Aromatherapy. What is it you might wonder? Or maybe you have heard about it
from a friend. Perhaps you encountered a diffuser at a friends house and noticed the wonderful aromas floating in the air that immediately put you at ease. This is a perfect example of one of the many benefits of aromatherapy, and we'll go deeper into the potential health benefits of aromatherapy in your home.
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from plants, and
diffusing them into the air through atomization of the oil. It can be accomplished through something as simple as a reed diffuser, which utilizes natural reeds to diffuse the oils. The reeds sit within a container and each reed contains about twenty capillaries, which transport the oil from the liquid it is sitting in to the top of the reed in the open air, where the oil is dispersed into the air through evaporation.
The most common types of diffuser are ultrasonic or nebulizer diffusers. Ultrasonic diffusers use ultrasonic waves to convert liquid water and essential oil to a vapor form, and the essential oil is carried throughout the space in water vapor. This has the added benefit of adding some humidification to the air in the space you are utilizing the diffuser in. The other common type of diffusion is nebulizer diffusers, which work using Bernoulli’s Principle, a fluid dynamics theory in the field of physics. In this type of diffuser, air is forced through a small tube at a very high velocity, and the pressure difference creates a suction effect which sucks the essential oil into the tube. This combination creates atomization of the essential oil particles and distributes a waterless mist throughout the room.
There are many potential health benefits to aromatherapy according to the Mayo Clinic and studies have shown the following potential benefits:
- Relief from depression and anxiety
- Improved quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions.
- Improved sleep
Additionally smaller studies have shown additional benefits of utilizing lavender oil in aromatherapy which can include:
- Reduction of pain for people with osteoarthritis
- Improve quality of life for people with dimentia
- Reduce pain for people with kidney stones
Aromatherapy works through the activation of smell receptors in the nose, which in turn send messages through the central nervous system to the bodies limbic system which is the part of the brain that controls our emotional response.
It is important to note that essential oils distilled from organic plants, have a higher level of effectiveness and are safer to use around your family because they don't contain traces of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemical compounds unsafe for use in humans. Please do your research and be aware that essential oils aren't regulated by the FDA, and may interact differently with people facing medical conditions, or who are pregnant.