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is the process of dispersing essential oils so that their aroma
fills a room or an area with the natural fragrance. From the simple
to the elaborate, many different methods exist for diffusing essential
oils into a room. Three easy methods exist which can be done with
things you probably already have in your household. In addition,
there are numerous diffusers and diffusing devices available
for purchase. This article will detail the different types of devices
and methods that may be used.
Try AromaWeb's Diffuser
Blends once you've selected your diffuser.
Aromatherapy Diffuser Methods That Can Be Done With Items Already
in Your Household
Simple Tissue Diffusion
Place 3-4 drops of essential oil on a tissue.
Place the tissue near you. As movement occurs in the room (i.e.
as you move or as someone walks by),the aroma will waft through
This method can be used anywhere and is quickly transportable. This
is an ideal method to use in public (i.e. in a work cubicle or on
an airplane) when you can't diffuse essential oils throughout the
room or space.
This method does not emit much aroma into a room.
Boil 2 cups of water. Pour the water into a bowl and add up to
10 drops of essential oil to the water. Use fewer drops if you are
using an essential oil or synergy that may cause irritation to your
mucous membranes (i.e. cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, pine, thyme,
cajuput). Use of energizing or relaxing oils can make this method
useful any time of day or night. The steam will heat the oils and
cause them to evaporate quickly into the room.
This method will quickly diffuse the oils into a room.
The aroma is not exceptionally long-lasting.
Light a pure beeswax or soy candle and allow it to burn for
about 5 minutes. Extinguish the candle, place 1 drop of essential
oil in the melted wax (not on the wick!) and then relight the candle.
Essential oils are highly flammable, so great care must be used.
This method can be used most anywhere that a candle may be used.
Essential oils are flammable, so great care must be used. The aroma
is not long-lasting.
Aromatherapy Diffusers and Diffusion Products on the Market
descriptions below are generalities about the different aromatherapy
diffusers and other products that are available. Always check the
specifications, requirements and safety comments supplied with the
particular product you are interested to confirm that it is suitable
for your needs and expectations.
To locate vendors that sell aromatherapy diffusers,
visit the Diffusers
& Nebulizers Category of AromaWeb's Business Plaza.
Lamp Ring Diffusers
rings are typically made out of terracotta or brass. They are shapped
like a ring and set directly onto a standard light bulb. They have
a grooved lip that goes all the way around them. This lip holds
essential oil. The heat from a light bulb heats the essential oil
in the lamp ring, and the oil is then gently diffused into the room.
Lamp Rings are usually inexpensive.
If any essential oil gets onto the light bulb, the light bulb could
break. They won't work with odd sized bulbs or with bulbs that are
situated at odd angles. Lamp rings probably cannot be used with
high efficiency bulbs.
Terracotta and Sandstone Diffusers
clay and sandstone diffusers go by many names and come in an array
of attractive shapes and sizes. Some terracotta diffusers resemble
tiny clay pots that accept a small quantity of essential oil. Usually
a cork is the method by which the opening is closed. The oils permeate
through the pot and then diffuse out into the room. The intensity
of the aroma depends on how much essential oil is added to the clay
pot or other shaped diffuser. Sandstone is quite porous and is another
lovely way to passively diffuse essential oils.
Clay pot diffusers are very inexpensive, easy to use, and do not
require electricity or batteries.
The aroma is strongest shortly after adding essential oil to the
clay pot and then dissipates as time passes. As such, its
hard to keep the same level of aroma in the room.
candle diffuser is a diffuser that utilizes a tea light or other
candle to gently heat the essential oil to promote diffusion into
a room. A candle diffuser is usually ceramic or metal. The diffuser
has an opening or space for a candle and a little bowl or tray for
storing a tiny quantity of essential oil. Candle diffusers come
in many shapes and colors from the modest functional piece to those
that act both as a work of art and as a candle diffuser.
Candle diffusers are usually less pricy than nebulizing diffusers,
depending on the style and design. Candle diffusers do not require
electricity or batteries.
One needs to be as careful with using a candle diffuser as with
using candles in general. Also, one must be sure to keep replacement
candles on hand.
Also Known as Electric Diffusers
diffusers come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. Essentially,
a fan diffuser uses a fan to blow the essential oils into the air.
To use a fan diffuser, essential oils are usually placed onto a
disposable absorbent pad or into a tray. The pad or tray is placed
into the unit and then powered on. The fan then blows air across
this pad or tray and carries the aroma throughout the room. Since
fan diffusers come in a variety of sizes, some fan diffusers will
only diffuse a small room whereas others can diffuse very large
Fan diffusers are available in a wide variety of brands and styles.
Depending on the brand and model, fan diffusers can fragrance a
large area. Fan diffusers are generally easy to use. Some fan diffusers
are powered by both electricity and batteries making them quite
Some fan diffusers, depending on the brand and model, require the
purchase of replacement absorbent pads. Some fan diffusers are noisy.
Electric Heat Diffusers
diffusers use heat to gently heat the oil and disperse the aroma
into a room.
Electric heat diffusers may fragrance larger areas, depending on
the brand and style. They can also help to more efficiently disperse
the aromas of thicker oils such as Sandalwood and Patchouli.
Some individuals have trouble with clean up after using thicker essential oils. However, clean up can be much easier in this type of diffuser than in nebulizers and other diffusers. Usually, alcohol can help to dissolve stubborn, stuck-on essential oil residue.
Ultrasonic diffusers use water and ultrasonic waves to diffuse essential oils into the room. They come in different sizes, and some feature colored lights.
Various types of ultrasonic diffusers are available, allowing consumers to choose from a wide range of sizes and options. Of non-passive style diffusers, ultrasonic diffusers tend to be amongst the most affordable of diffuser types, and they are becoming widely available. While diffusing essential oils into a given space, they also can humidify the room.
Despite the advantages, ultrasonic diffusers can fail more quickly or be more problematic. Generally speaking, I tend to hear more complaints from users of ultrasonic diffusers than for other diffuser types. It is important to always follow the usage instructions for the ultrasonic model diffuser that you purchase.
Essential Oil Nebulizers
nebulizer is a device that takes essential oils and breaks them
into separate molecules before dispersing the smaller molecules
into the room. It is said that these smaller molecules can be more
readily absorbed by the lungs and thus create greater therapeutic
value than by use of other diffusion methods.
A nebulizer is a small
device (mine are around 8" x 4" x 6") that consists of two
main parts: the plastic base that contains the motor/pump and a very
unusual, clear blown-glass piece that holds and "nebulizes"
the oils. Instead of the use of the unusual glass piece, some nebulizers
use a special bottle that looks like a Boston round bottle.
The size of the pump that accompanies the nebulizer makes a big difference in the speed in which the oil is nebulized and in the amount of room/area coverage that the nebulizer can accommodate.
For therapeutic use, a nebulizer should be considered. It is said that nebulizers can supply greater therapeutic benefit
than the use of other diffusers because they break the oils down
into smaller molecules.
to other methods, cleaning the nebulizer, especially after using
thicker oils can be time consuming. Depending on the style nebulizer,
thick oils such as Sandalwood and Patchouli usually cannot be used
(unless first well blended with much thinner oils) as they can clog certain style nebulizers.
A Note About Water and Carrier Oils...
I am sometimes asked about water and/or carrier oil usage when diffusing essential oils.
Water is needed for some models of diffusers.
Carrier Oils are generally not necessary when using most types of nebulizers and diffusers, but you should double-check the instructions that accompany your brand and model device. Some reed diffusion recipes do include carrier oils.
Various new diffuser brands appear on the market regularly. Check the instructions that came with your diffuser or contact the manufacturer for usage instructions.
To locate artisans, retailers and wholesalers that sell diffusers, visit
& Nebulizers Category of AromaWeb's Global Aromatherapy Business Directory.
For blends that you can try once you have your
diffuser, be sure to visit the Diffuser
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