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Thanks for stopping by my review of the MONQ Portable Aromatherapy Diffuser.
MONQ, (pronounced ‘monk’), is a line of 7 blends of portable essential oil diffusers.
Each blend is said to have its own unique aroma inspired mood benefits. The Zen blend, which I chose to review because of my life long issues with anxiety, is said to promote feelings of calm and relaxation, so of course I was instantly intrigued and wanted to give it a try. (Thank you to MONQ for being kind enough to give me a sample to try at no charge.)
I wasn’t sure what I should expect with this product because I had no experience with aromatherapy. I am a bit of a cynical person so I wondered if I would really gain any benefit from it. And if I am going to be 100% honest, I also had some reservations about trying it because I have become a pretty health conscious person over the years, and I don’t like the idea of inhaling something without knowing exactly what it is. I knew I needed to educate myself a little bit. I decided to start by doing some research into essential oils.
ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS
I think I may be the last person on Earth with no knowledge of essential oils. I have read about them a bit online over the years, but nothing too in-depth, so I was basically starting at the very beginning.
After doing a little searching, I found a couple of really informative pages at the National Cancer Institute’s website. There I learned that essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from plants. Each essential oil has its own blend of ingredients from certain plants, depending on what use it is intended for – different plant extracts have different benefits.
From what I have gathered,
a very simple explanation is that essential oils work by hitting the olfactory glands in the nose, which causes a reaction in the limbic system in our brain. The limbic system is the emotional center of our brain. Depression, anxiety, and fear all stem from this part of the brain.
At this time, the only way we have to directly stimulate the limbic system is through our sense of smell, making essential oils a great tool for the job.
According to the 4th Edition of the Essential Oil Desk Reference: Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects…
It seems that essential oils have been used for their healing properties in Eastern countries for thousands of years. It is within this last century that they have been “rediscovered” here in the west and used as an alternative and complement to standard traditional medical treatments.
The NCI website also states that aromatherapy is widely used by cancer patients to improve quality of life and reduce their symptoms of stress and anxiety. Essential oils can be used via a personal diffuser, which is the category that the MONQ would fall in, and they can also be breathed in indirectly by using a room diffuser or by simply placing some drops near you in the room, or on specially designed jewelry. The website also states that thus far, safety tests have shown very few negative side effects or risks of essential oils so I was pretty reassured by all of this information.
IS MONQ SAFE?
I then went to MONQ’s website for more information about the product and its ingredients.
I learned that the MONQ Therapeutic Air company was actually founded by Dr. Eric Fishman, who is a believer in a concept known as Forest Bathing, which revolves around the idea that the natural air produced by plants and wooded areas has health benefits that you just can’t find in urban areas. This is why he designed MONQ to be organic, natural and without any added chemicals or nicotine.
As I mentioned before, there are 7 different essential oil blends, for 7 specific uses, and the Zen blend contains a blend of frankincense, orange, and ylang-ylang which are all know for their relaxation inducing properties. For a full list of all the ingredients in each MONQ blend, click the link at the bottom of this page.
The website states: For all 7 MONQ blends, USA-grown organic plants, when available, are extracted and then infused into 100% pure, food-grade vegetable glycerin, which the FDA recognizes as safe. Lab tests have found MONQ NOT to include formaldehyde, nickel, tin, lead or aluminum. They also have a safety information page on their site that answered some questions that I had.
MONQ contains no THC or vitamin E acetate, and the oils are not meant to be inhaled into your lungs – only sucked into your mouth, and then directly out your nose. MONQ’s slogan suggests that you “breathe” it in. But that is technically not true. You are supposed to suck the vapor in as if drinking through a straw, and then blow it out your nose.
Taking all of this information into consideration, I felt good about trying MONQ and I was excited to get started. If you decide to try MONQ, I encourage you to do your own research to decide if it is right for you.
This article from Dr. Paul Christo discusses some of the issues surrounding the safety of personal essential oil sticks, which are designed to enhance your moods, and vitamin sticks which are designed as vitamin supplement devices.
After about a week my Zen arrived.
Upon opening the envelope, I was immediately impressed with the packaging, although I confess that I first thought that the white packaging canister was the actual diffuser. I held it in my hand and I thought, “This is really sleek and modern, but how on Earth do you use it?”
It took me a full two minutes to realize that the cool packaging was not the actual device. While I like to think I am very intelligent, common sense is something that seems to come to me somewhat sporadically, so the average person probably wouldn’t make this same mistake, especially if, unlike me, they actually read through MONQ’s directions for use.
After my “epiphany”, I flipped off the end of the canister and took the device out. My first thought was “Ooooooooooh, this is cool.” Like the packaging, the Zen diffuser is very sleek and the texture is nice. It almost has a bit of a rubbery feel to it that makes it easy to hold and not too slippery. It has a bit of weight to it – doesn’t feel “cheap” at all, and it feels good to hold in your hand. (For more specific details on the MONQ device, click on #2 in the link sector at the end of this review.)
Each of MONQ’s blends has its own color and the Zen blend is a nice calming color of lavender. At the end of the diffuser is what looks like a little diamond that I could tell would light up when I inhaled from it. It smelled lovely and I was instantly reminded of being in a quaint little “tea shoppe” somewhere. So far, I was pretty impressed. I was so impressed actually, that I was fully expecting to be let down upon actually trying it out. That is the way things usually go with me, so I thought the odds were pretty slim that the product itself would deserve the praise of its wonderful packaging. But it was a wonderfully aromatic sigh of relief that I exhaled after trying Zen. I liked it immediately. The combination of the taste and “feel” was nice. I had wondered if it would make me cough as I drew in or if it would feel harsh in any way; neither of those things was true. When the vapor is in your mouth, the only thing you notice is the taste of it, and as it passes through your nose there is no burning or harshness whatsoever. It was very smooth and pleasant.
HOW TO USE MONQ
I was also struck by how easy it was to use the device. You simply pick it up and put it to your lips, then gently pull the vapor into your mouth. After a few moments, you exhale it through your nose. There is no need to inhale it into your lungs.
What makes MONQ even easier, is that it arrives ready to use. There is no mixing of oils, no charging the device, no batteries that you have to put in the device, no buttons to turn on…. I kept thinking “I am missing something here…..there has to be more to it than this.” But it really is that easy.
I quite liked the flavor and smell.
It felt really smooth and warm and nice. The orange flavor definitely popped but not in an overly citrusy way. Again, I thought of tea.
You know how when you have a cup of herbal tea, and you hold it up close to your face and you breathe it in……that is what it reminded me of. I didn’t feel “instantly relaxed” by it, but it made me feel pleasant and peaceful…..almost a little “happy”, which is not a feeling that comes easily to me. I have spent some time in the last few days trying to think of the best way to describe the overall feeling it gave me, and the best way I can explain it is that I felt a sense of “well-being”. Nothing euphoric or extremely obvious but still, quite nice. It gave me a somewhat nostalgic feeling, almost like I was re-visiting an old memory and I liked it very much. I liked the actual “act” of using it as well. I liked the feel of using the device and seeing the pretty little end light up. I can see how somebody would find it to be a nice little mental distraction or “escape” when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
MONQ and ANXIETY
To me, as somebody who has had an anxiety disorder for a number of years, MONQ is the perfect natural anxiety tool.
I think it is the combination of the fact that it distracts you from your anxious thought patterns when you are actively using it and enjoying the aroma, it makes you slow down and control your breathing with that little pause followed by the soothing exhale, and what you are breathing are essential oils, which inspire calm and relaxation in and of themselves.
I love the fact that Zen MONQ is portable. That is one of my favorite things about it. I think it would make a great backup to have with me for those times when I am out and about and start feeling overwhelmed. MONQ does not take away all of my anxiety symptoms – but it definitely helps. It makes me feel calmer and think more clearly and take that edge off, and I will definitely purchase it again for that reason.
Post Publish Edit: MONQ has released the results of a study in which they tested the calming effects of their diffusers. Click here to see results.
Speaking of times in my life that I wish MONQ had been around for, I can see MONQ being a fantastic quit smoking aid.
MONQ is not an e-cigarette and contains no tobacco or nicotine, but being a former smoker who tried everything under the sun to quit before I finally succeeded, I can see how this would be an awesome thing to have used to help me quit. Cold turkey is rough. The gum and the patches don’t work for everybody. And e-cigs taste terrible to a lot of people. This product gives you the hand to mouth movement, has the shape and overall “feel” of a cigarette, has a wonderful smell and flavor, and promotes a sense of well-being.
In addition, Zen MONQ goes amazingly well with coffee, in my opinion. I know a lot of people who smoke cigarettes have a hard time quitting because of that first cigarette of the day with their coffee…..they miss it too much. Zen and coffee compliment each other so nicely that I think it would be worth it for a smoker to try it and see if it might be a healthier morning alternative for them. So I think these would be worthy of a spot in anybody’s quit smoking tool box.
After I used this product a few times, I decided I wanted a few more opinions on Zen, so I asked my sister, who is a pretty anxious person like me, and her husband to try this product too. Not sure how sanitary that was, but its all in the name of research, right?
They both enjoyed Zen as well. My sister commented right away on its attractive design, as I knew she would, and said “I love the purple light at the end.”, “It does give a sense of relaxing.”, and “I think its great to relax ‘with’ instead of trying to have it relax me. ” My brother-in-law, who is trying to quit smoking, said, “It relaxes me and its very smooth. No coughing or feeling like I got too much. I’m down to 2 cigarettes a day and it helps me a lot.”
I actually just received a text from my sister after telling her I was writing this post today, and it says “The smell put me in a nice, relaxed zone and I found myself not having racing thoughts…….able to concentrate.” Between the three of us, we had no negative side effects or negative things to say about Zen MONQ. All in all, using it was a good experience for all of us and we all agree that we would use it again.
Zen MONQ, as well as the other blends of MONQ diffusers, cost 20.00 for one device when purchased through their website, which should give you around 200 puffs and last approximately two to three weeks depending on how frequently you use it.
MONQ does provide a money back guarantee with purchase. I admit that I thought this was a little pricey at first but after receiving the MONQ, seeing the quality with which it is made, and then trying the product, I would say that its worth it. MONQ does offer a special price if you purchase one of their pre-discounted multi packs. There is a Custom 4 Pack, a 7 “All Blends” Pack, and a Custom 10 Pack to choose from so stocking up would be an option to consider for those who are looking to save a little.
MONQ offers free world-wide shipping with purchase of $25 or more.
The Zen MONQ personal diffuser is going to get a “thumbs up” from me.
It’s a cool, handy little device that didn’t necessarily work any miracles – but it did for me what it claims to do – which is promote a sense of well-being and calm.
Visit MONQ’s website to check out all their amazing blends and money saving offers. Use coupon code MARYLISA60819 to save 30% off your purchase.
Photo Credit: Essential Oil Ingredient Photos and Photo of MONQ diffusers were provided to me by MONQ at my request and are the property of MONQ.
Photo Credit: Essential Oil Bottles Pixabay