I did a full segment on essential oil diffusing a few weeks ago & I got such a great reaction from you guys regarding everything I shared. I figured I’d get it all down in a full blog post so that you always have a reference point if ever you decide to purchase one.
I’m sure you all know that there are so many ways to use essential oils. You can use them topically on your face or body to target skin conditions, migraines, headaches, joint pain or indigestion, add them to Epsom salt baths or regular baths, use them with a cold compress & you can also add them to a diffuser & diffuse them in the air (also referred to as inhalation).
They’re generally safe to inhale, but before I even begin, I just want to say that if you have certain health conditions (especially respiratory health issues, such as asthma, lung conditions, etc.), or are pregnant, nursing or thinking of getting pregnant, please check with your doctor before using any of these oils.
All plants, flours, weeds & trees contain beneficial oils to protect them, ward off toxins, rodents, and to shield themselves from bacteria or viruses. These oils are very potent & contain very active ingredients. The oils we purchase are created through a process called distillation, whereby the oils are extracted from the medicinal plant & alcohol is added to them to preserve their strength, potency & effectiveness.
Aromatherapy has such a wide range of benefits from treating certain diagnosed health conditions, whether respiratory, stress, anxiety, depression or mood-related, clearing the air to make it cleaner & healthier for us to breathe in, easing muscle tension, joint pain & improving sleep quality, as well as boosting cognitive health, focus, concentration & memory.
The reason essential oils work so well when it comes to mood disorders, stress, tension, sadness, anxiety, depression & boosting mood in general is because research has shown that inhalation has an effect on a certain part of our brains called the limbic system &/or sympathetic nervous system. These systems are responsible for controlling the body’s emotional responses, behaviours & reactions to situations that trigger some of the negative emotions listed above. When we inhale these oils, they make their way to the brain & cross the blood-brain barrier helping to control the nervous system.
WHY I STARTED TO USE AROMATHERAPY
As you guys know, I suffer from anxiety & as I did more & more research about ways to combat it naturally (due to the fact that I don’t really advocate for the use of medication, although I’m not criticizing you if you do), I came across aromatherapy. I decided to try it in hopes that it would help calm me down in moments of stress, improve my sleep & prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations or feeling faint.
Relaxing, eases symptoms of depression/anxiety & mood disorders. Certain oils have a calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system by controlling the body’s fight or flight response system, responsible for making us perceive situations are more or less anxious. When the brain’s fight or flight response system is overly active, we experience certain symptoms of anxiety, depression or stress, such as: sweaty palms, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks.
Helps improve sleep quality. Great for those who suffer from insomnia, hot flashes, restless leg syndrome, night sweats, or if your thoughts keep you awake. I like to diffuse these oils 30 minutes to an hour before bed especially if I’m feeling anxious because I like for the oil to already be diffusing once I get into bed after my bedtime rituals.
Cleanses the air of bacteria, fungus, mould, respiratory conditions & has anti-septic properties, so it’s great for keeping the air we breathe at home fresh & clean, free of bacteria & for helping relieve symptoms of common cough, cold or flu &/or allergies. We actually don’t realize just how full of bacteria the air we breathe in daily is, even in our own homes! We can’t see it, but bacteria is everywhere! When I leave for the gym in the morning, I like to diffuse eucalyptus & when I get home, my house literally smells like a spa & the air smells super clean. Citrus oils are also great for respiratory health, immunity & also easing anxiety, as well as leaving a fresh smell in the air.
(P.S. A few studies have also shown that when inhaling citrus essential oils, symptoms of depression & hormonal balancing substantially improved, to an extent similar to that of anti-depressants. This makes sense because it’s like a domino effect – when we are anxious, our immune system gets suppressed, which means that our adrenal glands and hormones fall out of whack and our bodies are not in a state of homeostasis).
Soothing pain & inflammation. If you suffer from chronic pain, joint or muscle pain, migraines, headaches, muscle tension, etc., you can apply certain oils to the area of the body that’s affected or make your own roll-on blends to target that. Some of the best oils for fighting inflammation are lavender, peppermint & inflammatory oils like ginger, cinnamon, clove & turmeric.
Boosting mood, raising alertness, focus & concentration & reducing fatigue. Certain oils are great to diffuse when studying/working & when you need to boost your focus!
Increasing libido. Certain oils or blends raise energy through blood flow & have also been shown to help with certain sexual dysfunctions.
Improving digestion, reducing PMS symptoms & nausea & benefitting gastrointestinal health. Many anti-inflammatory oils help with acid reflux, morning sickness. ulcers, anything linked to GI health because fighting inflammation boosts gastro-protective ability & many oils are rich in antioxidants & enzymes.
Essential oils have tons of other benefits but these are the ones that stand out to me! If any of the benefits I mentioned resonate with you or sound like something that could add value to your life, I strongly encourage you guys to try essential oil diffusing! Once you start, you won’t want to stop! It’s easy & simple to use (even if you are the laziest person on the planet) & so worth the initial investment!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Square footage: The diffuser you purchase depends on the size of the room you plan to put it in. Generally,t he box will indicate an amount of square footage, so always consider the room you will be putting it in so you can reap the full benefits of the diffusion.
Quality of the oils: Always go for therapeutic-grade organic oils & read your labels to make sure they don’t contain any other sketchy ingredients! I would also recommend doing some research on the companies just to fid out a bit more about where they source their oils. Some of my go-to brands are: Now Foods, Auracacia, Le Comptoir Aroma, Nature’s Harmony, Divine Essence Aromatherapy & NuWorld Botanicals.
How much to diffuse: Start slow, like with anything new to make sure you don’t have any sensitivity to the oils. By diffusing them, keep in mind you are inhaling them, so again, if you have respiratory conditions, please check with your doctor first! Same goes for if you are pregnant or have other diagnosed medical conditions. I would start with about 8 drops & then ease your way up to 10 & then to 15. If you are blending oils, make sure your grand total amounts to 10-15 drops & not 101-5 of each. They are very potent, so you don’t need much, plus they are pricey so you don’t want to waste them!
Cleaning: I personally clean my diffuser in between each diffusion; I rinse it & dry with a towel. I do this because I often diffuse different blends. If you always diffuse the same ones, you could probably get away with not washing it in between each use, but it’s super easy to clean because the oils don’t leave a stain – it’s just to rinse out the different aromas. Once a week, I do a more thorough cleanse with my essential oil diffuser cleaner (by the same brand as my diffuser!).
Safety: I have herd that it could be unsafe for pets. I don’t want to be the cause of anything happening to your pet so please heck with your vet to see if you can diffuse oils in a specific room or if that will harm your pet.
Type of diffusers: Some light up, some have a remote control that you can choose how long to diffuse for (generally 3 or 6 hours or simply until there’s nothing left to diffuse). Some work with heat, others work with electricity. Personally, I prefer one that works with electricity because I use it every night before bed & it scares me to go to bed with something that uses heat on in my room.
My diffuser: My diffuser is from Tau (also available online on my Amazon page) & it’s the Ubud one by Comptoir Aroma.
WHICH OILS I LOVE & WHY
Below, I’ll list the oils I use most frequently either on their own or blended together to create my own mixes or in pre-made blends.
These oils can also be applied topically to the wrists, temples or stomach area depending on the symptoms you want to target (relaxation, anxiety, energy or mood boosting, stomach cramps, indigestion, headaches, migraines, inflammation or pain) & to the skin to calm irritation, fight bacteria, acne & boost the skin’s anti-inflammatory ability, antioxidant protection, to provide a dose of vitamin C, naturally boost collagen production & fight certain skin conditions.
If you are going to be applying them to the skin, please make sure to do a spot test first or to check with any doctor or dermatologist who is treating you if you have a diagnosed skin condition. Spot tests are important because they allow you to identify whether or not you’ll react negatively to an oil before applying it all over your face or body. You can read more about spot testing & the oils I use in my homemade anti-aging DIY serum here. My faves for the skin are rosehip, sea buckthorn, marula, jojoba, cacay, avocado, lavender, agan, ylang ylang, patchouli & orange.
EUCALYPTUS: To make my room smell like a spa, clear the air, purify the body, remove dirt/fungus/mould from the air, helps with respiratory issues & allergies, calms symptoms of sinus infections by draining mucus in nasal passages & decongesting,, fights colds/flu/cough & fatigue & also has some anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial properties. This is the oil I diffuse almost everyday before I leave my house in the morning so I could home to a fresh aroma.
FRANKINCENSE: Builds immunity, reduces inflammation, supports nervous system health, eases headache/migraine symptoms, relaxing & peaceful smell. This is also one I like to diffuse before I leave my house, so I come home to a fresh aroma.
LAVENDER: Calming, relaxing, elevates mood, helps ease headache symptoms, reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia because it induces relaxation & relieves physical, emotional & mental tension. Lavender is one of my faves & I especially love it before bed. The smell is heavenly & it goes really well with citrusy oils (lemon, orange, grapefruit) & eucalyptus.
THE CITRUS FAM (LEMON, ORANGE, GRAPEFRUIT): Clears air, anti-bacterial, boosts immunity, fights colds/flu/infection, boosts mood, uplifting & energizing, may help curb acid reflux/ulcers/nausea/indigestion/morning sickness or stomach aches due to pre-menstrual syndrome.
BERGAMOT: Amazing for elevating mood, relieving anxiety/depression, boosts immunity, alleviates pain, helps with digestion, purifies the air, calming aroma & blends well with citrus oils.
PATCHOULI: Grounding & balancing, good to diffuse throughout the day if you’re home cleaning/working/studying because it’s also uplifting & boosts mood. Blends super well with peppermint & lavender oils.
YLANG YLANG: Helps unwind & reduces stress, promotes restful sleep & fights insomnia, anxiety, restless leg syndrome & hot flashes, overall very relaxing with a nice floral aroma, helps balance hormones & lifts mood.
BASIL: Stimulates digestion, boosts immunity, relieves colds, reduces stress & may help alleviate pain when combined with other anti-inflammatory oils.
CLOVE: Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, aphrodisiac (boosts libido) & antioxidant protection, stimulates immune system, blends well with cinnamon!.
CHAMOMILE: Calming, soothing, reduces anxiety & depression, promotes restful sleep & fights restless leg syndrome & hot flashes, great for gastro-intestinal health & reduces inflammation.
THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FAM (GINGER/CINNAMON/TURMERIC): Fights inflammation, supports joint health & relieves pain, improves digestion, relieves nausea, curbs acid reflux/ulcers/morning sickness/stomach aches.
PEPPERMINT: Supports digestion, boosts mood & energy, helps with muscle, joint pain &headaches, calms symptoms of sinus infections/colds/flu/cough/fatigue & may help curb acid reflux/ulcers/morning sickness/stomach aches.
ROSEMARY: Improves cognitive function, memory, concentration & is great to use when studying/working/writing/need to boost focus, calms symptoms of sinus infections/colds/flu/cough/fatigue & relieves headaches.
TEA TREE: Ant-bacterial & anti-fungal, reduces bad odours, stimulates immunity, calms symptoms of sinus infections/colds/flu/fatigue, purifies & freshens the air.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, if you do have diagnosed medical conditions, are pregnant, nursing or thinking of getting pregnant or have respiratory issues, please check with your doctor or whoever is treating you before using essential oils. I’m not a doctor – I’m just sharing what works for me. Also, if you have pets, please check with your vet if it’s safe fort them to be exposed to these oils.
I hope this post is helpful! Feel free to leave any feedback or comments below! And if you do happen to get a diffuser, I would love to hear how you like it!