The Healthy Benefits of Using an Essential Oil Diffuser
By Sarah Baker, CHN
If there is one thing I absolutely love to do as an easy mind-body wellness ritual, it’s whipping together a special essential oil blend and using my diffuser as a wonderfully invigorating (or calming) sensory experience. If you’re not familiar with essential oils and their many properties, you’re in for a treat.
Let’s break down the basics of essential oils before we dive into the numerous benefits of using a diffuser. It never hurts to know what exactly you’re inhaling or using daily—“The more you know” is a wellness mantra I live by. For starters, essential oils have used for thousands of years for a slew of diverse health purposes. Various parts of plants such as leaves, roots, resin, flowers, peels and bark are distilled and the oil is then extracted to create a medicinally powerful essential oil.
Essential oils contain the most potent healing byproduct of the plant they’re extracted from. Various oils have different properties, but the most common ones are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds.
Ready to dive into the wonderful world of essential oil diffusers? Here’s six reasons why you should infuse your home or working space with the wonderful aroma of diffusers.
1. Create a natural pep in your step
If you’re trying not to depend on four cups of coffee a day but hitting that mid-day slump more than you’d like, specific blends of diffused essential oils can give you natural stimulation. It’s nearly impossible these days to have constant abundant energy, and the more caffeine we consume, the more dependent on it we become causing a frustrating cycle. So start adding some energizing blends to your diffuser next time you need a pick-me-up such as citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, and orange; or minty scents like peppermint or wintergreen.
2. Balance your hormones
Our hormones are tied into almost every function of our body. When not in harmony, hormones can trigger poor digestion (especially when us women are PMSing—bloat isn’t fun for anyone), they can give us brain fog or just make us feel “off.” Specific oil blends have adaptogenic properties which help us naturally manage internal stress. Clary sage oil for example has been known to help balance estrogen levels and production. For those of us that eat high-estrogen foods without knowing it, just this hormone can be out of whack causing inconveniences like extra-annoying PMS. By simply adding clary sage to your diffuser you can help ease symptoms from hormone imbalances.
Studies have shown that thyme oil has progesterone-balancing effects, while sandalwood oil may help bring testosterone levels into balance. It also helps that all three of these scents smell incredibly woodsy and warm—perfect to use in the evening.
3. Help you wind down
Just as there are essential oil blends that energize, there are blends that can help you relax. The ability to help us wind down is one of the most widely known benefits of using a diffuser—which is why they’re found in so many spas across the country. Using a diffuser as you get ready to go to sleep can help put you in a restful mood. Lavender essential oil (one of the most common oils you may come across) has been shown in studies to actually improve the quality of your sleep.
Chamomile essential oil has calming and soothing properties that will create a tranquil aroma in your living space. Just as you sip chamomile tea at night to destress, you can inhale chamomile essential oils for the same effect. Sandalwood again is another great choice to wind down as the warm and rich aroma gives a feeling of comfort.
4. Clear out chest congestion
Have you ever sat in a steam room that was infused with eucalyptus essential oils? That’s because there are specific oils that can help you breathe easier, and eucalyptus is one of them. It has anti-inflammatory properties and when inhaled, can help fight breathing irritations and open up the respiratory system. Peppermint oil can also help open up air passages in the nose, and is especially effective when battling the common cold.
5. Ease stress
A good majority of us experience stress at one point or another during various chapters of our lives. Specific essential oil blends have been studied when it comes to combating stress, anxiety, and even depression with some interesting finds. Rose essential oil, for example, has been shown to reduce anxiety in women. It may be useful by helping to lessen panic attacks, and even shock.
Ylang ylang oil is also known to help curb feelings of depression and anxiety as it has an uplifting and calming scent. Practitioners believe that ylang-ylang oil promotes cheerfulness and may ease fearfulness. Clary sage oil has also been studied to show a link between use and its ability to lower cortisol levels in our body (which is a stress hormone that can wreak havoc on our body). So next time you’re feeling a bit frazzled, sit back and diffuse these oils to help you feel more zen!
6. Help you feel happier
If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, a lot of the benefits of essential oil diffusers have to do with emotional wellness. From more energy, to helping us relax, essential oils work in conjunction with our olfactory system (which connects to various parts of our brain), thus giving us a mental “lift” or having a sedative effect. Essential oil blends can also give you a sense of happiness. Scents like vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, frankincense and rose all work together to bring a sense of feeling content.
With all of this said, the next time you want to bring more balance back into your day; whether through a more calm and centered mindset, or a need to destress and relax, using an essential oil diffuser can bring back much-needed mind/body stability. Always be sure to consult your physician if you plan on using essential oils in any other form than through a diffuser, as some oils can interfere with medication.