What is an essential oil diffuser? What’s the hype? Why should I care?

If you’re health conscious in any sort of way, like I am or have friends that like to give the latest lowdown about what’s going in the world or you happen to have access to the internet 😉 , you most likely have heard the buzzwords: “aromatherapy” & “essential oils”. The searches and traffic for these terms have definitely increased in recent years. If those ring any sort of bell, I will venture to say you’ve also had heard the accompanying buzzwords: “essential oil diffuser” or “aromatherapy diffuser”.

But do you know what those are exactly? And why everyone is making such a big deal about them lately? After all, essential oils have been used for quite some time…. thousands of years. You may also be wondering: what in the world this has to do with negative ions? After all, that’s why I’ve made this website in the first place.

Well, hopefully, I’ll dispel some confusion by defining essential oils, their different types of diffusers, and why they are so beneficial especially in how they relate to negative ions. Along with that, I’ll recommend some helpful, highly-rated products while shedding some light on the sudden hype around them because I definitely heard it, but, frankly, at the time, I didn’t understand or care to understand it. I do now. Let me tell you why…

But first, a ridiculously cute photograph of a gorilla pondering the existence of essential oil diffusers and their massive therapeutical impact on human society:

a ridiculously cute photograph of a gorilla pondering the existence of essential oil diffusers and their massive therapeutical impact on human society

Ok, the essentials…

Essential oils are just plant oils that are “essential”, meaning they contain the fragrance of whatever plant they were extracted from. This usually done by distillation (select boiling and condensation). Once in a concentrated liquid form, they can be spread onto the skin, digested into the stomach (usually in a diluted soft gel form), or inhaled into the lungs.

Essential oils are widely experienced to help alleviate symptoms of discomfort & disease and promote feelings of well-being. Although they are becoming increasingly popular today by the growing amounts of research into their medicinal effectiveness, the utilizing in countless consumer products, and the continuous use for caregiving dating back thousands of years, they do not have sufficient scientific evidence yet to conclude that they in fact “cure” any disease.

some aromatic and essential oil bottles that can be used to dispense by a diffuser

Popular essential oils include lavender, frankincense, peppermint, rosemary, rose, lemongrass, oregano, and many more. Essential oils are commonly thought in the mainstream consciousness as just a natural convenient way to fill a home with pleasant scents by way of some kind of vapor device like a nebulizing diffuser (more on that in a second), but they are actually part of an entire branch of alternative medicine called aromatherapy, the therapeutic practice of using essential oils and other aromatic botanicals.

For example, when you get a massage, your masseuse might use German chamomile to help soothe and loosen up your tight, sore muscles OR if you get a boo boo scrape on your knees from riding your Segway too fast down the street at your family reunion BBQ, your auntie Cheryll might put lavender on it to help disinfect it while diffusing Frankincense in the spare bedroom you’re laying down and staring at the ceiling in to calm you down long enough to realize you’re a grown adult. (Sorry, segway-ers, but really… is it all that it’s cracked up to be?)

The Diffuser

Sounds like a bad parody knock-off of the Terminator or Robo-Cop, huh? Well, no it’s the proper term for the device or machine that vaporizes your preferred essential oil or botanical into the air so you can breathe it into your lungs which is apparently the best way for its benefits to enter your bloodstream. There are several different kinds:

  • Nebulizing. Think of this like how a perfume bottle works: a vacuum created by a jet of air being blown across a tube that takes oil from the bottom to the top where airflow sweeps the surface of the oil to be dispersed as a fine thin mist. This is the strongest known diffuser and uses the most oil. Also, this can produce super-essential negative ions with oils like bergamot, cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange.
  • Ultrasonic. Same concept, but high vibrational frequencies are made by a sonic disc underneath water which breaks the oil into smaller particles that are dispersed as a mist. Used as a humidifier and uses the least amount of oil. Although, the disc needs to be cleaned often so oil buildup doesn’t stop it from vibrating as well.
  • Evaporative. These use a fan to blow on a mini-pad doused in oil to make it evaporate quickly into a mist to be blown with the air into the room. These are quiet and used in small areas (can even be used without a fan for personal necklaces and bracelets). Lighter, more sensitive oils disperse faster than heavier, thicker oils so they can release at different times.
  • Heat. Same concept but the use of heat to make oils evaporate faster. These usually produce strong smells but the higher the heat the greater the risk of chemically changing the oil which can possibly lessen its effects.

So why an essential oil diffuser?

Essential oils and a diffuser

Well, I thought you’d never ask! 😀 There are many benefits to diffusing essential oils but here are just a few of the main ones:

  • they smell great (duh…peppermint and rosemary)
  • they help  you breathe better because they are antimicrobial meaning they kill dangerous microorganisms (orange, eucalyptus, lemongrass)
  • relaxation; promote sleep, de-stress (lavender and chamomile)
  • they can also energize your mood (grapefruit, rose, jasmine)
  • better & safer than burning candles
  • improve focus by regulating your mood and energy (lemon and pine)
  • keep you feeling “cool” physically in your body and socially to all your anti-hipster friends (wintergreen, mint)
  • save you money! (fewer candles to burn through, fewer doctor visits, more productivity, better sleep, lower a/c bills)

And why exactly are people making a big deal out of them lately? Well, for a few reasons. One, people, in general, are getting more health conscious like exercising, eating right, being holistic/preventative. Two, this is because of the rising cost of health care, the wonderful world of the internet, and how easy it is to consume and spread interesting helpful information when surfing it. Three, because of this widespread awareness, people are realizing that health is not just dictated by the body but also by the emotions and what better way to complement the caretaking of your emotions than essential oils?

“The hype is real”.

I think I said that wrong…

Ok, so which one do I get?

Not all diffusers are made equal and this information can seem like overload. Let me make it simple for you. You’ll want to stay clear of the heated ones if you’re a first-time buyer because the extra heat can change the chemical composition of your oils if you’re not careful. The evaporative ones are ok if you just want the aroma to spread around a small area but if you’re like most people, I think you want it to be spread around your living room or bedroom so you need something stronger.

So we are left with a nebulizer and ultrasonic diffusers. If you do some searching around, you’ll see most people agree that a nebulizer is your best bet because it releases the most bang for your buck to give you the full effect of your essential oil and it’s also not hard to clean (no water or heat used) PLUS they can give you negative ions with the right oils! That reason alone is worth getting one. 😀  BUT it does come with some downsides that you’ll want to consider depending on your preference.

You’ll end up paying for more oils with a nebulizer because it uses more AND this can work against you since it’s advised to only inhale aromas for 15-mins at a time to allow ample time for your lungs to adjust otherwise instead of being therapeutic it can become harmful. If that’s fine for you, I say go with one that has a timer like the Organic Aromas Nebulizing Pure Essential Oil Aromatherapy Diffuser.

If buying a lot of essential oils and inhaling a lot of essential oils is a problem for you, I say go with the super-affordable and very highly-rated URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser.

So there you have it!

Any questions? Learn something? 🙂

Leave a comment.

—Francesco

 

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