at 5 minutes and see how you feel. Gradually increase diffusion times as you please.
2. The aromatic mist that is diffused usually rises and falls. By putting your diffuser up high, like on a shelf, you will allow the aromatic particles to fall and fill a larger parameter in the room.
3. Always properly clean your diffuser after each use. If you are blending oils in your diffuser, the mix will most likely create an oily residue over time. It is important to clean the diffuser regularly to avoid residue build-up, which can negatively affect the efficiency and delivery of the diffusion. I’ve already made another post about how to clean and maintain your diffuser.
4. You don’t want to overwhelm your senses. Blend a maximum of three essential oils when making blends for best results.
5. HAVE FUN: these oils are seriously amazing at helping you align yourself physically, mentally and spiritually!
As usual, I am always available for contact if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts!
Keep smiling :)