By Jessica Franklin

Essential oils have been used for centuries not only for their aromatic properties, but also to treat various maladies before the advent of Western medicine. They have experienced a recent surge in popularity due to the variety of health and wellness benefits an individual user can gain on both a physical and mental level. While many can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically for everything from mosquito bites to athlete’s foot, the vast majority of essential oils are best enjoyed through diffusion.

Purchasing an oil diffuser may seem cut and dry, but there are actually four different types of diffusers to choose from. You’ll want to consider the size of the space that you plan to use it, as well as the climate you live in and your level of sensitivity to scents in the air.

Arguably the most popular type of diffuser is called the ultrasonic diffuser. It is extremely user-friendly, requiring only a bit of water and a few drops of the oil you want to use. The diffuser uses ultrasonic vibrations to create a fine mist with the water and oil added to the machine. Ultrasonic diffusers act as both a diffuser and a humidifier, which can be helpful if you live in a dry climate or are seeking to soothe a sore throat, but in an already humid climate like Florida, it might be an unwanted addition of more water to the air. Fear not, there are other types of diffusers that can help you use essential oils in the same manner.

Heat diffusers use, you guessed it, heat to disperse the scent of the oil efficiently and silently, however the heat can break down the oil’s molecules and alter its healing capabilities. Therefore, the most popular type of heat diffuser is often a tea light diffuser that has minimal heat that can help release the essential oils into the air but not severely change the chemical composition of the essential oil. But again, adding heat to an already warm Florida may not be your favorite go-to option.

An alternative that does not use heat is the evaporative diffuser, which typically involves a fan blowing against a pad with drops of pure oil on it, or wooden rods directly inserted into an essential oil mixture and dispersing the evaporated oil throughout the room. With this diffuser however, the lighter components evaporate first followed by the heavier components, so as they evaporate, the composition of the essential oil could change slightly but there are still health and wellness benefits from this type of diffusing such as the aroma released from the diffuser that can help energize you, calm you or relax you depending on what type of oil you add.

The final diffuser often used for aromatherapy is called a nebulizing diffuser. It does not use heat or water, but diffuses pure oil into the air via a fine mist. While a nebulizing diffuser can be costlier to purchase and can be a louder option than the other diffusers,

the health benefits from a nebulizing diffuser are the greatest. The essential oil is not diluted with water or changed with heat, so you can gain the full bene ts an oil has to o er for your health. You gain much more coverage for air freshener purposes than other diffusers

Spa Room Ultrasonic Diffuser Bed Bath and Beyond, $44.99

Raindrop Nebulizing Diffuser Organic Aromas, $95

Eco Candle Co. Fragrance Diffuser, $26

SpaRoom Diffuser, Walmart, $41