Types of Aromatherapy Diffusers

Aromatherapy diffusers are just one way of administering essential oils through inhalation. They can set the mood for a party, home, romantic occasion or simply to heal a specific health problem. There are different types of aromatherapy diffusers now available. Here’s a few pointers to help you make a decision on which type of aromatherapy diffuser is best for you.

Using an Aromatherapy Diffuser

Aromatherapy diffusers can be used with pure essential oils or fragrance oils. However, only essential oils can help you therapeutically; fragrance oils do not hold the same therapeutic properties that essential oils do. In addition, fragrance oils are synthetically made and may cause an allergic reaction in some people. In general, you only need to add a few drops of a specific essential oil to a diffuser. Aromatherapy diffusers work in different ways so read the instructions for use before using one.

Candle Aromatherapy Diffusers

Aromatherapy diffusers that are heated with a candle are the traditional type of aromatherapy diffuser. A few drops of essential oil, with water, are added to the ceramic tray/holder on top of the diffuser and a candle is placed underneath the tray/holder to heat up the essential oils and release the therapeutic fragrance into the air.

These types of aromatherapy diffusers should not be left unattended. You should also make sure that sufficient water is added to the tray/holder on top of the diffuser because the essential oil can burn out. If possible use a soy based or beeswax candle too as they do not contain the same harmful chemicals that non-soy candles do. A tea light candle is usually sufficient to use in a candle aromatherapy diffuser.

Electric Aromatherapy Diffusers

Electric aromatherapy diffusers are considered the safest type of aromatherapy diffuser. Electric diffusers usually have a glass container in which to add the essential oils. The diffuser pushes out the different sized essential oil molecules all at the same time. Electric aromatherapy diffusers have become more economical and environmentally friendly over time. Some types of aromatherapy electric diffusers now have silver ion sterilization technology which increase resistance to mold, corrosion, deodorize and sterilize.

Electric nebulizing aromatherapy diffusers force air into the the essential oils, through an air pump, so that when the essential oil molecules are released into the air, through a glass “nebulizer”, they are micro-sized. The result is a therapeutic blend of essential oils that is dispersed into the air and readily breathed in. Nebulizing aromatherapy diffusers are popular for respiratory conditions.

Homemade Aromatherapy Diffusers

You can also make a homemade aromatherapy diffuser very simply. According to Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, you can add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of boiling water. The essential oils will float on top of the water but the hot water helps to release the essential oil molecules into the air. Worwood also recommends placing a cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil behind a radiator during the winter months; the heat will release essential oil droplets into the air.

Aromatherapy Diffusers in a Clinical Setting

Perhaps one of the most valuable ways in which aromatherapy diffusers can be used in a clinical setting, such as a hospital room or therapy room. An essential blend can be adapted to suit the patient’s individual therapeutic needs. However, each patient should be consulted before using an aromatherapy diffuser as some people may not like the fragrance; in addition, there may be ethical considerations to take into account and the reason why many hospitals and therapy rooms in the United States do not routinely carry out this practice.

Oils for Aromatherapy Diffusers

Aromatherapy diffusers can be used to relieve respiratory complaints or to reduce stress and anxiety. They can also be used for romantic occasions if you use aphrodisiac essential oils such as rose, ylang ylang and sandalwood. Citrus oils, such as lemon, orange and lime, help to uplift the atmosphere whereas essential oils such as lavender help to create a relaxing atmosphere. Aromatherapy diffusers can be used in many ways, whatever type of aromatherapy diffuser you choose.


  • Price Shirley, Price Len, 2002, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, UK: Churchill Livingstone
  • Worwood, Valerie, 1991, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, USA: New World Library
  • Author’s own experience



Speak Your Mind