Beyond the Blender
Essential oils can be an effective healing tool. Here are easy ways to diffuse them
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Essential oils tap a plant’s unique scent from its flowers, leaves, roots, bark, and other parts and offer a natural way to scent your home. But beyond scent, aerial diffusion offers an easy way to deploy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. Diffusing the right essential oils can quickly affect your mood and physical health.
You don’t have to invest in an expensive diffuser to enjoy aromatherapy. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a tissue or handkerchief, hold to your nose, and breathe deeply. The aroma will revive or relax, while the oil’s aromatic properties instill their therapeutic value at a cellular level.
Aromatherapy pendants and bracelets are another way to diffuse scent. Or pour your favorite oils into a pocket-sized inhaler. These portable methods are especially effective in enclosed or public areas where others may be sensitive to scent.
Diffusion uses a device or method to expel essential oil molecules in the air, and there are several ways to disperse aromatics. Combine your favorite essential oils with distilled water in a glass bottle to create room sprays. Or choose a low-cost electric fan diffuser or plug-in unit that utilizes disposable cotton pads dampened with essential oils. For the simplest of diffusers, place a vessel of warm water with several drops of essential oil on a sunny windowsill or warm radiator.
A nebulizer is a device that compresses air to atomize essential oils into airborne molecules. They disperse a steady stream of pure essential oils and are best for large areas. Also popular are diffusers that employ ultrasonic waves to vibrate water, sending a cool vapor into the air. Both devices emit a fine aromatic mist more easily absorbed by our systems than mere scent.
TOP ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THE DIFFUSER
On its own, the calming scent of LAVENDER is a lovely way to relax. Combine with comforting SWEET ORANGE ( Citrus sinensis) or rich, woody CEDARWOOD ( Cedrus atlantica) to create the perfect atmosphere for sleep (or anytime you need to de-stress). Battling a cold? Add clarifying EUCALYPTUS ( Eucalyptus globulus) to the mix to ease sinus congestion.
To help boost flagging spirits, choose refreshing, uplifting oils of PEPPERMINT ( Mentha piperita) and ROSEMARY ( Rosmarinus officinalis), both known for stimulating mental focus. For an additional lift, drop in essential oil of GRAPEFRUIT ( Citrus paradisi).
Diffuse citrus oils like LEMON ( Citrus limon) and BERGAMOT ( Citrus bergamia) for an aromatic wake-up call. For an additional kickstart, add a drop of LEMONGRASS ( Cymbopogon citratus). Spice oils such as CINNAMON ( Cinnamomum zeylanicum), CARDAMOM ( Elettaria cardamomum), and GINGER ( Zingiber officinale) will enhance any gathering. They’re naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so they combat airborne germs.
Distilling your favorite oil will promote a sense of wellbeing. Start with 1 to 2 drops per ounce of water, then experiment with more to satisfy your nose. Since only a small amount of oil actually reaches the body’s blood system, diffusion is safe for almost everyone. Just keep doses lower around children or the elderly, both of whom may be more affected by strong scent or the properties of the essential oils used.