Why waft in winter: Using essential oils for health

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Function and fun

Diffusing oils increases oxygen availability by producing negative ions and releasing natural ozone, and while the intended purpose may be functional, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with them too. Some have built-in humidifiers and ionizers, while others even have colour therapy components with the vapours changing colour within the unit; some even combine this with sound/music components. Super fancy!

Fact or fancy?

Due to the natural chemical molecules inherent in essential oils, it is postulated that diffusing them can alter the structure of molecules that create odours or spread disease. There is abundant empirical evidence that supports the claims that essential oils, appropriately diffused in homes, classrooms, and workplaces (e.g. treatment rooms, practices/clinics, hospitals, etc.) modulate immune function, enhance breathing, improve mood, stimulate creativity, improve accuracy, enhance memory, and reduce the spread of air-borne microbes – besides their many other scientifically validated properties and actions.

Diffusing without fuss

smelly feet

In my experience, diffusers with a built-in timer are the ultimate luxury. Setting a timer to go on and off for fixed periods of time, and at different intensity levels [e.g. on for 5 minutes and off for 20 minutes per cycle], allows one to control the quantity of ambient circulation of essential oil molecules in a given space.

When such devices are used in professional [or other] settings where there may be a need to rapidly dissipate a particularly pongy situation, the output pressure can simply be ramped up for 10 minutes, and the air quickly becomes ‘good and clean and fresh, tra-la-la’ again! Some atomizer devices are more expensive than others, but in my experience you definitely get what you pay for, so I see it as a health investment, not just something that pumps pleasant aromas into the air.

Wellness benefits while you breathe

herbal medicine

And in closing, while it is common knowledge to aromatherapists that essential oils all have different therapeutic and energetic properties, the same is not always true for everyone else. Consequently, below are a few bits-and-bobs to share with anyone wanting to learn more about the benefits of diffusing essential oils. Single essential oils, or blends of 100% pure oils [chemotyped and/or organic where possible], are Mother Nature’s aromatic gift towards our daily health and long-term well-being.

Purported benefits of diffusing certain oils, whether single oils or synergistic combinations of oils, include [but are not limited to] the following effects:

  • Reduction of airborne microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi/mould spores
  • Reduction or elimination of unpleasant odours
  • Relaxation and stress reduction
  • Relief of tension and anxiety
  • Mood elevation
  • Enhancement of mental alertness
  • Enhancement of mental and emotional tranquility
  • Improvement in concentration and mental clarity
  • Stimulation of neurotransmitters
  • Stimulation of endorphin secretion [feel-good hormones]
  • Improvement of hormonal balance
  • Improvement of digestive function
  • Relief of headaches
  • Relief of respiratory congestion
  • Immunomodulation.

DIY winter wellness

Here are a few essential oil diffuser synergies for you to try. For those of you who may have grown up with Olbas oil as a winter staple, here is one of the many formulations available for this synergy. Remember, Olbas isn’t only indicated for respiratory congestion, but is also used for relief of muscular aches and pains.


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