There are three ways to use essential oils: aromatically, topically, and internally. Here I’m going to focus on the aromatic use of essential oils.
How to Diffuse Essential Oils
The how of diffusing essential oils is easy. There are many diffusers on the market ranging in price from a few dollars (not particularly effective diffusers) to several hundred dollars (for some really gorgeous diffusers). Good, attractive diffusers run from about $50 to $100.
The best diffusers work by delivering a micro-fine mist to disperse the oil’s healing components throughout a room or other space. There are a couple different types of diffusers:
- Nebulizing Diffusers
- Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers
- Heat Diffusers
- Evaporative Diffusers
Evaporative diffusers, although generally inexpensive, are also generally ineffective except for very small spaces (perhaps in a vehicle). There is a pad on which one drips the essential oil. Usually there is a fan that disperses the fragrance throughout a space. The main advantage of these diffusers is that they often are battery-operated, so you can use them where this is no electric supply. Beyond that, I don’t use the evaporative type of diffuser.
Heat diffusers are simply wrong. Heat destroys the beneficial properties of the oils, so it makes no sense to apply heat to an essential oil. No more need be said.
Nebulizing diffusers are often considered the most powerful type of diffusers: they do not need water or heat to get the essential oil into the air. Instead they use an atomizer to create fine, airborne particles of essential oils, which are blown into the air.
I do own a nebulizing diffuser but tend not to use it very often because it uses so much oil. You actually attach a bottle of essential oil directly to the nebulizer, and it can run through oil pretty quickly. These units also tend to be louder than other diffusers.
That said, I do use my nebulizer when I want a strong concentration of essential oil released into the air. For example, I might diffuse a blend to support the immune system through the night if I’m feeling particularly vulnerable to environmental threats. There’s also a cleansing blend I like to diffuse occasionally to clean and freshen the air.
Ultrasonic diffusers, like nebulizing diffusers, create a fine mist of fragranced vapor. But ultrasonic diffusers use water and essential oils to create that cool mist. This vapor acts as a vaporizer, which is great during the winter months (but won’t vaporize as effectively as a unit devoted to that task).
Because the oils are effectively diluted with the water, they don’t put out as dense a concentration of oils as do nebulizers. But I find that the output is more than adequate for most situations and spaces. And they use less oil. That factor is huge since essential oils can be costly, depending on the specific oil used.
The ultrasonic diffusers also make it very easy to blend two or more oils for special purposes. Obviously one can use blends in a nebulizer — just mix the oils in a spare bottle. But the ultrasonics are much more flexible. Since I tend to diffuse a different blend each day, I prefer an ultrasonic diffuser for that reason alone.
Why Diffuse Essential Oils
Now that we know how to diffuse essential oils, we come to the matter of why do so. Why not just apply the oils topically and be done with it? No extra expense; no need to wonder which diffuser to purchase; no muss, no fuss.
But first a special note about incense. The most readily available forms of incense are actually synthetic and can fill the air with toxic substances when burned. Incense has traditionally been used to establish a meditative or prayerful atmosphere. If at all possible, please use therapeutic-grade essential oils in place of incense.
Like burning incense, diffusing oils sets a mood. It also freshens the air and eases breathing. (For many people incense actually makes breathing more difficult.) In addition, diffusers release the oils in the form of a micro-particles mist, which allows the body to absorb those minute particles easily and effectively.
Properly diffused oils are known to improve mental clarity, enhance or calm emotions, and increase feelings of well-being. The diffuser can fill an entire room. Indeed, the oils I diffuse in my office reach into the waiting area, thus providing a benefit for visitors.
Over longer periods of time, diffused oils are thought to strengthen the immune system, improve mood, and reduce unpleasant odors. I diffuse year-round, day and night. The specific oils that I diffuse vary depending on time of day, the activity I’m engaged in, and my mood.
Diffusing essential oils to support spiritual practice is a wonderful and effective use of these incredible products of nature. It is so easy, with essential oils, to establish a mood of surrender or of inner focus or of love for the Divine or of deep peace — the list goes on.
A brief example: Frankincense has been used for thousands of years to enhance meditation and prayer. It quiets the mind, deepens the breath, and promotes meditative stillness and inner focus. These are actual benefits of the specific compounds that make up this essential oil.
I find that these benefits are enhanced by the very aroma of Frankincense. Through use, I’ve come to associate the distinct fragrance of Frankincense with “time to sit quietly.” Thus the diffused oil establishes an atmosphere of prayer and meditation. It sets a mood.
Topical and internal uses of essential oils are also very powerful in their own right, but I love diffusing oils for spiritual practice in particular.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you have, you might like to learn more about essential oils and their use to enhance meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices. I invite you to click on the link below to receive my eBook, In Search of Soul: Five Spiritual Practices and the Oils that Enhance Them.
Or contact me directly if you want to learn more about high-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils and where you can find them.
Peace and blessings.