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Diffusers & Nebulizers


Diffusion with reference to aromatherapy can be explained as the process of dispersing essential oils so that their aroma fills a room or area with the natural fragrance of the oil.  There are a variety of ways to diffuse essential oils in a room.

Some simple household methods of diffusion are -

Simple Tissue Diffusion -

In this process, place 3-4 drops of essential oil on a tissue.  Place the tissue close by. With any movement within the vicinity of the tissue like someone walking past, you can notice the aroma.  The disadvantage in this method is that not much aroma is emitted.

Candle diffusion -

Under this method, you need to light a candle and let it burn for about 5 minutes.  Put off the flame and place 1 drop of essential oil in the melted wax (not on the wick) and relight the candle.  Since essential oils are highly inflammable, great caution needs to be exercised while using this method of diffusion.

Steam Diffusion -

In this process, boil 2 cups of water and pour into a bowl and add up to 10 drops of an essential oil into the water. Use energizing or relaxing oils in this manner at any time of the day or night. 

The above mentioned methods are simple methods doable at home.  If you are looking to buy a proper diffuser for aromatherapy, find below some useful information on the same. 

There are many types of diffusers available in the market such as -

Lamp Rings -

A lamp ring is essentially a terracotta ring that fits directly onto a light bulb.  It has a grooved rim around it.  The rim is designed to hold the essential oil.  The heat from a light bulb heats the essential oil in the lamp ring and the oil is then gently diffused into the room.  Although an inexpensive item, the disadvantage with a lamp ring is that heat may alter or destroy certain constituents of the essential oils and therefore the therapeutic benefits may not be complete. 

Clay Pot diffusers -

Clay pot diffusers resemble small terra-cotta pots, although different shapes such as pyramids are also available.  A clay pot diffuser has an opening to add essential oils.  A cork is used to close this opening.  The oils permeate through the pot and spread into the room.  The intensity of the aroma can be controlled by the quantity of essential oil added to the clay pot. 

Candle diffusers -

This kind of diffuser uses a tea light or other candle to gently heat the essential oil to promote diffusion in a room.  A candle diffuser can be ceramic or metallic.   The diffuser has an open space for a candle and tiny bowl or tray to keep the essential oil.  They come in a huge variety or shapes, sizes and are sometimes serve as a piece of art as well.

Fan diffusers -

A fan diffuser uses a fan to disperse essential oils in the air.  Fan diffusers come in a plethora of sizes, shapes and styles.  To use a fan diffuser, the essential oils are placed on a pad or tray and this is placed into the unit and switched on.  The fan blows air across this pad or tray and carries the aroma into the room.  Fan diffusers can be used in a large area if required.  

Electric Heat diffusers -

Akin to fan diffusers, heat diffusers use electricity generated heat and a fan to gently heat the oil and spread the aroma in the room.


A nebulizer is a piece of equipment that helps dissipate the essential oils into the atmosphere by breaking it into individual molecules.  This molecular form is considered to enhance the therapeutic value of the essential oils.  It is easily absorbed by the lungs proving to be more effective.

A nebulizer is basically a small device that consists of a plastic base containing the motor and a clear, blown-glass piece that holds and "nebulizes" the oils.  Some plus points about using a nebulizer - The molecular form of the essential oils that it helps create is extremely beneficial.  A nebulizer covers a larger area as compared to other types of diffusers and hence proves to be more effective. Since a nebulizer does not use heat, the composition of the essential oil remains intact, so the benefits of aromatherapy using a nebulizer are complete. The disadvantage of a nebulizer as compared to other forms of using essential oils is primarily its prohibiting cost.  The glass piece is easily breakable and expensive to replace, as is cleaning and maintenance of the same.  Certain oils, (heavier oils such as sandalwood and Patchouli) could clog certain style nebulizers.

Cleaning and maintaining a nebulizer

Cleaning a nebulizer every few weeks is essential as the oil starts to thicken. Continuous use of the nebulizer leads to oxidation of the oils (remnants). Cleaning is also important while changing from one oil to another.

Traces of thickened oil can lead to the clogging of the curved capillary, also known as the injector.  Denatured or isopropyl alcohol can be used to eliminate potential buildup in the injector.  The procedure for the same is as follows -

Add about 15 ml (1 oz.) of alcohol to the nebulizer.

Diffuse the alcohol in the nebulizer for a few minutes.

Empty any left over alcohol from the nebulizer.

Run empty nebulizer for a few minutes to dry.

Soak overnight in alcohol if clogging continues.



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