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The Best Essential Oil Diffusers

author image Sarah Metzker Erdemir
The Best Essential Oil Diffusers
Essential oil in a glass reed diffuser on a marble countertop. Photo Credit: jodiejohnson/iStock/Getty Images

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy to bring about relaxation and treat health problems. Aromatherapy practitioners believe that inhaling certain scents causes changes in the limbic system (the innermost area of the brain) and affects organ and mental function. Aromatherapy can also be used to create a calming, relaxing environment with natural scents. Essential oil diffusers are used to spread the scent of the oil around a room.

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Simple Diffusers

Sometimes, a simple diffuser is the fastest and easiest way to disperse an essential oil in a room. For a very small area such as an office cubicle, you can place one or two drops of oil on a tissue or cotton ball, which will release the scent slowly as air passes over it. For a larger room, fill a bowl with 2 cups of boiling water and add a few drops of oil. The scent will be released with the steam. Both of these methods are effective and inexpensive, but the scent doesn't last long and has to be replaced often.

Reed Diffusers

Reed diffusers not only release an aroma throughout a room, they often serve as attractive decorative pieces. A reed diffuser is a vase or jar filled with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil. You add the essential oil or blend of oils of your choice into the jar and place several tall, thin rattan reeds into the oil. Within 30 minutes, the oil travels up the reeds' capillaries and the aroma is gradually dispersed. A reed diffuser can scent a room for several hours or several days, depending on the fragrance used.

Heat Diffusers

Although heat might destroy some of the therapeutic constituents of some essential oils such as rose or jasmine, it is a highly effective way of diffusing a scent quickly and for a long time. You can make a simple heat diffuser by lighting a candle and letting it burn for several minutes. Blow out the candle, add a few drops of oil to the melted wax, and relight the candle. This method is very convenient because it doesn't require any special equipment.

Commercially available heat methods usually involve a tea light set underneath a small pot, a hollow stone or another container. The candle heats the container, which releases the scent. Electric diffusers are safer to use than candle diffusers, though they don't look as nice. An electric diffuser can be a small device that sits in a wall plug, or it can be a more complicated machine containing plates that heat up and diffuse the smell. Electric diffusers can be used to scent a room for a long time.

Essential Oil Nebulizers

Essential oil nebulizers are often preferred by aromatherapy professionals because they do not use heat. Most nebulizers consist of a pump that forces air into the oil and then through a series of twisting tubes. The oil is broken into tiny droplets similar to an aerosol. Nebulizers can be used to scent a room, or they might be used just to inhale a few breaths of pure essential oil.

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