A guide to aromatherapy in the office

A guide to aromatherapy in the office

There are many ways to use aromatherapy at work to make your office space a more welcoming, pleasant environment.

Aromatherapy benefits

The word aromatherapy has been in use since 1937, but the practice has been around for thousands of years. Aromatherapy oils can have many different effects, and can even affect people differently based on their personal associations with certain scents. If thoughts of cinnamon bring you back to carefree childhood autumn days, the scent might make you feel more wistful or nostalgic instead of energized, or it might put a spring in your step and make you feel happier.

Aromatherapy scents can have several beneficial effects on your mind and body. They can help:

  • relieve stress and have a relaxing effect
  • lift your mood and help fight depression
  • energize you during a mid-day slump

Aromatherapy considerations for the office

If you have an office to yourself, an aromatherapy diffuser can release a steady, pleasant scent throughout the day. It is important to consider the wishes and needs of those around you. If you share space with coworkers or have visitors entering your workspace throughout the day, remember that aromatherapy scents that may smell heavenly to you could cause a coworker to have a mild allergic reaction or a headache.

Consult with your coworkers before using aromatherapy in the office or other common areas such as the breakroom or bathroom.

Which essential oils are best for you

Various essential oils can be used for different purposes.

  1. Essential oils to energize

    The best scents to boost mood and promote mental clarity

    • lemon
    • orange
    • mint
    • rosemary
    • eucalyptus
    • lemongrass
  2. Essential oils to relax

    The best scents to relieve stress and calm the body

    • lavender
    • jasmine
    • sandalwood
    • ylang ylang
  3. Essential oils to promote health

    The best scents to help with sinus congestion and relieve nausea

    • eucalyptus
    • ginger
    • sage
    • tea tree
    • citrus

Ways to use aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can be used in various ways.

  1. Applied to pulse points

    Aromatherapy oils can be blended with neutral oils and applied to pulse points on the wrist, neck, and temples for immediate benefits. Do not apply pure aromatherapy oils directly to skin. You can dilute them in a 5:1 solution of water or neutral oil to safely apply it to the skin. Diluting essential oils extends the life of the oils while providing a safe amount and optimal benefit at the same time.

  2. Infused into the air

    Add moisture to the air and release the vapors into your environment throughout the day with an ultrasonic aroma diffuser, which produces  a fine, natural-scented mist. Some diffusers also emit soothing lights or ambient sounds. Non-electronic reed diffusers soak up oil and dispense the fragrance automatically. The downside of reed diffusers is that they can not be shut off, while fragrance from ultrasonic diffusers lasts only while the appliance is switched on.

  3. Massaged into the skin

    Oil-infused lotion can be massaged onto the skin, infusing the air and your skin cells with aromatherapy benefits.

  4. Sprayed with an atomizer

    Add 5 drops of essential oil into a small spray bottle filled with water and shake vigorously. Spray on face or body for a mid-day refreshing treat. Be careful not to get essential oils in your eyes, nose, or mouth when spraying.

How to choose the best aromatherapy diffuser

When choosing an aromatherapy diffuser consider the following:

Ultrasonic diffusers break the essential oil into tiny particles through micro-vibrations, dispensing the oil into a fine mist. Many ultrasonic diffusers do not need to be refilled with water, only drops of oil.

Cool mist diffusers mix water vapor with essential oils to help cleanse the air and create a more humid environment. This is particularly helpful during winter months when indoor air can be dry, as it keeps nasal passages moist and less prone to virus and infection.

Personal diffusers are meant to release aromatherapy scents and benefits for a small area the size of a small cubicle, office, or desk. They are ideal for shared work spaces, restrooms, treatment rooms, and spaces smaller than 400 square feet.

Portable diffusers offer the option to plug in using a regular USB charger that can be plugged into a wall charger or even your computer, making it portable and ideal for travel. These portable diffusers may also have an option to operate using a battery.

A medium-sized diffuser can service a larger space from 400 to 1000 square feet. This is ideal for a home office or a shared office space where everyone is comfortable with the use of aromatherapy and there are no allergy concerns.

Auto-shut-off is a nice feature offered in many diffusers. The device will shut off after all of the water or oil has been diffused, prolonging the life of your device and saving energy.

A continuous setting will continue to diffuse the scent until it has been completely released. On the intermittent setting, the fan will turn on and off periodically to prolong the amount of time between refills.

* Note that scented, plug-in air fresheners are not considered true aromatherapy products and will likely not have the same benefits as natural oil aromatherapy.

Safety first when using aromatherapy

  • Unplug diffusers when not in use.
  • Keep the plug and electrical parts dry.
  • Avoid mildew by drying water-based units fully and leaving the top open when not in use to let remaining water evaporate.
  • Place diffusers at table-height to receive maximum benefits.
  • Do not put aromatherapy oils into a humidifier unless operating instructions specify it’s okay.
  • Always dilute aromatherapy oils with a neutral oil or water when applying to skin.
  • In case of accidental ingestion or contact with eyes, nasal passages, or mucous membranes, or if an allergic reaction occurs, flush the area with water and call a medical professional.
  • Always follow instructions on proper use of oils and cleaning to avoid oily buildup and to prolong the life of your appliance.