Looking for a holistic and effective way to elevate your mood, purify the air you breathe and improve brain function? Then you need to start diffusing essential oils!
But First, What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are obtained through highly labor-intensive processes which extract the vital essence of aromatic plants from the flowers, fruits, sap, seeds or skin of the plant, as well as the bark, leaves, roots, resins or wood of certain trees.
These oils are often referred to as the “life force” of plants and contain unique and varied therapeutic properties. (source)
How Does Inhaling Essential Oils Benefit Me?
Diffusion is a technique used to maximize the absorption of essential oils by distributing its molecules into the air.
Once in the air, the essential oils can be inhaled through the nose or mouth.
When we inhale through the nose, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain.
Molecules inhaled through the nose or mouth are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways.
Interaction with the Limbic System (Emotional Brain)
During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”
The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance (Higley & Higley, 1998).
This relationship helps explain why essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects! (source)
Why Should I Diffuse Essential Oils?
Although air fresheners or scented candles can make your house smell great, they’re also known be to very toxic (1,2).
On the other hand, not only does diffusing essential oils improve air quality but they also offer various benefits. Here are the main ones:
1. Combats Asthma
The conventional way of dealing with asthma comes down to two things. The first is to identify the factors that trigger asthmatic symptoms and to avoid them. The second, which is used in case of an emergency such as an asthma attack is the use of inhalers.
While it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions for treating asthma attacks, there are some natural alternatives you can use at home to compliment what you’re already doing.
Here are 9 essential oils that have been shown to prevent asthma attacks from occurring in the first place. (NOTE: some essential oils can be toxic to cats, birds and ferrets.)
- roman chamomile and bergamot
- tea tree oil
- thyme oil
2. Air Purifier
When used indoors, essential oils can help:
- Destroy mold microorganisms in the air
- Fill the air with a fresh, aromatic scent
- Inhibit bacterial growth
You can diffuse essential oils in the air by using a few drops – 10 to 15 – in a regular diffuser with some water. (source)
3. Boost Your Immune System
When you inhale, breath in, or diffuse into the air essential oils, they can also go directly to the lungs. There they are quickly absorbed into the blood stream as they cross the airway/capillary system.
From there the molecules of essential oils are transported throughout the body and into each and every cell. Since it only takes a few minutes for blood to circulate throughout the whole body, the essential oils you have just inhaled will be throughout your entire body within a few minutes. (source)
Essential oils to use when you’ve been exposed to viruses or other disease producing organisms:
- Bay laurel
- Cinnamon leaf
- Eucalyptus globulus
Essential oils that help build up your immune system:
- Roman Chamomilet
- Pine needle
- Tea Tree
- Thyme linalool
4. Lower Stress Levels And Help You Relax
Diffusing essential oils is a perfect way to combat stress. It’s so effective that even hospitals have begun using them!
The essential oils used in the hospital:
- wild orange essential oil
- lemon essential oil
- lime essential oil
- citrus bliss essential oil
5. Better Night Sleep
If you’ve ever been to a lavender field, then you’ve probably experienced this plant’s calming effects first hand.
One study showed that inhaling lavender’s essential oil can help improve quality of sleep (3).
6. Reduced Congestion
Diffusing essential oils is an effective therapy for reducing inflammation and congestion in clogged airways.
Rather than taking a pill, mix one part eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint. Keep the mixture in a container and take it out whenever you need it.
Simply put some drops in your hands, cup them to your nose and inhale all the goodness. Doing this will help you breather more easily.
Alternatively you can also use this mix in a steaming bowl of hot water. Just put one drop of each essential oil and drape a towel over your head and breathe in. Try breathing in for about five minutes, taking breaks as needed. (source)
If you are prone to allergies or other breathing disorders, try diffusing essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, lemon or eucalyptus in your home on a regular basis.
7. Prevent Food Cravings
Dr. Alan Hirsch’s study found that inhaling peppermint oil can directly affect your brain’s satiety center, the ventro-medial nucleus of the hypothalamus.
By inhaling an aroma six times in each nostril, the desire to eat is inhibited. Dr. Hirsch in his research found that sniffing three times in each nostril was sufficient. However, if the scent is not adequately smelled, it can increase the desire to eat so it is important to smell the oil deeply and as many times as suggested. (source)
What If I Don’t Have A Diffuser?
There are two things you can do if you don’t have a diffuser.
- Inhale essential oils straight out of the bottle.
- Put a few drops in the palm of your hand and rub them together. Once thoroughly mixed, cup your hands over your nose and inhale.