If you want to learn more about the basics of essential oils head here. And you can read more about my undying love for Young Living here.
But today...I want to give a little insight (knowledge if you will) into the how's and why's of diffusing essential oils.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found within many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds. Sometimes called the “life blood” of the plant. Most essential oils are extracted from the plant through the process of steam distillation.
Although there are three different ways to use essential oils (Aromatically, Topically, and Internally) I am going to focus on the aromatic side today.
How to use essential oils aromatically:
This is the classic way to use essential oils–the art of Aromatherapy!
You’ve probably already noticed the connection between scent and emotions. Maybe the smell of a certain flower reminds you of your grandmother. Or maybe she loved moth balls and you are doomed for life. Either way...a certain smell reminds you of her.
Fresh cut grass, ocean air, fresh baked cookies, and evergreen trees are some of the scents we associate with specific emotions. But it’s not just random memories or reminders. Aromatherapy can provide the same physical and emotional responses on cue.
There are a number of studies supporting essential oil use for physical and emotional benefits. When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.
“Interestingly, visual, auditory (sound), and tactile (touch) information do not pass through these brain areas. This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.” (source)
Aromatherapy is essentially inhaling essential oils. There are times when I straight huff an oil right out of the bottle. For direct inhalation, simply open the bottle and breathe. You can also drop a few drops onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then cup your hands over your nose and mouth and inhale. This is for those times when the dog busts out of his kennel, the kid won't stop whining, or my lack of carbs is making me want to eat a tub of ice cream.
There's nothing wrong with huffing straight from the bottle but honestly, the easiest (and best) way to use aromatically is by using a diffuser. Diffusion works by distributing essential oil molecules through the air. Once in the air, they are inhaled and come into contact with nerves that send them directly to the brain. This is a quick and safe way of letting the essential oils go to work for you.