Understanding Diffusion

To be effective, essential oils must be disbursed throughout the environment. In the world of aromatherapy, the proper term for this type of disbursement is diffusion. There are many ways aromatherapy oils can be diffused including several methods that make use of items you likely have lying around the house. Commercial solutions are items that have been created especially for the purpose of diffusing aromatherapy oils and they’re available for purchase.

Overview of commercial aromatherapy diffusion solutions

A lamp ring fits on a light bulb. This popular option is made using terra cotta. The lamp ring has a groove into which essential oils are placed. When the lamp is turned on, the heat from the bulb heats the ring which heats the oils. As oils are heated, they’re diffused into the environment.

Also made from terra-cotta, clay pots are another type of inexpensive commercial solution. Essential oils aren’t heated. They’re simply poured into and stored within the pot. To operate, you remove the cork and the aroma from the oils is released.

A candle diffuser is a self-contained unit that utilizes a small candle as a heat source and a tray for holding oils. When the candle is lit, the heat from the flame warms the oils which then release their aromas. Candle diffuser styles abound but as with all diffusers that utilize heat, there is the potential of degrading the oil’s properties.

Fan diffusers don’t utilize heat and are more efficient at disbursing an aroma. Essential oils are placed onto an absorbent pad which is then inserted into the appropriate fan opening. Cool air blows over the pad, picks up the scent and carries it throughout the room. Electric or battery-operated, they’re portable but can be noisy. To be effective, it’s important to look for a fan large enough to accommodate the room size.

An electric heat diffuser is a unit that first heats oils and then uses a built-in fan to diffuse them.

The most sophisticated (and expensive) aromatherapy diffusion product is the nebulizer. This 3-part system consists of an electric pump, glass container and a tubing/cork. The pump forces small amounts of essential oils through the twisted glass. This action breaks oils into tiny droplets which are then disbursed throughout the room. The oils aren’t degraded, just reduced in size, which helps to maximize aromatherapy benefits.

Overview of household aromatherapy diffusion solutions

If you’d rather not spend any money on diffusers, you can easily make your own or you can use candles. The simplest household diffusion system needs only a tissue and oil. Onto the tissue place several drops of essential oil and position tissue nearby. Aromas are released from the tissue with movement. Although effective, the aroma released isn’t very strong and doesn’t last long.

Steam diffusion is quick and needs just boiling water and essential oils. All you do is place about 10 drops of oil into boiling water. The steam carries molecules of evaporated oil throughout the room. Using candles to diffuse aromas is easy too. Light a candle and allow to burn for a few minutes. This will melt some wax around the base of the wick. Blow out the flame and add a few drops into the melted wax. Reignite the wick so the aromas can start dispersing throughout the room. Although steam diffusion and candles are effective household diffusion methods, the aroma released isn’t long-lasting and the heat can damage the properties of the oils.

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