The smell is the only sense whose stimuli are directly transmitted to the limbic system – brain region where emotions and memories are processed. This direct route explains the impact that smells have on our mood, learning, social interactions and even on the mother-infant connection1. Who has never been transported to the happiest memories lived with their great love when they met a stranger who used exactly the same perfume?
The word perfume comes from the Latin per fumus and means “through smoking”. In ancient times, smoking was widely used, not only to perfume the environment and people, but also in religious ceremonies.
The burning of certain types of wood, for example, was used in rituals as a form of connection with the divine plan in various cultures. The Egyptians used scented oils in the mummification process and it is assumed that the Chinese were the pioneers in the use of incense.
Over the years, improved methods for extracting essential oils have allowed access to increasingly pure products. Aromatic diffusion methods have also evolved, which is clearly visible in the offer we have at our disposal. But how to choose?
Do aromatherapy with each of the diffusers
This technology has revolutionized the world of aromatherapy and is even my number one choice. It is very advantageous because:
- It does not use heat, preserving the properties of plants;
- It allows you to use smaller quantities of essential oils, which greatly benefits your wallet;
- The oils are placed directly in the container, not having the need to dilute in water;
- It works in cycles of two minutes, monetizing the amount of oil used;
- Shuts down automatically after two hours;
- Reduces the waste of essential oils because it can be stored (for short periods of time) without washing;
- Allows you to regulate the power according to the area in which it is located and / or sensitivity of each – pets, for example, are the most sensitive.
The only disadvantage of these diffusers is their fragility, since the container is made of glass. However, if you handle it carefully, it can last a lifetime.
Almost all mothers have used humidifiers to decongest their babies’ airways. If you have one at home that you will no longer use, you can convert it into a diffuser of essential oils, since the principle of operation is exactly the same.
Just like electric diffusers, humidifiers do not use heat, they allow you to regulate the power and turn off automatically – in this case, when the water in the container runs out. They are generally made of plastic, which gives them greater resistance, but they consume more essential oils because they require dilution in water.
In addition, if it is necessary to store or transport them, they must be cleaned, wasting any remaining oil. Although certain brands charge very high prices, the average price is relatively lower than that of electric diffusers.
These diffusers are generally made of porcelain and consist of a piece made of a container placed on a candle. The essential oils are placed in the container, diluted in water, and their diffusion is actually an evaporation by the action of heat. Compared to electric diffusers and humidifiers, heat diffusers have only one added advantage – price. They do, however, have some disadvantages:
- Heat from fire compromises the properties of essential oils;
- It requires supervision, since if the container runs out of water it can break;
- It does not allow to regulate the power, being the intensity of the fire constant.
Also known as perfume sticks, these are the longest lasting diffusers – you dip your chopsticks in oil and the perfume lasts for days and days. As the name indicates, they are suitable for perfuming the environment, so if you have a cold, for example, they are not the best option for aromatherapy with eucalyptus essential oil. Durability and low cost are its main advantages.
Most of the sticks that are sold contain so many chemical compounds and synthetic fragrances that cause more headaches than well-being.
If you wanted to create your own diffuser by capillarity at home you would have to dilute a large amount of essential oil in a vegetable oil and, at the end of the day, would always be a diffuser with low level of effectiveness because it has a very localized action.
Where to buy an aromatherapy diffuser
Without any advertising intention, I share here some suggestions.
My favourite electric diffusers are those of Aroma Zone. In addition to being suitable for almost all decorative styles, they are quiet, long-lasting and effective. They have two power levels and the option to turn off the ambient light if you prefer a more discreet diffuser. The electric diffuser I have in my office has never let me down.
The humidifier market has evolved so fast in the last decade that it’s virtually impossible not to find one you like. My humidifier is turned on at home almost all day and therefore has a larger water tank. For those who only want to call for a few hours, there are smaller ones. It’s possible to buy it in natural products stores and in El Corte Inglés.
I don’t have a habit of using heat diffusers. Every moment is an excellent opportunity to do aromatherapy and I prefer to preserve the purity of essential oils even if it is only to perfume the house. But for those who like this idea, I think it will be easy to find this product in any decorating store.
I like to use the diffusion by capillarity in places of passage. It’s not easy to find a combination that isn’t extremely chemical and nauseating, I confess. Rituals is my choice whenever I choose this method. Perfuming sticks even have the ability to transport me to a Japanese cherry blossom garden every time I walk down the aisle.
Don’t forget that a drop of lavender essential oil on the pillow can save the night and a light massage of the temples with mint essential oil can save the day.