If you have been following The Paleo Mama and other natural living websites, you’ve no doubt already read several recommendations about the practical and therapeutic benefits of using an essential oil diffuser. There are so many versatile uses for essential oil diffusers. In this article I want to give you some practical information for what, why, and how these simple little devices can enrich your life.
But we need to start by alerting you to some of the reasons not to use the trendy plug ins, aerosol sprays, and candles so popular as ways to improve the quality of your home atmosphere.
Dangers of Plug Ins, Aerosol Sprays, and Candles
Studies have confirmed that the residual chemicals from plug ins can accumulate in ever-increasing amounts in the human body over a period of time, causing health consequences. Plug ins rely on heat induction technology and special heat-activated gels, which cause a scent to be released. These gels can contain an astounding number of toxic compounds. These plug ins contain the same chemicals shown below for aerosol sprays, plus one more—Naphthalene. This chemical has been found to cause cancer in the lungs and tissue damage in lab studies. Experts believe it likely causes the same effect in humans.
Scientific studies have shown that as many as one-quarter of common household air fresheners contain chemicals that may be potentially harmful. And while our lungs have been designed to filter out toxins, the health risks are greater for people whose lungs may already be susceptible (such as asthma or COPD sufferers, and young children). Children don’t have a complete metabolic system and cannot process things in the same way that adults do.
Here is a brief list of the chemicals that may be present in aerosol sprays:
- Volatile organic compounds (1)
- Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen
- Pthalates, which have been linked to changes in hormone levels, poor semen quality, birth defects, and reproductive harm (2)
- 1,4 dichlorobenzene, which can cause modest reductions in lung function (3)
- Allergens that can cause harm to people with seasonal allergies, chronic asthma, COPD, or even just a common cold.
If you are using candles that are not 100 percent pure beeswax, or are made with 100 percent natural waxes like coconut, hemp, or soy, they are probably toxic. Many of the candles we use, including those wonderful aroma candles, have been made with paraffin wax, which gives off dangerous vapors like benezene and toluene. Some candles have wicks that contain heavy metals that become airborne and easily inhaled when burned. In addition, some of the scents and dyes used to make scented candles release harmful chemicals that can cause hormonal, behavioral and general health related issues.
Why Use an Essential Oil Diffuser?
Essential oil diffusers have been called the harbingers of the essence of beauty and health. What does an essential oil diffuser do? A simple definition is this: They enhance the environment by spreading the fragrance of herbal and essential oils throughout the air. When you use an essential oil diffuser, the essential oil permeates every part of the atmosphere.
These diffusers have both aesthetic and therapeutic purposes, and provide tremendous health and wellness benefits for their users.
Top Benefits of Using an Essential Oil Diffuser
There are many benefits from using an essential oil diffuser. I want to give you some of the most useful benefits so you will understand how these diffusers are so much better for you than the more dangerous plug ins and aerosol sprays.
- Promote Relaxation and Better Sleep—There’s nothing more calming and relaxing at the end of a hard day than breathing in the fragrant and therapeutic aroma of an essential oil diffuser filling the area with some of your favorite essential oils.
- Boost Against Seasonal Illnesses and Threats—Using a diffuser can help you fight illness in three ways: many of the essential oils you can use are powerful anti-microbics, and their vapors ward off airborne pathogens before they can invade your body. Essential oils also can be used to boost the immune system, and they also double as humidifiers to keep your airways moist and healthy so you are not so susceptible to seasonal “bugs.”
- Support Emotional Health—Diffusing essential oils can help you de-stress or can help to energize you on a busy day. They can have a lifting, hope-inspiring effect on you when you are sad or depressed. If you are having a hard getting started in the morning, they can get you going. And they are great for helping to set a romantic mood for that special occasion.
- Provide Additional Discomfort Relief—If you suffer from chronic or persistent discomfort from head tension, sore joints, and overworked muscles the essential oils you use in your diffuser can extend the effect they have when applied topically to the body.
- Lazy Moms Way to Get Oils Into Your Kids Body—If you’re like me, then you are all for things that make your life easier, as a mom, without requiring much extra time. Every morning I turn on the diffuser in our kitchen and make my kids a healthy breakfast. By just breathing the air in the kitchen, they are getting the therapeutic benefits of whatever essential oils I’m diffusing into their bodies.
- Make Your House Smell Good without the Chemicals—As mentioned above in this article, there is a myriad of chemicals and toxins that are in plug-ins, aerosols, and candles. Diffusing can make your house smell nice without any risk of breathing in chemicals that are harmful to our bodies.
- Keep the Bugs Away without the DEET—Diffusing specific essential oils like TerraShield “repellent” blend, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and clove can help keep the mosquitoes away without ruining your airways with harmful ingredients.
Types of Essential Oil Diffusers
There are four types of essential oil diffusers. Let me briefly describe each.
1. Waterless diffusers. These work like a perfume atomizer. They place essential oil into the space of the environment in the form of droplets.
- Pros: They use no heat of water, yet disperse the entire oil into the air for optimal therapeutic benefits.
- Cons: These are often the most expensive to use or buy. Because they use only essential oil, more oil is required.
- Examples: This diffuser is made of oak wood and handmade ceramic, is waterless and uses no heat. And this diffuser is the one most used by health professionals, therapists, and aestheticians.
2. Ultrasonic diffusers. These diffusers use electric current to cause a vibration that spreads essential oil microparticles into the air. This is in the form of a cold mist. No heat is applied to the oil, which keeps the essential oil’s healing properties intact. It is the most popular type of essential oil diffuser today.
- Pros: These use only a small amount of essential oil, and no heat is generated.
- 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.
- Examples: The Petal and Lumo diffuser through doTERRA are my favorites. They are a well-designed diffuser structured to take up minimal surface space while filling the air with the scents you enjoy. You can get these when you purchase an essential oil starter package here. The Petal covers about 350 square feet and the Lumo covers 500 square feet.
3. Evaporative oil diffusers. These diffusers basically cause a wind-blown diffusion of the essential oils.
- Pros: Wind-blown diffusion can be a quiet way to spread the oil’s aroma.
- Cons: It may not be a therapeutic because all the components of the whole oil are not diffused at the same time.
- Examples: This diffuser is a great way to enjoy essential oils just about anywhere—plus no heat, water, or cleaning necessary and plugs into a USB outlet
4. Heat diffusers. These diffusers are units like a candle burner, with burns under an upper dish holding the essential oils. They cause the oil to evaporate quickly.
- Pros: Diffusing by using heat is an economical and efficient way to spread the essential oil aroma.
- Cons: The heat used can change the properties of the oil at the molecular level, lessening the therapeutic benefit which is why I don’t recommend using this kind at all.
Which Diffuser Should I Use?
To decide which diffuser is best for you, first consider why you want to use one:
- Do you need one in your kitchen to get you going in the morning?
- Do you want one for its calming effect in your busy office environment?
- Are you trying to provide some healing therapeutic effects for you or your children while you deal with health issues?
- Do you or your family members need help relaxing enough to fall asleep in the evening?
- Are you looking for an emotional boost or motivation?
In addition to these questions, determine how long you want the diffuser to run. Most ultrasonic and waterless diffusers have timers to run from 1 to 16 hours. Some run constantly and then shut off. Others have an intermittent option.
What space do you need it to cover? If you have a very large room, you will want a larger diffuser or two separate diffusers to set up in opposite corners of the room.
Do you want a starter bundle of essential oils to go with your new diffuser? If so then you will want to consider a discounted starter bundle that you can purchase through me here. I think purchasing a ultrasonic diffuser (like the doTERRA Petal or Lumo) is the best for most families.
My Favorite Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe
Hopefully my article has inspired you to choose your perfect diffuser and get that wonderful, therapeutic aroma flowing. Here’s one of my favorite diffusing recipes for you to try…it smells like “fruity pebbles“!
Fruity Pebbles Diffuser Blend
- 2 Drops of Lemongrass
- 2 Drops of Lime
- 2 Drops of Grapefruit
Add to your essential oil diffuser, top with water, and enjoy sweet memories from your childhood!
Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.
—Orison Swett Marden