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Sit back, close your eyes and imagine that you are hiking along the edge of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges you have ever seen. Higher up along the edge, the distant mountains are still covered by the remnants of the last winters snow as their white caps glow like great white lights against the sun. Your mind is clear as the mountain fresh air invigorates you deep into your very soul. You continue around the curve of the next hill and immediately you are awestruck by the intensity of what you see. A valley of green lush growth, teeming with a carpet of thousands of wildflowers swaying in the wind. An aroma strikes you like no other before. You are completely invigorated yet relaxed. You never want to leave this place. A place where you are one with the earth, yourself, your thoughts and your feelings. No one else is there and a great peace exist within you.
If you can picture yourself in this setting, congratulations as you have just experienced the sensation of the use of aromatherapy. This example of the sensation was within your mind, but with the use of essential oils in diffusers, you can experience this to a higher degree within your own home. A relaxing and invigorating ‘vacation’ within yourself.
If you are new to the use of aromatherapy and/or the use of essential oil diffusers or perhaps have used them for years, understanding the workings of the diffuser and the various types of diffusers is of the utmost importance. Getting the effect and therapeutic value from your diffuser is dependant on the types of diffuser and the type of essential oil you intend to use. So let’s take a look at a few basics before we review some of the best diffusers on the market today. Let’s face it, basics are always good.
What is an essential oil?
Those lovely fragrances that you smell when you cut a flower, crush an herb or mash a leaf are all caused by the essential oils. When you perform each of these steps to a flower, herb or leaf you release the oils which are the natural aromas of the plant. These exist in all parts of plant in one form or another, some being more fragrant that others. While the essential oils used today are more refined essential oils have been used for over 6000 years by the Chinese, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Indian cultures for anything from cosmetics to drugs. Even the Bible refers to the use of oils being used for soothing the skin and feet. It’s no wonder that the uses of these oils have such a varied past being considered part of spiritualistic and ritualistic purposes as well as therapeutic and hygenic.
In olden days, aromatic plants were crushed to release these oils. Mortar and pestals were very often used to achieve the needed pressure to obtain the oil. Today, this is done through steam distillation which is a process by which bubbling steam is forced throught the plant. As the steam temperature is readily controled, it is perfect for dealing with heat sensitive essential oils. Other methods of extraction exist as well, such as vaccum (dry) distillation and ‘cold-pressed’ which is very similar to the older methods as the oils are literally squeezed out of the plant.
How they actually work is still somewhat of a mystery, but it is believed that these aromatic oils are inhaled and then the communication begins with our brain. Our sense of smell stimulates the hippocampus and amygdala portion of our brain which is where our emotions are housed. It has long been said that a smell can trigger thoughts and memories, so perhaps it is these essential oil molecules that tell our brains that we need to relax and enjoy life.
Top 12 Best Essential oil Diffuser reviews for 2016
Beneficial for what?
As mentioned previously, the use of essential oils dates back thousands of years as therapeutic in nature. In those days only locally produced oil were available and the extaction of those oil was somewhat primitive, but with modern technology almost any essential oil is available to the general public.
Scientific studies today have proven those therapeutic uses of the past and shown that use in today’s society can include ridding your home of bacteria and viruses, helping to reduce anxieties and stress, boost your entire immune systems, increase your ability to gain restful sleep and give your entire emotional aspect a boost. Additionally, it has been shown that the use of essential oils for children that are hyperactive or attention-deficient has positive effects.
Of course, different oils create different effects. Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular available on the market today.
- Sage – One of the most commonly used herbs, this is a powerful example of an essential herb oil. While the common sage plant can be used, it is a much more potent oil than needed, so the use of clary sage is recommended. Clary Sage encourages relaxation, thus helping to relieve stress and anxieties, helps insomnia, aids in relieving female discomforts, is an antispasmodic and is an aphrodisiac.
- Lavender – Lavender has such healing properties that it was once used during wars to soothe burns and other injuries to the service personnel. As an essential oil, it has a calming effect thus reducing anxiety and stress, helps with itching and bug bites and is an antispasmodic.
- Roman Chamomile – Chamomile isn’t just about tea! The essential oils in Roman Chamomile are known to relieve stress and anxiety, promote sleep, it’s antispasmodic as well as anti-inflammatory and is a sedative.
- Rose – Who doesn’t love the amazing fragrances of the rose. The symbol of love, the rose is also the essential oil queen. Great for female complaints, supports your emotional well-being, helps to regenerate cells and is an aphrodisiac.
- Rosemary – Even with it’s lovely little delicate orchid-type flower, Rosemary is clearly more that just a culinary herb. Rosemary provides a strong essential oil that aids in the clearing of congestion of the respiratory system, thus relieving the symptoms of bronchitis and flu, it encourages a clear mind and strengthens the breathing.
- Tea Tree – Another among the power herbs. Tea tree essential oils are used to support and increase your immune system as well as being antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial in nature.
- Ylang ylang – A relative newcomer, Ylang ylang is a nouishing essential oil, acting as an antidepressant and antispasmodic.
- Lemongrass – It’s not just for cooking anymore. Lemongrass has many cleansing properties as it antimicrobial and antiviral, but seconds as a potent insect repellant.
- Frankincense – Frankincense possesses the ability to strengthen the immune systems and regenrate cells.
How are they used?
Essential oils should never be taken by mouth, unless administered by a healthcare professional, as these are powerful and the results should be monitored closely. Otherwise, the traditional use is through massaging into the skin or inhaling, usually by means of using a diffuser.
No doubt, the therapeutic advantage of a massage is tremendous, but it isn’t always practical. Therefore, many prefer the use of a diffuser for personal use allowing them to enjoy the relaxing feel of a spa within their own home. Whether you are looking for modern and stylish or strictly functional, diffusers today come in many shapes and sizes with the most common ones being:
- Nebulizing Diffusers – These come in two distinct styles; cold air and ultrasonic. With a jet of air blowing across the oil, this type of diffuser can quickly saturate the air with a fine mist of oil. This offers the most effective and long lasting experience.
- Humidifying Diffusers – These type of diffusers form a type of vapor that is ore easily absorbed and help to humidify the air as well.
- Evaporative Diffusers – This diffuser actually breaks the oil into two types thus creating a fractioning of the oil. It therefore has a tendency to reduce the therapeutic values of some oils. The effect is much shorter for this type of diffuser.
- Heat Diffusers – More economic and quieter, these diffusers also can cause some fractioning of the oil and therefore reduce some value of the oil.
- Reed Diffusers – Attractive but produce a slower and more muted effect that other diffusers. Used primarily in smaller areas for more concentrated effects.
- Candle Diffusers – Not quite as effective, but they do give the ambiance many prefer. These give a more intimate effect to your setting; more personal.
How to Select A Diffuser
Selecting your diffuser depends much on the effect you want it to achieve. If you are looking for disinfectant effects, you will need to use a diffuser that creates a better concentration of oil that you would get from either a reed or candle. The Nebulizing diffuser would probably be the best choice in this case as it will give the longest lasting effect. Available in either an ‘ultrasonic’ or ‘cold-air’ unit, both are effective to use in this environment. Additionally, both of these types run relatively quietly.
If you seek the relaxing, anti-stressful and emotional supporting type of aromatherapy you need the ones that will blow over the oils to evaporate the oils in the air so that full enjoyment of the aroma can be experienced. Remembering that it is this amazing aroma that entices your sense of smell which reports directly to that portion of the brain that controls your emotions and memories, choosing the diffuser that will give you the intensity you want is a very important aspect of this selection. Use of the warming diffuser, candle, reed or other evaporative types have reportedly had excellent results as users note feeling calmer and more content, able to concentrate more effectively and improving their efficiency for studying thus improving test scores for students. All this is possible by lowering the blood pressure, reducing heart rates and allowing our brain to do what it does best for us – channel our emotions where they work best and are needed.
Here are a few basic considerations:
- The area of coverage;
- The overall effect you wish to achieve;
- The type of oil you are using;
For safe use of your diffuser, follow these hints:
- Never use the theory that ‘more is better’. Use only the proper amount of oil for the diffuser you have chosen.
- Place the diffuser in the proper location for your desired effect.
- Consider a timer, and only use for a limited period of time.
- Never let your diffuser go dry. Always use the proper amount of oil.
When it gets right down to the decision making about which diffuser to use, read reviews. There are many experts of essential oil use and diffusers that can give you insight as to the pros and cons of which diffusers work best. Take the time to educate yourself about diffusers and the specific oils you wish to use prior to making a purchase.
The goal of this discussion has been to encourage, not only the use of essential oils and diffusers, but to educate the reader as to the various aspects of both. There is much to be said today of utilizing alternative methods of caring for your health, both physical and emotional. We live in a society that is full of anxiety and stress. Just getting up and preparing for what lies ahead each day can be stressful for many.
Knowing that there can be a way for your to find a point of relaxation and wellness within your own home can be rewarding in itself. We all find our own independence rewarding when we can be at one with ourselves and find that inner peace that we so much desire. Using the proper essential oil and diffuser can help you experience that calm, peace and joy that you need to be at peace with yourself.
We have reviewed several diffusers for you to consider, to please take a look into the various styles and types of diffusers found here on our site.