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What Is Essential Oil Diffuser?
Essential oils have even been demonstrated in lab studies to kill flu, E. coli, and cancer cells. "Research shows that, when inhaled, the oils activate your brain's hypothalamus, which aromatherapy diffuser controls hormones, energy, and drive," says Illup Louis Gravengaard, a director of alchemy at I AM Enlightened Creations, an aromatherapy and healthy-lifestyle company. Different essential oils trigger different responses in the brain, which, in turn, directs your nervous system to, say, chill out or spring into action. 7 Smart Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp for Decades The findings are promising (imagine swapping pills for scents!), but they come with a caveat: "Whatever is powerful enough to exert a beneficial effect in the body is powerful enough to exert a negative effect," says Bauer. Essential oils release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), off-gases often linked to paints and pesticides. (Some VOCs are more hazardous than others, and "volatile" just means a substance can evaporate.) So while, for instance, moderate exposure to essential oils can be heart-healthy, prolonged exposure can pose cardiac risks. The key is staying within a 15-to 60-minute sweet spot—never breathe in essential oils for more than one hour at a time. Always follow the instructions on the bottle, and if you are taking any medications or suffer from a chronic health condition, ask your doctor before you start practicing aromatherapy. Just as with any other medicine, essential oils must be used correctly to yield huge health rewards. Since they're not yet FDA-regulated, the essential oils on store shelves may not be the real thing, says essential-oil expert Megan Schwarz, creator of the blog Seed to Serum. Follow these tips to make sure you purchase genuine products: Beware the blanket aromatherapy label, often slapped on diluted oils laced with synthetic fragrances. Look for 100 percent pure and organic oils free of fillers, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals. If a label says therapeutic grade or steam distilled, even better. Most essential oils have long shelf lives—more than a year if stored in a cool, dry place. If the shop you're in is hot or humid, buy elsewhere. A diffuser is the most effective way to unleash essential oils into the air, but if you don't have one (they run from $25 to $200), you can drip oil into a bowl of steaming hot water. In either case, use one or two drops of one oil at a time.