As you’ve probably guessed, I love teaching people about essential oils – particularly about the aromatic use of them and how powerful it can be. The aromatic use of essential oils isn’t complicated, but a lot of people are confused about the most effective way to use the oils in this way.
Why should we use essential oils aromatically?
One of the most well-studied areas of aroma research is the effect of smell on people’s emotions and moods. For example, there is convincing evidence demonstrating that simply inhaling the aroma of an essential oil is effective for calming nervous or anxious feelings in a variety of settings.
The smell receptors located on the upper surface of the nasal cavity have direct links with the limbic system of the brain, an area that governs the body’s emotional responses. This close connection between aroma and our emotions becomes obvious in our everyday lives, as certain odours trigger specific memories or feelings. Some aromas directly impact our mood (for example, they can have a calming, balancing, or invigorating effect), while others trigger memories of a specific experience (often one that is tied to a strong emotion).
Intriguing new research has also helped us recognise that the benefits of aroma extends far beyond emotional regulation. In addition to influencing the limbic region of the brain, olfactory centres are also intricately linked with the hypothalamus – an area of the brain more familiarly nicknamed the “visceral control centre” because it controls physiological functions throughout the body. The hypothalamus exerts its powerful influence by interacting directly with the pituitary gland, or “master gland,” which is a small gland located in the brain.
The pituitary gland secretes hormones involved in among other things the regulation of blood pressure, hunger and thirst signals, thyroid function, sleep cycles, the production of sexual hormones, and memory. Because of the direct link of the olfactory system to this area of the brain, aroma is capable of interacting directly with the hypothalamus, influencing neurochemistry throughout the body, and, in turn, it can have powerful health outcomes.
* Source: doTERRA Blog - The Power of Aroma
Why should we use essential oil diffusers rather than a burners?
Diffusing essential oils in a diffuser not only makes the oil accessible to the body, but research indicates that there are also air purification benefits when diffusing oils. Pretty cool, huh?
When diffusing oils, the use of cold air or hydrodiffusion is best because burning or heating pure essential oils can alter their delicate chemistry. While you might receive some of the aroma, the therapeutic benefits of the oils can be lost when burning. So, even if you already have an oil burner, you’ll want to get yourself a diffuser because it’s such an effective way to use essential oils safely.
Most diffusers work when cold water is poured in to a certain level, and a few drops of essential oils are added.The benefit of using oils this way is that only 6-8 drops are needed for hours of diffusion.
Here are some of my favourite essential oil diffusers:
doTERRA’s Petal Diffuser – With 3 different time settings, this is the perfect diffuser to get started with.
Aroma-O’mm Diffuser – This beautiful bamboo diffuser looks great in living areas and is a compact size, so it’s perfect to take travelling. It also has different time settings and a soft light.
Aroma-Bloom Diffuser – This colourful diffuser is one of the most popular on the market for essential oil lovers. It has several time settings and is a popular choice for larger areas and kids bedrooms.
If a diffuser is not available, simply dropping essential oils into the palm of the hand and then cupping around the nose and breathing deeply is a convenient way for using essential oils at any time and in any situation.