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diy reed diffuser

How to Use a Reed Diffuser

The biggest draw for most folks to a reed diffuser vs an ultrasonic diffuser is the ease of use. They require the least amount of work and maintenance. However, to get the most out of your reed diffuser, there are a few things to keep in mind for proper use. 

1. Choosing the right vessel

Whether you're buying a reed diffuser new, making one yourself, or just swapping out the vessel that it came with, you need to make sure you use the right one. Not every container will work. You want to choose one that has a small opening, so that the reeds fit in, but not anything else. This will keep dust and contaminants out, and will control the diffusion through the reeds vs. out of the bottle itself. 

2. Flip the Reeds

You'll want to regularly flip the reeds, to ensure uniform wicking and allow for the oil to disperse itself evenly over time. Typically, you only need to do this once every couple weeks, or when you notice the aroma decreasing. The smell is more noticeable after a flip, as you refresh the reeds and flip the direction of oil flow. So if you want more aroma when someone is coming to visit, give those reeds a quick flip. 

3. Change out the Reeds

Over time, the reeds due clog up and lose their effectiveness. Typically when you refill the oil is a great time to change out the reeds, so between 3-6 months is a good timeline to keep in mind, depending on your diffuser. 

4. Adjust the Number of Reeds

Some brands give you 10 reeds right off the hop, some 5. Regardless of the number, your space will have different aroma needs depending on the size of the room and where you live. You can easily adjust the aroma level by removing or adding reeds. It also speeds up or slows down the diffusion. So, you may only need one or two reeds in a small bathroom. You may want all 10 in your living room. And, if you're going away for longer periods of time, just consider taking them all out to save the oil. 

5. Use a Coaster

You don't have to use an actual coaster for this, but you may want to consider placing a small decorative plate underneath your reed diffuser if you want to protect the surface underneath. This is really only of concern when you are refilling it, so not everyone will need to consider this use tip. 

6. Choose the Right Room

Because reed diffusers work using evaporation, it requires the circulation of air to evaporate the oils from the reed. Placing the diffuser in an area with good air circulation and foot traffic, like your entranceway, bathroom or near a frequently used door window will allow for good air circulation and good evaporation. 

And there you have it! 6 great tips for use of your reed diffuser to get the most of it. Did we miss any big tips you often adhere to? Comment below with any tips for use we may have missed. 

a picture of a reed diffuser

DIY Reed Diffuser

A reed diffuser is one of the best additions to your home for both functionality and fashion. Reed diffusers provide passive aromatherapy for months at a time, with little to no maintenance.

If this is a project you've been eyeing up, then this might be the right time to dive in! It's a super easy project and won't take long at all. You just need the right components and then you'll have your very own reed diffuser! 

diy reed diffuser

How to Make Your Own DIY Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

An easy project that anyone can do! 

What You're Going to Need:

  • 1/4 cup of light carrier oil (safflower oil or almond oil are best) 
  • 5-10 reed sticks (rattan reeds are recommended)
  • 25-30 drops of your favourite essential oils (buy from these brands)
  • square-o
    1-2 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol (optional)
  • square-o
    Your chosen vessel (preferably with a small opening)


1. In a measuring cup or bowl, add the 1/4 cup of carrier, and 25-30 drop sof your essential oil or essential oil blends. 

2. If you're using the isopropyl alcohol, add it in to the oil mixture now and mix thoroughly to combine.

3. Pour the mixture into your vessel. Use a funnel if the opening is so small to avoid leaks. 

4. Insert your reeds into the vessel. After a 5-6 hours (overnight is fine if you forget) flip the reeds. 

5. Replace the oil and reeds as necessary, every 3 months or so. 

What to Expect from your DIY Reed Diffuser

Reed diffusers don't produce the same amount of aroma as other, electrically powered diffusers, so don't be surprised if it doesn't smell as strong as you expect. Placing your diffuser in a high traffic area or a room with lots of air circulation will help produce aroma as the oils continue to evaporate. 

Need Inspiration from the Most Popular Reed Diffusers?

If you're looking for some inspiration for scents or vessel designs, or just want to skip the trouble of doing it yourself, check out our list of the most popular reed diffusers of the year. 

what essential oils are good for gout

What Essential Oils are Good for Gout?

Gout is a form of athritis, where tiny particles of sodium urate, or uric acid, accumulate around joints, most commonly in in the big toe, however it can occur anywhere in the body. Uric acid is produced naturally in the body during normal metabolism, however we do also ingest small amounts of uric acid in certain foods. 

Too much of the uric acid causes it to accumulate in joints where it crystallizes, causing intense pain, redness and inflammation. There are a few different ways to treat gout and gout attacks, including adopting a gout-friendly diet and certain medications. However, many people find relief and symptom reduction from the use of anti-inflammatory and pain reducing essential oils. 

How to Use Essential Oils for Gout

While we mentioned eating a gout-friendly diet, essential oils should never be ingested. Treatment of gout using essential oils is typically done using a diluted form of the oil and applied topically to the affected joints. Once you choose an oil - or blend of oils, dilute them into a neutral oil like olive, coconut, jojoba, almond or avocado oil and rub that mixture onto the affected areas.

Making a foot bath with some diluted oils and epsom salts is also a great way to promote circulation and reduce inflammation of the feet. 

How to Dilute Essential Oils

Dilution is key for essential oils, as the concentrated oils can cause adverse reactions with skin. Diluting the oils also allows for a little to go a long way, helping the spread of the effective molecules reach everywhere they need to. 

Typically, a 0.5-1% dilution is used for topical application. This means, if you have 100ml of carrier oil, you will add 1ml of essential oil. If you only want to make 10ml of diluted oil, use 0.1ml of essential oil, which is typically around 3 drops. Or, use a handy dilution chart to help dilute. 

What Essential Oils are Good for Gout?

Now that we know how to use these oils for gout, it’s time to choose which ones to use. 

1. Celery

celery oil

Some studies have suggested that the use of celery seed oil actually work to enhance the effectiveness of gout medications. It boosts the anti-inflammatory effects of the medication and reduce pain and swelling. Dilute it into one of the oils we discussed above and rub away! 

2. Lemongrass

lemongrass oil

Lemongrass is well known to promote blood circulation, which can help clear uric acid crystals from the body. Studies also point to its reduction in pain, inflammation, and potential use for clearing uric acid from the body. Eating actual lemongrass which you get from the grocery store is also a great way to reduce gout symptoms.

3. Ginger

revive ginger oil

Ginger has been used around the world for centuries as a spice, but also as a medicine. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and can possibly reduce levels of uric acid in the body and reduce the pain and other symptoms of gout. Try diffusing ginger essential oil, or brewing tea made with ginger root from the store.

4. Lavender

lavender essential oil

Lavender is well known for its pain-relieving and soothing effects. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the symptoms of gout. A diluted application topically can help soothe joints. 

5. Tea Tree

rocky mountain tea tree oil

Tea Tree is another oil with some many uses, and the reduction of pain and inflammation is one of its most important. It also has the added benefit of antifungal and antimicrobial properties, making it a perfect oil for topical application - once diluted.


Remember, that essential oils should never be ingested, and always be diluted before use with skin. And, always try a small amount to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction. You should always consult your doctor before using essential oils as they can interfere with certain prescription medications, or cause other side effects. 

how to apply essential oils to feet

How to Apply Essential Oils to Your Feet

Essential oils are all the rage these days - and for good reason. People are starting to realize the numerous benefits that essential oils can provide for our health. Essential oils are the essence of plants, harvested from the leaves, flowers, bark or roots of plants. These oils are then concentrated from these raw materials leaving us with nothing but the fragrant, and reactive oils. 

Essential oils are known to reduce nausea, anxiety, and also have antimicrobial and antifungal effects. They can help with sleep, energy, breathing, and more, you just have to select the right one. But, you’re here to learn about applying essential oils to your feet.

How to Apply Essential Oils to Feet 

There are two main ways that we recommend applying essential oils to feet: through an oil rub, and through a soak.

Oil Rub

Essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin. Diluting involves putting a few drops of the essential oil into a larger amount of an inert oil like olive, grapeseed, coconut, or really any household oil. It just depends on your personal taste on what oil you’d like to use.

How much essential oil and carrier oil depends on how much you are making, but you can use an easy to follow dilution chart to find the right concentration. General rule of thumb is to use a 1% dilution. 

Making a 1% dilution

It’s really easy to dilute your oils to 1%. First, decide how much carrier oil you will use. For this example, we’ll use 10ml. 1% of 10ml is 0.1ml (10 x .01). So, put 0.1ml of essential oil into the mix. This is roughly 3 drops from most essential oil bottles. Always better to stay on the more diluted side to be safe.

Foot Soak

The other great way to apply essential oils to your feet is to soak them in water, with either an essential oil dilution in the water, or in an epsom salt mix. You can fill a bin with water and put in the goodies, or just have a full bath and get the benefits on your feet but also the rest of your body. 

Why Apply Essential Oils to Your Feet, And Which Ones to Use When

Well, there’s actually a few reasons why you would want to apply oils to your feet. If you’re into reflexology, then you probably already know all about how important our feet are. Our feet are major absorption points of our bodies, and dictate a lot of our physical and emotional well being.

Antifungal Properties

Many essential oils possess antifungal properties that can help to prevent, and eliminate foot and toe fungus. Some oils to try include pine, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, eucalyptus, citronella and mint. 

Energizing Effects

If you buy into the absorptive properties of feet, then you’ll like to know about a few oils that help invigorate and energize you and keep you going through those long days. Try lemon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, pine, bergamot, basil, ginger, or a mix of any of those to give your feet - and body - a little boost to get through the rest of the day. 

Soothing & Relaxing Pain or Fatigue

Most folks work long days on their feet and can build up a lot of tension and aches and pains as a result. Many essential oils have soothing and relaxing properties that are great to apply to the feet to help them, and the mind and body to relax and promote calm. Lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, eucalyptus and sandalwood are all known to reduce inflammation, pain and also promote calm.

what essential oils are good for snoring?

What Essential Oils are Good for Snoring?

Essential oils have been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of ailments. These concentrated oils of medicinal plants possess a wide range of benefits. We call them essential oils because they possess the very essence of the plants they come from - what gives them their flavour, odor and medicinal properties. 

Essential oils are produced from the leaves, bark, flowers or even roots of plants. They are most often macerated, fresh or dried, and then either cold-pressed or distilled most commonly. This removes all of the unwanted plant fibers and water, leaving nothing but the essential oils - the good stuff. 

Clinical trials show that essential oils can help reduce the effects of many afflictions, including nausea, anxiety and helping people sleep. But what about snoring? While there’s no peer-reviewed scientific journal confirming the effectiveness of essential oils and snoring, many people swear by the positive effects of these compounds for reducing snoring. 

Nearly half of all adults snore, and if you’ve found this article, it’s likely that you’re being affected by this too. Here’s a list of essential oils to try, and see if they help you get back to regular sleeps.

1. Citronella

Because the consumption of alcohol - even a little bit - relaxes muscles, it can be a contributor to snoring. If you have a glass of wine at night it might increase your chances of snoring. Citronella is a detoxifying oil that could help you metabolize the alcohol and reduce the snore. Try diluting a small amount into a throat spray. 

2. Lavender

Lavender is often used in the treatment of insomnia, because the gentle and soothing aroma helps you relax, and it might even trigger the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Try a lavender bed spray, spraying your pillow down with diluted lavender oil before bed. 

3. Sage

Sage oil is a bit of a workhorse in the essential landscape. It’s been used for centuries for various treatments, above all else, it’s typically used for respiratory conditions. Sage finds a balance between a bright and invigorating oil and one that is soothing making it great for night time use. 

4. Peppermint

A lot of snoring is caused by blockages in the sinuses and nasal cavity. The anti-inflammatory and purging qualities of peppermint make it great for clearing out the sinuses and nose. Dilute the peppermint with a carrier oil and try applying a little under the nostrils or even inside the nose to help breath clearly. 

5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is another oil to try with similar effects to peppermint. It’s often used to reduce the symptoms of respiratory issues such as cold and flu, asthma or bronchitis. Eucalyptus is great for reducing inflammation, clearing your throat and sinuses, and helping to soothe the back of your throat. This is a great one for a throat spray or applying to the nose. 

6. Pine

With antimicrobial and antifungal properties, pine is a go-to for many inflammatory issues. Snoring could be partially caused by spores in the air which pine oil can help to negate. Try a diluted oil in the nose, as a throat spray, or even just diffusing through the night. Just be aware that diffusing certain oils isn’t great for your pets. But, pine is a great oil to try for snoring, and makes it feel like you’re sleeping in the forest.

Other Oils to Try

There are many other oils you may want to try as well, as one size doesn’t always fit all in this world. Some other ones to try may be marjoram, clove, cedarwood, thyme, and valerian. And if those don’t work, just get in touch, we’ll find a solution for you.

plastics safe with essential oils

What Type of Plastic is Safe for Essential Oils

Essential oils are the highly concentrated oils of plants, containing a variety of chemical compounds and molecules. This high concentration can often cause reactions with certain types of containers, such as certain plastics. It’s important to choose a container that is safe for essential oils, either for storage or use. There are a few different materials that are safe to store essential oils, and you can learn more below. There are two types of plastic safe with essential oils: HDPE and PET, though we generally suggest you use glass for pure, concentrated oils and leave plastic for diluted oils. 

What Type of Plastic is Safe for Essential Oils?

There are two types of plastics that are safe for essential oils. Other types may react with the compounds within the oils and degrade or melt the plastic, or form toxic compounds. Both HDPE and PET plastics are safe for essential oils. However, it’s always best to dilute the essential oils before using these for long term storage. 


This type of plastic, known as polyethylene teraphthalate is a common plastic used often for containers such as pop bottles. It’s also safe for essential oils, so make sure you check the plastic for the PET or #1 symbol, usually on the bottom of the container. One thing to keep in mind is that these bottles are typically clear, which is not always ideal for essential oils, as light can degrade the oils. 


HDPE, or high density polyethylene, is a commonly used plastic in the food and beauty industry. It’s also safe for the storage of essential oils. What’s also nice about HDPE containers is that they are usually less clear than PET bottles, which helps to extend the shelf life of you essential oils. 

What Else Should You Use for Essential Oil Storage?


Glass is arguably the best material you can use for essential oil storage. The nature of glass is such that any compound within the oil cannot permeate through the glass, making it completely sealed. It’s also extremely easy to clean and re-use! Glass comes in all different colours however the best type of glass to use is amber, then blue or green. Essential oils are degraded by light so using a darkened glass is the best way to extend the life of your oils. In general, we suggest you only ever use glass to store pure/concentrated essential oils. 


Less commonly used with essential oils than glass is steel. You’re probably less likely to have a stainless steel container to use with essential oils than a glass one, but it may happen, and it’s good to know it’s safe to use. The odds of you having a metal other than steel in your home is also unlikely, but it’s better to stay away from using anything but. Steel provides better durability than glass as it won’t break. Stainless steel water bottles are great storage containers for essential oils if you have one laying around unused. Just make sure you label it clearly and don’t leave it hanging around the kitchen or anywhere else it could be confused for something drinkable!

How to Burn Essential Oils Without Diffuser: The 8 Actually Useful Ways

1. Just use the bottle

Without a doubt, the easiest way to diffuse essential oils without any kind of device is just using the bottle they come in. If you need some aromatherapy on the go, or just a quick and simple way to get a quick inhalation of your favourite oil, just pop the cap and have a sniff! It may seem overly simple but this is the original, and arguably best way to diffuse an essential oil. 

2. Spray bottle

Looking to diffuse your oil into an area without an outlet or just somewhere your diffuser isn’t reaching? A spray bottle is one of the best ways to do this. Mix a similar dilution of water to essential oil mixture, and pour it into a clean spray bottle. Shake the bottle extremely well to ensure you break up the essential oils into as tiny droplets as possible, and spray away!

reed diffuser

3. Reeds

This is a classic way to diffuse essential oils. Reed diffusion involves putting a dilution of essential oils with carrier oils into a small container, with the reeds inside and sticking out. The oils wick up the reed and evaporate out into the air near the top of the reed. This is a great passive method of diffusion, low and slow. It’s also great because they add a beautiful accent to many modern designs in the home.

4. Cotton Balls

This is an especially great way to make the most of your near empty essential oil bottles. Cotton balls soak up the oils and then evaporate out in a similar fashion to reed diffusion. If you’re using up a near-empty bottle of essential oils, stuff the cotton balls in straight to the bottom and then just leave the cap off for the diffusion to take place. 

5. On the stovetop

This is another simple way to get aromatherapy in the home. Put a mixture of water and essential oil, or carrier oil with essential oil on the stovetop in a small pot on the lowest setting possible. The heat will slowly evaporate out the oils into the air. You want to try and stir the oils to break up into small droplets, and also be careful you don’t evaporate out all the water and burn the bottom of your pot!

6. In the bath

While not exactly diffusion, using essential oils in the bath - either in bath bombs or in a carrier oil - is an amazing way to get the benefits of aromatherapy. Once it hits the warm water, it will diffuse out into the air, and you also get some nice benefits while soaking.

7. Candles

There are three ways to use candles to diffuse out essential oils. First, you can buy some essential oil infused candles. The second way is to make your own infused candles! The last way, and definitely the easiest, is to put a few drops into any regular candle while burning. Ideally, there will be a small puddle of wax in your candle already. 

8. Necklace

This is a commonly used way to bring essential oils with you wherever you go. Necklaces or bracelets made for diffusion usually contain some sort of porous disc or other mechanism to soak with an essential oil, and then snap into an enclosure so you can get some aromatherapy wherever you are. There are some pretty beautiful necklaces you can get out there too!

peppermint oil

How to Make Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil contains a wide range of benefits, and is easy to make at home. All you need is peppermint, olive oil and a glass container!

Why Make Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has a wide range of uses. Research has shown that it is a useful treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), nausea, and other digestive issues. In addition, it can also be used to effectively treat symptoms of the common cold.

Peppermint oil also has a variety of uses around the house and in the kitchen! A splash of peppermint oil will spice up any salad dressing in an instant. Same goes for cocktails! A few drops in whipped cream makes for a lovely topping on almost any dessert. It’s also an amazing oil to use in a spray for around the house, or for DIY cleaning supplies.

peppermint leaf

How to Make Peppermint Oil

Making an infused peppermint oil is quick and easy, and you only need a few things. 

What You Need:

  • Fresh peppermint (try to get from your local farmer’s market)
  • A mild carrier oil. You want a mild oil so that the smell or taste doesn’t interfere with the peppermint. Olive oil is great, but any other household choice works great too such as grapeseed. Flax oil would be one we would avoid. Just keep in mind that coconut oil will need to be melted first, and also when you want to use it - depending on where you live and ambient temperatures.
  • Optional: cheesecloth or a thin cloth. To strain out the leaves of mint. 
  • Glass container (any old jar will do) with a lid, large enough to hold how much oil you want. Preferably it is a dark colour so help maintain the purity of the oil. 

The amount of oil and peppermint will vary depending on the size of your container, and how strong you want your oil to be. You can’t go wrong here! Play around with different amounts until you find the right balance. You can always add more mint if it’s not strong enough, or add more oil if it’s too strong.


  1. Wash and dry the mint.
  2. Crush the mint with a spoon, your hands or a mortar and pestle.
  3. Pack the crushed mint into your jar
  4. Pour the oil in to fill the jar and secure the lid tightly
  5. Let steep in the oil for a minimum of 3 days to a maximum of 6 months in a cool, dark place 
  6. Shake whenever you remember, to help the process along
  7. Strain out the leaves from the oil when you are satisfied with the strength of the oil
  8. Store in a cool dark place in a preferably 

Benefits of Peppermint Oil

  • Peppermint oil has been shown to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • It’s also been shown to reduce chronic itching
  • Peppermint oil is a commonly used treatment for pain of tension headaches, migraines and more. 
  • Nausea and vomiting are often abated by using peppermint oil
  • Peppermint oil is also known to reduce the severity of of IBS and other GI conditions as it may relax the smooth muscles of the intestinal tract, reduce inflammation, promote a healthy gut biome, and decrease pain in the GI tract.
peppermint flower

Peppermint Essential oil vs Peppermint Infused Oils

Essential oils are produced from various plants, fruits and flowers, and are the concentrated oils from within the plants. Essential oils are produced most often using distillation. Infused oils involve steeping the peppermint in oil infusing its properties into the oil. This is not as fine of a procedure as distillation, but is much easier and faster to do and does not require any special materials. For instructions on producing a distilled peppermint oil, check out this video. For an easy peppermint oil, this article has got you covered.

Aromatherapy Explained

You may have heard the word “aromatherapy” tossed around when searching for essential oils or diffusers, but not actually know what it means. It’s actually quite intuitive: therapy using aromas. Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils that can be extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots and other parts of a plant to help improve and balance you both emotionally and physically. In addition to essential oils, aromatherapy encourages the use of other complementary natural substances such as vegetable oils, waxes, herbs, salts, sugars and muds. Synthetic substances such as fragrance oils are not the same as essential oils and do not provide any therapeutic benefits.

Aromatherapy assists the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself, making it an excellent complementary therapy that treats the whole person rather than just the symptom or disease. Aromatherapy treatments are offered in practices such as massage centers, yoga studios, spas, hospice care, medical offices and many more, and can also be safely practiced as self-administered care at home.

The History of Aromatherapy

The term aromatherapy is credited to René Gattefossé, a nineteenth century French chemist and perfumist who studied essential oils. He badly burned his hand during an experiment and plunged it into the nearest tub of liquid which happened to be lavender essential oil. Amazed by how quickly his burn healed as a result of treatment with he began a deep study into essential oils and the treatment of wounds, skin cancer, ulcers, gangrene and spider bites. He titled his book “Aromatherapy” and thus the term was born.

However, aromatherapy has been a trusted practice among cultures spanning the globe for over 5,000 years before the term was coined. Ancient Egyptians are credited to have developed the first distillation machines to extract oils from certain plants. The practice of using infused aromatic oils as a mood enhancer is thought to have roots in China. The Greeks believed that the gods were gifted with the knowledge of perfume and fragrance, and practiced aromatherapy as a healing medicine.

Essential Oils

Plants contain beneficial chemicals they use as a means of protecting themselves from predators such as insects and rodents, and to defend against fungus, bacteria and viruses. When a plant is distilled, these active ingredients are extracted with the oils and are preserved with alcohol. The result is a highly concentrated oily formula that allows people to harness the defensive and healing properties of plants. Because of their high concentration, essential oils used in aromatherapy practices are usually combined with a carrier oil or diluted in water before being applied to the skin. Essential oils can also be carefully blended together for a specific therapeutic purpose, creating a more complex aroma. This essential oil synergy is considered to be greater than each oil working independently. The key to aromatherapy is to use pure, therapeutic grade oils rather than those with synthetic ingredients.


The effects of essential oils can be experienced through the sense of smell which is linked to the deepest parts of the brain, governing basic instincts, thoughts and emotions, or physically to manage pain, inflammation, infection and disease.

Aromatically: Any essential oils can be used aromatically through the use of a diffuser, inhaling directly from a cloth or the bottle, or through the use of aromatherapy candles. Many studies have investigated the effects of aroma on improving mood, alleviating stress and reducing anxious feelings.

Topically: Essential oils can also be used topically, applying the oils directly to your skin, to help with skin irritations, blemishes, pain, inflammation and more. Essential oils should always be diluted before being applied to the skin. Aromatherapy is administered topically through massage, water baths, mud baths, steam rooms and more.

Internally: The internal use of essential oils is the perfect solution to target the immune or digestive system. Make sure only to ingest oils with extreme caution and under the guidance of an aromatherapy professional. Internal applications of essential oils include swallowing as part of health capsules, used in enhancing beverages or within cooking recipes.

As with any substance, precautions must be taken before use. Depending on a person’s medical history, they may have allergies or sensitivities to certain oils. Many oils should be avoided for use around infants, children and pets, as well as when pregnant or breast-feeding. In general, only use oils if you know for sure they are completely pure and always start with the lowest dose possible. It is best to consult with a professional before beginning any type of aromatherapy.

Buying from a Reputable Essential Oil Brand

Of course, Aromatherapy wouldn’t be possible without first getting your hands on some essential oils. There are many different brands to choose from, and it can be difficult to choose a trusted, and reputable brand. So, we put together a comprehensive guide to buying the best essential oils from trusted, reputable brands.

Professionals & Experts

Today there are a number of organizations that train and certify professional aromatherapists. Certification usually involves completing a number of hours of training, passing an exam, and supervised hours working with patients.

Aromatherapists are typically trained in

  • History of aromatherapy
  • Essential oil profiles
  • Ensuring quality of essential oils
  • Physiology of aromatherapy
  • Treating medical conditions
  • Contraindications and safety concerns

You can visit the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy to find a therapist in your area

An aromatherapist takes into account a person’s medical history, emotional state, health and lifestyle before planning a course of treatment. This holistic approach has been hugely successful because it treats the whole person and not just the symptoms of an illness. For example, many physical symptoms such as backaches, headaches or irritable bowel syndrome are often the result of stress rather than a physical problem. By looking at the causes of the stress, the aromatherapist can provide treatments to alleviate the condition in a much more efficient and long-term manner.

Aromatherapy can also be practiced safely through self-care in your own home using aromatic methods such as diffusion (though it is best to consult a professional before using essential oils topically or internally). Through research of different essential oils and their benefits one can easily devise their own treatment of essential oil blends. These can then be dispersed into the air using a diffuser or candle, or simply smelled straight from the bottle. In today’s age, essential oils are readily available in stores and online, making the joys of aromatherapy accessible to anyone.

Do Essential Oils Really Work?

Humans have been using botanical essences for thousands of years, both as perfumes and to treat ailments. The Greek physician Hypocrites documented the effects of over 300 plants and their essences for use in medicinal practices. During the Bubonic Plague of the 14th Century it was noted that less people died of the plague in areas where frankincense and pine were burned in the streets. A French chemist in 1928 submerged his burnt hand in a tray of essential oil of lavender and was astonished to discover his hand healed with no infection or scarring. This lead to lavender being introduced to many hospitals in France, following which an outbreak of the Spanish influenza resulted in no reported deaths of hospital personnel.

In today’s age, fragrances can be manufactured. Although the scent of lavender can be synthesized using linalool, it is a harsher and less rounded scent than the real thing. The chemical complexity of a pure essential oil is crucial for its effectiveness. Essential oils today are removed from plants by steam distillation or mechanical expression and are touted not only for use in perfumes but also in diffusers, bathwater, through topical application and even for ingestion. Mood, stress, insomnia, and pain are some of the many ailments thought to be improved through therapeutic use of essential oils. But is all this too good to be true?

What the Research Says

When it comes to research concerning the use of essential oils, there just hasn’t been enough. One review of the research surrounding aromatherapy only discovered 200 publications of essential oil research, the results of which were inconclusive overall (1). But, that’s sometimes how science works, just because we can’t measure the effect (yet) doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It takes time for new treatments and remedies to catch up with traditional medicine. With so many different essential oils being applied to such a wide range of uses there is a need for far more studies surrounding its use. 

Here’s what some recent studies have concluded:

There are, however, some exciting implications for essential oils being supported by research. Various essential oils (most notably tea tree oil) have been effective fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria (2). This suggests tea tree oil could be effective for use against infections, in soaps and cleaning products and even treating acne and scarring. Diffusing rosemary has been shown to improve cognitive performance (3), lavender has been shown to reduce post-operative pain (4), and the scent of lemon has been effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (5). So, although much of the research has been inconclusive thus far, the number of successes seen through experimentation warrant deeper investigation through well-designed studies.

The Placebo Effect

If the inconclusive nature of the research to date leaves you unconvinced of essential oil effectiveness, then consider its use as a pleasing placebo. The placebo effect has been known to bring about remission in chronic disease, reduce headaches and coughs, induce sleep and relieve post-operative pain. The placebo effect is a complex neurobiological reaction that increases feel-good neurotransmitters and increases brain activity in regions linked to moods and self-awareness, providing a therapeutic benefit. The ritual of engaging in an activity for self-help such as taking a medication or diffusing an oil can trigger the placebo effect, regardless of the effectiveness of the treatment. And not only that, but the placebo effect can work alongside an effective treatment increasing its potency. The stronger of an effect that you expect, the greater the treatment’s result is, making you happier and healthier.

In other words, thanks to the placebo effect, even if essential oils don’t work, thinking they do has the same effect as if they did.

The Benefits of Good Smells and Scent Association

Placebo effect aside, research has shown that simple exposure to pleasant odors can improve mood and productivity in subjects compared with those in an odor-free environment. A certain smell has no personal significance until it becomes connected to something that has meaning. For example, smelling a loved one’s perfume can conjure the person in your mind more than just a photo. Or more practically, when studying for a test you can utilize a certain scent, and if you bring that scent with you to the exam it can improve your ability to recall the information. By becoming aware of the way specific odors affect you, you can use the information to enhance your health and well-being.

Any pleasing smell can lift mood, but recent studies suggest that sweet smells work best. A sweet taste reduces pain by activating opioid and pleasure systems in the brain. Through our memory of the taste, a sweet smell will activate the same systems. This same method can be applied to relaxation. By smelling a certain scent when you are in a relaxed state, you can then utilize that scent to induce a feeling of relaxation even when it isn’t present.

Well, Do They Work or Not?

Essential oils may or may not work as advertised and it is very hard to tell because so little research has been done. The small amount of research that there is does show some exciting implications for their use physiologically in fighting stress, gastrointestinal symptoms, acne, drug-resistant bacteria and more. However when it comes to the effects of specific essential oils on mood the evidence is fuzzy. Utilizing essential oils as a pleasing smell in your day to day life can have powerful effects on both mood and physiological symptoms through scent association and the placebo effect. Since aromatherapy has few adverse effects, there’s no harm in using this to your advantage, and you may be curing yourself in the process. The truth is, that’s just too good ignore.