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Health Benefits of Diffusing Essential Oils

I own an ultrasonic oil diffuser, and I use it just about every day. In the morning, while making my tea, I diffuse peppermint and sweet orange oils to help clear my sinuses and wake up my mind. My husband and kids have come accustomed to the diffuser running when anyone is sick or stressed out. I have a stockpile of essential oils to choose from depending on the health benefits needed. It’s my go-to therapy for just about anything.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit, and it’s been around for centuries. There are three ways oil can penetrate the body; inhalation, ingestion, and absorption. Inhalation is through the air, ingestion is through the mouth, and absorption is through the skin. Aromatherapy is the inhalation of the scent molecules in essential oils. They travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and primarily affect the amygdala, a brain region that influences our emotions and nervous systems. So simply smelling certain smells affects biological functions like heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and the immune system. To reap the health benefits of diffusing essential oils, you need to know how to pair oils with symptoms. Below are my top essential oil blends for both relief and healing. Take note that all essential oils have multiple benefits; they tend to cross over a lot. I also listed alternatives or addins—feel free to swap oils to find blends that resonate with you.

Clarity and Energy

As mentioned above, I start my day with Peppermint and Sweet Orange essentials oils. Both oils help with focus, motivation, and energy enhancement. Peppermint’s cooling effect (menthol) also helps reduce inflammation in the sinuses, allowing for better oxygen intake. Sweet orange oil, like all citrus oils, refreshes, re-energizes and uplifts the mind. Together these two oils are a great way to start the day or as a pick-me-up when feeling tired.

15 drops Peppermint
5 drops Sweet Orange

Alternatives/Addins: Lemon, Lime, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Rosemary

Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

Whether I’ve had a stressful day, feeling emotional, or anxious about something to come, I turn to Bergamot, Frankincense, and Lavender. Bergamot oil is sourced from the peel of a citrus fruit called Citrus bergamia, and it’s known for improving negative emotions and fatigue. A 2015 study shows it lowers saliva cortisol levels (stress hormones). A side note, bergamot oil is in Earl Grey tea—brewing a cup can also reduce stress. Frankincense is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree and is very well known for its emotional health benefits by balancing emotions, lessening feelings of loneliness, frailty, and grief. Lavender is probably the most well-known essential oil for stress relief, and studies have shown it increases mood by reducing anxiety and depression. Lavender can cause sleepiness, so my recipe only uses five drops—however, add 10 drops if you’re diffusing before bed.

10 drops Bergamot
10 drops Frankincense
5 drops Lavender

Alternatives/Addins: Ylang-Ylang, Chamomile, Clary Sage

Immune Boost and Healing

I’m a big believer in Thieves and Oregano oil when it comes to infections and sickness, so I not only diffuse it, but I also take it internally. (You can read my article on boosting your immune system for more in-depth information about these oils.) Both oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Once in the bloodstream, they act similar to antibiotics—attacking and eliminating bacteria, viruses, and fungus. Oregano has high levels of carvacrol, known for eliminating bacteria, and recently researchers are exploring oregano oil to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Diffusing these oils helps get these benefits into the body to start fighting any infection or virus as well as supporting your immune system.

10 drops Thieves
10 drops Oregano

Alternatives/Addins: Eucalyptus, Thyme, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Rosemary

Sleepy Time

My go-to bedtime recipe is Lavender and Chamomile oils. As mentioned, Lavender oil works wonders to help calm your nervous system, which can be beneficial at bedtime. Not only can it help calm the mind and body to fall asleep easier, but science now shows it improves your quality of sleep by increasing slow-wave sleep, instrumental for slowing the heartbeat and relaxing muscles. Chamomile’s use as a sedative has been documented for centuries helping fight off insomnia in teas and oils. Similar to Lavender, it helps calm nerves, fighting anxiety and depression. When blended, it’s the perfect bedtime ritual for a stress-free slumber. Diffuse an hour before bedtime—works wonders with little kids!

10 drops Lavender
10 drops Chamomile

Alternatives/Addins: Valerian, Neroli, Cedarwood, Ylang-ylang, Clary Sage


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