What Are the Health Benefits of Essential Oil Diffusers?

Together, the right scent and a well-made machine can transform your mood.

On days when you're feeling stressed or in need of a mood boost, an essential oil diffuser can transform your home into a sanctuary. "Diffusing with all-natural essential oils can help you set an intentional mood for your space," says Sara Panton, the co-founder of Vitruvi. In addition to infusing your home with a pleasant aroma, diffusers can positively impact your physical and mental health, easing everything from anxiety to chronic pain. Thinking about trying this therapeutic device? Read on to learn all about essential oil diffusers.

Essential oil diffuser on chair next to bed
Anastasiia Stiahailo / Getty Imgaes

First, understand how scent can impact your mood and space.

Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy—an alternative form of holistic therapy—and come in many forms to address different physical and emotional needs. Some studies even show that smelling these oils can activate and elicit positive responses from the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. "Scent has a really powerful and remarkable capacity to shift our mindset and trigger physiological responses by way of hormones and neurotransmitters," explains Amy Galper, a certified aromatherapist and founder of the New York Institute of Aromatherapy. "But most importantly scent can help us manage our stress response and trigger our body to rest, reset, and restore itself."

Essential oils and diffusers work together.

An oil diffuser is an electric device that changes liquid essential oils into a fragrant vapor. "Diffusing essential oils is one of the best, easiest ways to experience the benefits of aromatherapy," says Galper. "Essential oils are meant to be smelled and enjoyed—and diffusers help to disperse the aromatic molecules that make up the essentials oils." When it comes to shopping for a diffuser, you'll notice that there are four different types, including nebulizing, ultrasonic, heat, and evaporative. And while all of them produce a similar effect, ultrasonic devices are the most popular iterations on the market. "At Vitruvi, we create a variety of ultrasonic diffusers that use an oscillating plate to create cool vapor. This type of diffusing is safe, low maintenance, requires no heat, and you can easily control the run time and amount of mist you are releasing into the air," notes Panton. As an added bonus, ultrasonic options pull double duty as humidifiers, making them a smart choice for drier climates or air-conditioned rooms.

The right scent can transform your state of mind.

Diffusers can transform your home into a spa-like space and do wonders for your overarching health. "Oil diffusers have both physical and emotional benefits, such as neutralizing airborne pathogens, supporting our respiratory system, quieting and sedating our nervous system, and triggering emotional states," says Galper. They can also help your mind and body to adapt to certain routines and different moments throughout the day. "I often diffuse citrus scents in the morning, as they evoke a sense of energy and comfort," explains Panton, who adds that using a blend of bergamot, grapefruit, juniper, and lime can make you feel more revitalized and ready to take on the day. And for a good night's sleep? Soothing scents like lavender, frankincense, ylang ylang, roman chamomile, and vetiver promote a sense of relaxation and tranquility.

Use diffusers safely and appropriately.

Although diffusers come with a long list of benefits, they come with some risks, too. "Breathing in the vapors of essential oils continuously for hours can potentially be irritating to our lungs," says Galper, who warns that diffusers should always run in a well-ventilated room and put on a 10 to 25 minute timer. Essential oils can also potentially cause allergic reactions for people and pets alike and shouldn't be used around pregnant women and infants. Finally, much like humidifiers, diffusers can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold—so it's important to clean your device after every use.

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