'It smells stuffy in here," said Monsieur when he got home one night a few weeks ago. I hadn't noticed because the weather was such that I hadn't left the house all day. The instinct, of course, is to fling open a few windows, but in the dead of winter that's not necessarily a viable solution. What you must do, instead, is go out and bankrupt yourself on luxury scented candles. Or not.
I'd been seeing more and more ultrasonic diffusers spewing vapour around town, and in unexpected places like restaurants and friends' living rooms.
These vase-like emitters of scented steam are props I'd always associated with yoga studios, or with the kind of spas that won't so much as rub a cotton ball across your forehead unless Enya's playing. Mind you, I had noticed that the air in such places always had a calming effect on me and lifted my mood, so I decided it might be time to learn more.
On the advice of a friend, I discovered the Canadian company Saje, which specializes in high-grade essential oils it promotes as having not just the ability to transform the quality of the air around us (they actually kill unwelcome bacteria, according to the company), but also to possess healing properties.
For instance, their "peppermint halo" blend is meant to help soothe headaches. "Snore no more" speaks for itself; "liquid sunshine" is designed to make us cheerful. Saje seems to have an oil blend for everything from fighting off colds to studying for exams.
At first, I didn't want to buy into the idea that scents could have such power, but when you think about it, a walk through a cedar forest or a rose garden certainly has a different effect on a person than driving past a pig farm in late spring or taking out the garbage in high summer.
When the warm weather returns and the windows can be open wide, I may use the diffuser a bit less, but for now it's on full blast every day. It makes home a nicer place for me to work in. And lately when Monsieur walks in the door at night, he remarks on what a difference it has made.
Diffusers come in many different models across a range of price points. (Hockey mums, note that Saje sells a small model for use in cars.)
Find one for the house that suits your taste – online or in a shop – but be sure to use it only with top-quality, all-natural essential oils, and avoid synthetic ones, which can actually add to your stress as your body fights to process them.
Happiness diffuser blend collection $44.95 saje.com/ca
Do you know of a genius domestic product? If so, Laura wants to hear about it. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.