In his seminal work Swann’s Way, French writer Marcel Proust opens with a passage in which he describes how one bite of a cookie immediately unlocks a childhood memory, transporting him back in time to his hometown streets. Scholars dubbed this kind of gustatory or olfactory experience the “Proust Effect.”
It would take years more, however, for scientists to confirm what the famous author understood—that fragrances can have powerful effects on our moods and our minds.
A simple diffuser provides one way to unlock the powerful benefits of fragrances. Placed in a room, a diffuser can silently transform the ambience, helping to boost clarity, increase focus, and promote relaxation. They´re also a safe alternative to a scented candle. Below, we’ve highlighted 5 diffuser benefits that will enhance your life.
What is a Diffuser? Reed vs. Oil Diffusers
A diffuser is a simple and elegant home fragrance device that allows your favorite fragrances to suffuse the air.
There are two kinds of diffusers to note, reed diffusers and oil diffusers.
Oil diffusers cover a variety of fragrance-delivery devices, from a traditional reed diffuser to more cutting-edge diffusers like our app-controlled PURA device.
So, how do reed diffusers work? This type of diffuser requires no heat or electricity and are only made of three parts:
- A glass bottle
- Porous wooden reeds
- Fragrance blends that may or may not contain pure essential oil
The reeds work to absorb the fragrances then emit them into the air where they distribute, or throw, their scents throughout the room. When you know how to use a reed diffuser properly, it can provide long-lasting, intoxicating fragrance for months.
When people speak about essential oil diffuser benefits, they’re often talking about the benefits of individual essential oils. In this article, we’ll be covering the benefits that reed diffusers specifically can provide.
How Fragrances Work on Our Brains
Numerous scientific studies have shown that various scents can have effects on our moods, behaviors, and even our athletic and work performance. While our responses to odors are learned, those that we like can make us feel more positively, while those we dislike can negatively affect our outlook or ability to solve problems.
Some fragrances have been said to provide stress relief for certain mental and physical stressors. Lavender, for example, has been touted as a popular aide in dealing with anxiety. Perhaps this is why aromatherapy—or the use of plant extracts, fragrance compounds, and essential oils to promote physiological and mental health—has been used by different civilizations around the world for more than five thousand years.
5 Essential Oil Diffuser Benefits
Thanks to that powerful connection between our noses and our brains, the benefits of a diffuser cannot be understated. Below, we’ll dive deeper into some of those advantages, starting with some of the mental effects that many users have reported.
#1 Focus and Clarity
You may not think that inhaling the sharp scent of citrus could provide the key to increasing your productivity in the office, but studies show that it could help. Lemon oil is one fragrance that has been shown to help aid concentration. Other fragrances can have a clarifying effect as well. In one study, the scent of peppermint oil was shown to boost focus.
Other scents that may help with focus include:
Try a fragrance like one of these in your aromatherapy diffuser in the home office or gym. You might be surprised to find yourself less prone to distractions or hitting a new personal best.
Previously, we discussed how scents associated with good memories can leave us feeling more relaxed. Because positive associations with fragrances are learned, scents from cinnamon to lavender to sunscreen (if it brings to mind happy reminisces of a past vacation, for example) can help to stimulate feelings of relaxation.
Because these associations are learned, they can vary from person to person, and even culturally. Citrus, for example, is often perceived as bright and energizing in North America and Europe. In Japan, jasmine is widely considered a calming smell.
If you’re looking for a fragrance that helps you unwind, look for one that provokes feelings of happiness or reminds you of a joyful memory. If the aroma of vanilla brings to mind the desserts your mom used to bake for you, trying a vanilla-infused fragrance in your aromatherapy diffuser may help you restore a sense of balance after a stressful day.
Keeping up with sleep can be hard in today’s fast-paced world. The good news is that there are scents which can actually help us when it comes to getting our R&R.
One study demonstrated that lavender helped mice fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for longer. Other fragrances that may help you sleep include:
- Ylang ylang
Try a fragrance blend including one of these options in your bedroom. You may just find yourself putting that phone down and drifting off earlier than ever.
#4 Cravings and Appetite
Some fragrances can actually curb cravings and reduce your appetite. A recent study showed that individuals were able to consistently lose weight when smelling different scents in moments when they were hungry.
Citrus fragrances, like grapefruit or orange may be able to help restrain urges to overeat, while cinnamon may help keep those sugar cravings at bay. These are also smart choices to try in the home office or living room, especially if you find yourself mindlessly eating when surfing the web or while you’re stretched out in front of the TV.
#5 Reed Diffusers Are a Safe Candle Alternative
Reed diffusers can provide benefits beyond the powerful effects that their particular fragrances may hold. One of these is safety. Candles provide gorgeous light and powerful fragrances, they can’t be left unattended, especially if children or pets are present. Between 2015 and 2019, fire departments across the United States responded to about 7,400 fires that were started by candles.
Diffusers, on the other hand, are a safe and flameless alternative that can achieve the same wonderful effects of home fragrances. They also don’t need to be put away while you’re gone, which means that they continue to disperse their oil blends day in and day out for long-lasting enjoyment. And if you're wondering, how long do reed diffusers last? With the proper maintenance, diffusers are designed to be used for months at a time to provide long lasting aromas throughout your home.
Still, there are best practices we recommend in order to safely use your reed diffuser. These are:
- Keep your diffusers away from pets and children. This will minimize any damage to rugs or furniture caused by spills and ensure that no one swallows anything they shouldn’t. And speaking of ingestion
- Do not ingest fragrance oil. While some of the fragrances may seem tantalizing (like those with notes of fruit or spice), these are not meant to be consumed. If ingestion does occur, please contact a doctor or poison control right away.
- Keep your diffusers away from open flames and heat sources. This means no candles, stoves, lamps, or lightbulbs. Heat could also make the fragrance blend evaporate faster, which will lead to fewer hours of enjoyment. Additionally, do not light the ends of your diffuser reeds.
- Do not place diffusers on finished surfaces like table tops or a piano. Because the blends could cause permanent damage to fabrics, woods, or other materials, it’s a good idea to use a coaster or plate when situating diffusers on these kinds of surfaces.
Find Your Perfect Fragrance with Archipelago Botanicals
We all have unique stressors that present issues in our personal and work lives, from stress to anxiety to poor performance thanks to a lack of sleep. While it can be tempting to try pharmaceutical routes in order to make these problems go away, sometimes a more natural alternative can ease symptoms and provide relief.
A reed diffuser is a powerful home improvement tool that can help you relax, de-stress, and feel better in general. Inexpensive and easy to assemble and maintain, these handy no-battery-needed mechanisms can fill your room with calming, tantalizing, amazing fragrances that can help to improve your quality of life and transform your house into a home.
If you’re wondering what scent is right for you, get started today by heading to our website and taking our 1-minute Fragrance Finder quiz. Or browse our collection of Reed Diffusers, and Diffuser Refills to find unique blends made from ingredients around the world like zesty citrus essences, fresh floral notes, appetizing spicy and fruit compounds, and earthy, warm wood notes.
Penguin UK. More than cake: unraveling the mysteries of Proust’s madeleine. https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2020/07/more-than-cake-unravelling-the-mysteries-of-proust-s-madeleine
CogBlog. Smelling Your Memories? The Positive and Negative of the Proust Effect. https://web.colby.edu/cogblog/2015/11/22/smelling-your-memories-the-positive-and-negative-of-the-proust-effect/
Scientific American. Do scents affect people's moods or work performance? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-scents-affect-peoples/
MedicalNewsToday. Does lavender really help with anxiety? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323422
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033?via%3Dihub
Entrepreneur. 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224575
Sigma Repository. Influence of the Scent of Peppermint on Concentration. https://sigma.nursingrepository.org/handle/10755/624568
Cosmopolitan. 10 Scents That Make You Relax When You're Stressed. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/a29082/scents-that-make-you-relax/
Psychology Today. How Does Scent Drive Human Behavior? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201506/how-does-scent-drive-human-behavior
Annales Pharmaceutiques. Neurodepressive effects of the essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2488249/
Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine and Surgery. Weight Reduction Through Inhalation of Odorants. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265072153_Weight_Reduction_Through_Inhalation_of_Odorants
National Fire Protection Association. Candles. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Candles
Featured in this Article