Diffusers vs oil burners

written by Anthony Zappia | WELLBEING COMMUNITY BLOGGER


    One of the most popular ways to use essential oils is aromatically, i.e. to breathe in/inhale the essential oil. Essential oils that are put into the air are able to rid our environment of nasty odors or dangerous aerial bacteria. They can also reach our brain via the olfactory nervous system and so have an impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. The typical ways that essential oils are used in this way are through oil burners, diffusers or simply opening a bottle and inhaling. You can also make up a spray bottle using some water, and I’ll give you a recipe later that you can use.  Of these I’m going to strongly suggest you don’t use an oil burner.

Oil burners generally work by placing an oil in a ceramic dish, with or without water and then placing a candle or heat source underneath to heat and vaporize the essential oil into the air around you. They look great, even serene in a room, but you will get absolutely no therapeutic benefit from it. Essential oils contain very volatile and sensitive compounds which will be damaged by the heat. If you just want a nice smell in the room, use a plain fragrant oil in the burner instead, but don’t expect a therapeutic benefit.

That leaves the last 2 options: diffusers and inhaling from the bottle. The latter is fine, but if you want the effect of the oil to be dispersed over an entire room, then clearly the diffuser is the way to go. If you work in a clinic or high pressure office a diffuser with lavender oil can be a great way to calm people down. In a learning environment, you might want to use something like peppermint oil to keep the students alert. Now there are different kinds of diffusers. Most typically use air, but there are also those that use water to spread the oils into the air.

A cold air diffuser (sometimes known as a nebulizer) works by forcing the oils through a pinhole with high pressure air. You end up with a micro-fine vapor that stays in the air for some time. The oils are also more energized and the oxygen carried in their molecules increased, because they are being forced out at a high velocity. This is a great way to clean and purify the air in a room. With diffusers that use water instead of air you just need to be careful that you aren’t in an environment that suffers with mold and mildew, as these can be exacerbated by the presence of water molecules in the air.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of a diffuser:

* Check the thickness or viscosity of an oil as this can block up your diffuser
* Start by diffusing oils for up to 15 minutes a day and as you become accustomed increase the diffusing time up to 2 hours per day.
* If you can connect your diffuser to a timer all the better as then you can control the length and duration of diffusing.
* Place the diffuser as high as you can in the room so that the oil mist falls through the air.
* Wash your diffuser before using another oil or oil blend

And here are some essential oils you might like to try diffusing:

* Lemon. Great for purifying and cleaning the air. Try it after a party, especially if you’ve had people smoking in the room.
* Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) or Eucalyptus Globulus. These oils will kill a lot airborne bacteria. Also great for purifying a room. Especially good to use in a room where someone is suffering from a respiratory infection.
* Lavender. Very calming, relaxing and de-stressing.
* Peppermint. Try this if you are studying for a course.
* Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii or Boswellia Sacra). Frankincense is known as a spiritual oil. Try diffusing this in a room just before you sit and meditate or even doing yoga.

If you don’t want to acquire a diffuser, there are some other ways of diffusing essential oils into the air around you. You can try putting a few drops of oil on a cotton ball or tissue and place it in the heating or air conditioning vent in your office or home. I also mentioned earlier on that you can make up a spray. Add a few drops of your essential oil to a spray bottle or dispenser along with 1 cup of distilled or purified water and shake. If you want to try a great recipe for an air freshener, use the following:

* 20 drops of lavender oil
* 10 drops of lemon oil
* 6 drops of bergamot oil
* 5 drops of lime oil
* 5 drops of grapefruit oil.

You can also use humidifiers and vaporizers, but be mindful that some essential oils will react with plastic. And be sure to only use pure and unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils.

Further Reading:

To burn or not to burn…Oil burners and diffusers
Setting the mood…Essential oils for happy customers and productive staff

For more great home ideas, why not check out our Wellbeing Directory

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Anthony Zappia writes a regular blog about health and social issues, areas that he's passionate about. Twelve years ago he became especially interested in essential oils and their ability to enhance health and wellbeing. Anthony continues to follow the latest research and is himself a user of essential oils.