My First Diffusing Experience
February 24, 2012 § 5 Comments
… was nothing short of surreal. I can’t even begin to describe how sublime an experience it was. It was like nothing else. Let’s back up. Yesterday I received all my wonderful essential oil equipment and couldn’t have been more excited. I mentioned in this post why I’m interested in diffusing (please read it if you are considering using essential oils; there are many safety precautions to take!), but it was much more theoretical and only discussed the why and the what. In this post, I aim to address the how: I’ve read so much fantastic information about why essential oils are great and what they can do to help our parrots and ourselves, but I’ve found considerably less concrete advice on what exactly to do when it comes to diffusing. Which diffuser? Which oils or blends? How much? How long? How often? It’s all of these little things that are so vitally important that I hope to address here and in future posts. That said, I am by no means an expert; quite the contrary! I hope that anybody reading this will also do their own research and decide what is best for their own flock.
I’ll start with diffusers. There are several different kinds, but at the recommendation of Dr. Shelton and other essential oil (EO) users, the best kinds to use with parrots in particular are water-based and not air-based diffusers. Air-based diffusers release the EOs directly into the air in a more potent concentration, whereas water-based diffusers dilute the EOs, which in my opinion is probably particularly important in the beginning. When you are just starting out with EOs, it is important to monitor your parrots very carefully for any discomfort or unusual behavior and reactions. (If you notice any discomfort or unusual behavior or reactions, it is important to stop diffusing immediately and ventilate the area.) It is also important to make sure that the diffuser you choose does not heat the EOs at all, as this can damage their healing properties and benefits. Young Living actually sells various diffusers on their site, but Dr. Shelton and many other people I consulted in my research highly recommended a different ultrasonic diffuser by Plant Extracts International. This diffuser is not only water-based but it also has three different volume settings that allow you to control the output (which, again, is so important in the beginning: I started out at low) and it is virtually silent. It also has colored lights which can be turned off if desired. I wasn’t crazy about the looks of this diffuser because it looks like a spaceship or a crock pot, and there’s one Young Living diffuser in particular that is far more aesthetically pleasing, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by it when it arrived in the mail. The photo doesn’t really show this quite well, but it’s very compact! I thought it was going to be rather large (I really was thinking crock pot), but it’s a very small and pleasant size that isn’t imposing in a room by any means. Once you have your diffuser, you need your oils. Again, as I covered in my last post, you absolutely cannot purchase any old EOs and use them in your diffusers. Poor quality EOs can actually be deadly to birds, so please be very careful. In my research, Young Living essential oils are the absolute safest to use around parrots. But, purchasing them isn’t as easy as it seems. Young Living works through distributors rather than directly to customers. Thus, you can either choose to purchase through somebody you know who has an account with Young Living, or you can enroll with Young Living yourself. As much as I would love for you all to purchase through me so that I could make money off of your purchases, that simply wouldn’t be fair. I strongly recommend that anybody interested in EOs enroll with Young Living as an independent distributor, as I have. At first I absolutely did not want the responsibility of being a “distributor,” but it’s really far less complicated than it seems. All that being a distributor means is that you purchase an enrollment kit (which can be as little as $40), and then as long as you spend $50 per year (which trust me, you will), you get wholesale prices on all Young Living products. Wholesale prices are a whopping 24% off, so you’ll earn your money back very quickly, plus the $40 kit comes with two YLEOs and a $40 coupon for a diffuser (among other things). To be honest, I’m not sure why anybody wouldn’t become a distributor! You have no obligation to sell whatsoever (as I’ve chosen not to sell). To enroll, however, you do need a member referral number. You can use mine, which is 1304850. As far as I understand I don’t think I receive anything for referring people but I will obviously disclose if I do. (I hope I’ve gotten across the message, however, that I’m not in this for any sort of compensation.)
So, once you enroll, you must choose which oils to start out with, unless you have a solid four figures to drop on a full set of all of the oils. I’m going to assume that most of us don’t and have to be a little bit more choosy. As you can see from the photo above, I purchased the two EOs that came with my $40 enrollment kit: Lavender and Peppermint, along with five other EOs: one single oil, Copaiba; and four blends of oils, Joy, Peace & Calming, Thieves, and Valor. I’ll briefly outline why I chose each one.
- Copaiba is an excellent anti-inflammatory. I’ve read about it used to prevent swelling and pain, and used with tumors. According to Young Living, it also aids in digestion and supports the body’s response to injury and irritation.
- Joy, as its name implies, is an uplifting blend that raises mood. It is said to help shake grief and depression and can also be worn as a perfume. It has a lovely scent and I’d read so many people raving about it that I simply had to try it.
- Peace & Calming is another very uplifting blend, but it is more targeted towards promoting relaxation and providing a sense of calm. It supports emotional well-being and can help to lift tension and anxiety. It also helps promote restful sleep. I immediately thought of Sabrina when I read about this blend. Her feisty spirit could use some peace and calming!
- Thieves was probably the most highly touted of all of the EOs I read about. It has some incredible properties, according to some reports, including that it may be antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, etc. It also supports the immune system and general good health. Many people swear by it and use it to clean cages, carpets, dishes, etc.
- Valor was not one that immediately jumped out at me as something I needed among my flock, but again, I had read so many positive reviews of the effects of valor that I was swayed. Valor is said to help energy alignment in the body to increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem. It enhances one’s internal resources and has helped with many nervous birds.
There are many, many other great oils to use. Two others that come highly touted are orange and lemon, which are actually quite inexpensive, but I didn’t want to go too overboard. Eventually, depending on how these work out for us, I hope to purchase those, as well as other very popular ones such as Trauma Life, Purification, ImmuPower, PanAway, Geranium, and others. Once you have your oils and you have your diffuser, you can finally get started! I chose to begin with Joy, simply because I’d heard so many positive reviews of it and I figured all of our moods could use some uplifting after Sabrina’s scary episode earlier this week. It is very important to start slowly and carefully with EOs. Once you fill your diffuser with one cup of distilled or purified bottled water and a few drops of your chosen oil, you should absolutely be present in the room and very carefully watching and observing your parrots. I chose to diffuse Joy at the lowest volume for only five minutes about three to five feet away from my birds. It’s difficult to describe the immediate calming effects Joy had on my budgies. Anybody that has a pair or more knows what they are like: they are incredibly active, busy, pleasantly noisy little birds. Sabrina in particular is the feistiest little budgie I have ever seen. They are always hopping from perch to perch, playing with this toy and that, never sitting still. As soon as I turned on the diffuser– which they were oddly not afraid of at all (they are typically quite fearful of foreign objects)– they both propped themselves up on their perches and were transfixed by the diffuser. They became so utterly calm. Then, the weirdest thing happened: they both started to look up, as if looking at the sky, and just had the absolute most peaceful look on their faces that I have ever seen. Seriously. It was beyond bizarre. They aren’t even that peaceful when they are sleeping. Sabrina tucked one of her little footsies up and just looked like she was in Heaven. Charles began preening away. They just seemed so happy! As soon as I turned it off after our short five minute session, the both of them came to the front of the cage and just stared at me and the diffuser, as if to say, “Why did you turn it off?!” Lola, who is always a zen bird, didn’t have any immediately noticeable changes, but she seemed pleasantly un-phased by the new, uplifting scent in the room. I’m wondering if she will respond to other oils differently. Honestly, I didn’t think that diffusing would have such immediate effects, but I have never seen my two little ones act like that. In any case, after diffusing, I had a minor freak out when I realized I had no idea what to do with the left over water and oil mixture left in my diffuser and I called a friend of mine who so graciously answered my panicked questions. (I was worried that I left it in the diffuser in the same room, it’d give them a sensory overload.) So for anybody new to this as I am, you can leave the oil mixture in your diffuser and save it for next time. As long as you can still smell the scent of the oil the next time you diffuse, it will have its beneficial effects. Eventually, the quality will degrade, at which point you can dispose of any leftover if you have yet to already diffuse it all. (It is, however, important to clean your diffuser with mild soap and water at least once a month.) From here on out I will continue our brief diffusing sessions, adding five minutes every time, so today will be ten minutes. As long as all goes well, tomorrow will be fifteen. From what I’ve read, it is generally considered safe to eventually build up to having three 15-30 minute diffusing sessions for five straight days, then two days off; or three straight days with one day off. That’s all for today, but hopefully I will be able to continue writing about our experiences diffusing with more practical advice for fellow parrot owners. But again, please be sure to do your own research and to understand all of the benefits and risks involved. I am by no means an expert and I am simply synthesizing the advice and experience of others, and very much learning as I go.