Aromatherapy is not used to hide unpleasant odors. Rather, it is a form of alternative medicine that uses plant extracts and aromatic plant oils to alter one’s mood and improve cognitive, psychological, and physical well-being. Among the other benefits of aromatherapy, it allows the body’s immune system to strengthen and improves one’s ability to heal. Aromatherapy has become a large field of study, with the goal of creating balance of the body, mind, and spirit.
Many companies capitalizing on the “fad” of aromatherapy have created synthetic fragrances and infused their oils and candles with them, instead of using genuine plant material. Chemists may tell you that the active ingredient in the synthetic variety is the same as in the plant extract, but those who use these products will tell you that the physiological effects are not the same. Not only are the benefits of the aromatherapy reportedly lost in synthetic production, the synthetic varieties generate VOCs, which can degrade air quality instead of enhancing it!
Medical research on the benefits of aromatherapy is limited, but growing. These products are not regulated by the FDA, so if you decide to try out aromatherapy for your home, make sure you purchase genuine plant extract materials and essential oils. Aromatherapy oils can be placed on dryer balls, placed into diffusers, mixed with beeswax in candles, or dripped onto potpourri.
The Lampe Berger is a unique form of diffuser which has been around since 1898, when it was first created by a Parisian pharmacist named Maurice Berger. According to its manufacturer’s website, this diffuser was initially conceived as a way to limit the spread of sepsis within hospitals by purifying the air. These products are not used in hospitals anymore but are mainly used in businesses and in homes, where they rid a room of undesirable odors and produce a subtle relaxing fragrance. I have enjoyed using a Lampe Berger for many years. Different fragrances can be used to create different moods in different rooms. These diffusers have not been found to produce benzene, styrene, naphthalene, formaldehyde, or acetaldehyde. They do produce some ozone, but at safe levels.
I’d recommend investigating the benefits of aromatherapy. Choose an appealing fragrance and pick a method of dispersion. Try it and see how you feel with its use. With clean, optimized air, your home will truly become a refuge, a place to relax.
See all the posts in this series on airborne toxins in your home:
Indoor Air Toxins 101: The Basics of Indoor Pollution
Indoor Air Toxins 101: Understanding How We Breathe
Indoor Air Toxins 101: Understanding Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor Air Toxins 101: The Dangers of Candles
Indoor Air Toxins 101: Reducing Indoor Black Soot
Indoor Air Toxins 101: VOCs, Asbestos and Lead
Indoor Air Toxins 101: Understanding Mold & Health