reed diffuser

Diffuser- Aromatherapy Terms

In aromatherapy diffusers are used to diffuse essential oils into the air. The dispersal of the aroma of essential oils is known as aromatherapy.

By dispersing the molecules of an essential oil into the air, you are able to inhale the aroma of the essential oils. The aroma is inhaled into the nose and the lungs.

The molecules that enter the nose impact the scent receptors in the nose. These scent receptors then send the signals to the limbic center of the brain.

The limbic system is where basic emotions and drives originate. The limbic system affects the endocrine system and autonomic nervous system.

This is why certain smells such apple pie can evoke strong emotions and memories of your grandmother baking in her kitchen.

When we use a diffuser we are distributing certain essential oils into the air to affect the limbic system. Each essential oil has a unique effect. Essential oils can also be blended together in a diffuser blend to compliment each other both aromatically and in the effects they can evoke in the mind and body.

Types Of Diffusers

There are several different types of diffusers. Let’s look at a few.

Passive Diffuser

A passive diffuser can be a ceramic dish or it can be as simple as a cotton ball. A few drops of essential oil are placed onto the diffuser. As the essential oil evaporates the molecules of the oil diffuse into the air.

Passive diffusers are useful for small confined spaces, such as beside your bed in a bedroom. They are not effective for large spaces.

Reed Diffuser

A reed diffuser uses rattan sticks which have channels that allow the essential oil molecules to move up the sticks and diffuse into the room.

The essential oils are placed into a container and the sticks are placed into the essential oil. This is another form of passive diffusion.

Heat Diffuser

There are several types of diffusers that use heat to evaporate essential oils and diffuse them into the air.

The most common type is shown above. They have a ceramic bowl on top into which water and a few drops of essential oil are placed. In the bottom is placed a small tea light candle which heats the water and evaporates the essential oil.

Another way of using heat the diffuse essential oils is by adding a few drops to the wax of a candle. Once the candle has a pool of liquid wax, essential oils may be added to the wax to help them diffuse.

If you choose this method of diffusion be very careful. Essential oils are flammable! They should never be dropped directly onto a candle flame due to the fire risk.

Ultrasonic Diffuser

An ultrasonic diffuser uses a piezoelectric crystal which vibrates many times a second to diffuse the essential oil.

Water is placed into the tub of the diffuser and a few drops of essential oil are added. The diffuser breaks the water and essential oil into a fine mist. A small fan then blows the mist out the top of the diffuser into the room.

This type of diffuser not only has the benefit of diffusing the essential oil, but it also adds humidity to the room.

Most diffusers of this type also have a safety shutoff which will turn off the diffuser when the water level gets low.

Nebulizing Diffuser

The last type of diffuser I want to talk about is the nebulizer diffuser. This type of diffuser also breaks down the molecules of essential oil and water into tiny particles which are diffused into the air.

The downside to these diffusers is that they are noisy and may be hard to clean.


There are many types of diffusers for using essential oils. I use and recommend the ultrasonic type. The reason I recommend the ultrasonic type is that it has a safety shutoff, so you are protected from issues such as leaving a candle burning if you fall asleep. I use mine with Lavender essential oil nightly to help with trouble sleeping and staying asleep. When I wake up the next morning the diffuser has shut itself down during the night, and I didn’t have to worry about a fire starting.

If you need essential oils we also offer a line of 100% pure therapeutic grade oils in our online shop as well.