Essential oils and aromatherapy are all the rage right now, but I have yet to buy into the hype. However, when I heard about a new product called MONQ that harnesses the natural healing capabilities of essential oils to help with things like stress relief, sleep assistance and energy levels (all things I could benefit from), it piqued my interest.
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A portable “diffuser” (it essentially acts like a vaporizer, but according to the brand, doesn’t contain any of the ingredients commonly found in many of the devices labeled vaporizers, such as nicotine or artificial flavoring), MONQ offers the benefits of aromatherapy in a new delivery system. Each diffuser—smaller than the size of a pen—works each time you breathe it in to heat up a blend of essential oils and soy-based vegetable glycerin to 419 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it into water vapor (touted as “Paleo air”), and essentially, a form of aromatherapy.
So how do they work? Brand founder and CEO Eric Fishman, MD, says to press your lips to the end, breathe in gently through your mouth and then out through your nose. “Exhaling through the nose is the first step to the most therapeutic possible effect. When you do this, the aromatherapy molecules go past the olfactory nerve endings in the upper nasal passageway. There’s no need to inhale into your lungs. You’re not ‘smoking’ this the same way you would a cigarette.”
The diffusers come in seven different blends—Happy, Vibrant, Healthy, Active, Sexy, Sleepy and Zen ($20 each)—and last anywhere from 200–250 breaths. “Two to three breaths, two to three times a day should last up to a month,” says Dr. Fishman. Each one lists its three key ingredients on the sleek, stainless steel packaging, and you can smell the potent herbs with a quick sniff.
I tried both the Vibrant and Happy blends on two different mornings, as well as the Zen during late afternoons at work when things were really busy and I felt my stress level rising. The effect wasn’t immediate, but I did feel it eventually, particularly the Zen. I also tested the Sleepy mix about 15 minutes before bed each night and felt as though it helped quiet my thoughts so that I could doze off quicker than usual.
My only gripe is that the devices, although they’re cute and colorful, resemble the size and shape of an e-cigarette, which I’m sure people would think you are smoking if you used them in public. However, I do enjoy the effects, so for now, I will continue to use them in the privacy of my apartment. Or maybe one day they’ll launch a different design that looks more like an inhaler of sorts than a smoking device. Then I’m totally in!