Pur-Sleep CPAP Equipment Desentization & Aromatherapy Information

CPAP Desensitization with the PurSleep System - From the Manufacturer

Frustrated with your CPAP? Can’t sleep? Claustrophobic? Tired of “shower curtain” smells, stale air, and stinky motel rooms?

CPAP therapy distractions can be overwhelming: The mask, air pressure, headgear, noise, plastic smells—the problems can go on and on. Every new patient wonders, “How will I ever sleep with this contraption?” Your subconscious mind has the ability to tune out these distractions once it recognizes they are “normal” and not threatening. Unfortunately, this process can take so long that many people give up on CPAP before acclimating, despite the consequences of untreated sleep apnea. The PurSleep System offers a surprisingly simple and effective way to help you get used to CPAP equipment more quickly. Nothing brings about feelings of calm, comfort, and relaxation better or faster than good smells. Our product lightly scents the air with your favorite smells as the air is drawn into your CPAP. It’s fully compatible with all types of positive airway pressure equipment. Imagine closing your eyes and feeling your CPAP frustrations melt away as you revel in the light scent of orange and clove, peppermint and lime, or authentic French lavender!

By focusing your attention on an aroma that you find pleasant, instead of the more negative sensory input from your CPAP equipment, your brain can use this “cognitive distraction,” (meaning that the conscious attention can focus on only one thing at a time) to get you over the initial period of adjustment, allowing you to more easily experience the tremendous benefits of CPAP therapy. Without the PurSleep System, your sense of smell may work against your therapy. Plastic CPAP components often emit a minor, but noticeable, levels of volatile organic compounds such as vinyl chloride (the “shower curtain” or “new car” smell), known chemosensory irritants whether or not you’re conscious of their presence. This may cause discomfort especially for patients using newly-manufactured equipment. The PurSleep System™ substitutes pleasant scents for chemical odors, putting your nose to work for you, not against you.

Directions for Your Pur-Sleep System

Use only those aromatics you find to be pleasant. To determine which aromatics you like best, place one drop into a clean glass, close your eyes, and consider how it would feel to smell that aroma in your CPAP mask. Some of the scents will be familiar, others unfamiliar but pleasant, a few, perhaps, unpleasant. Give yourself time to become accustomed to the aromas before deciding which ones to use. Remember that your bed partner may also be able to smell the aromatics.

To dispense, open the bottle, cover the top with a diffusion pad, and quickly turn the bottle and pad upside down once, returning the bottle to the upright position. This will dispense about one drop. A light background aroma is best and a very small amount of pure aromatic goes a long way. We strongly recommend starting with just one drop, adding more only if necessary to suit your personal taste.

Your product comes with two diffusion platforms, a textile diffusion pad that sits on a metal base and a paper diffusion tray that employs round compressed fiber pads. To use the textile pads, simply place a scented pad on the metal diffusion base. To use the new system, bend each end of the tray over to create an elevated stand. Place the scented diffusion pad into the slot on the diffuser stand. In either case, position the scented pad and holder so that the pad is slightly below the CPAP air intake (the air filter area located in the back of most machines). It may be necessary to elevate either the CPAP or the diffuser (such as on a book) to achieve this configuration.

With the diffuser and pad in place, use your equipment as usual. If the aroma is too strong, move the diffuser away from the air intake and use less next time. If the smell is not strong enough, try to eliminate drafts and make sure the diffuser is correctly positioned. If the scent is still too weak, add another drop of aromatic oil to the diffusion pad. The pressed fiber diffusion pads may be reused until they become brittle. Store diffusion pads in resealable plastic bags, marked with the aroma’s name.

Over time you may find that you are not as consciously aware of the PurSleep aromatics as when you first started. This is to be expected as you become desensitized to your CPAP equipment. While the aromatics may be less noticeable than before, most people find that they still play a role in helping them use their equipment.

Tips & Tricks

1. To dispense oils, open the bottle, cover the dispenser with a Diffusion Pad and quickly turn over the bottle and pad. This procedure will dispense about one drop of oil. Repeat the same procedure on a different spot on the pad to dispense more drops as desired.

2. The effectiveness of aromatics in your CPAP equipment is largely a function of how well you like the aroma in the first place. This is not medicine like Castor Oil—the whole point is that if you find the smell to be pleasant, your CPAP therapy will be more pleasant with the smell. The sense of smell varies widely among people—that’s why we offer so many oils.

3. To test an oil, place a few drops in a clean glass and smell. Close your eyes and think how it would feel to smell the aroma in your CPAP. Use the oils you find to be most pleasant. Some of the aromas will be familiar, others unfamiliar but pleasant, others, perhaps, unpleasant. Give yourself enough time to become used to the oils before deciding which ones to use.

4. With essential oils, the rule that “less is more” applies. Start with one small drop of oil on the Diffusion Pad and add more to suit your taste. Most people just starting find one or two drops to be sufficient. If one drop is too strong, you may place a small drop of oil on a plate and use a toothpick to place a “mini-drop” onto the Diffusion Pad.

5. Occasionally people find that individual sensitivities to certain oils cause congestion or sometimes a headache. If something like this occurs, please discontinue use immediately.

6. Avoid drafty areas. For best effect, a light background scent works best. Adjust the CPAP and/or Diffuser so that the air intake is about one inch above the top of the Diffuser. Make sure that your CPAP is on a secure surface!


  • For external use only. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. If irritation occurs, flush with water. Seek medical attention if irritation persists.
  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Occasionally people find that individual sensitivities to certain oils may cause congestion or sometimes headaches. In case of any negative reaction, please discontinue use immediately.
  • Make sure your equipment is completely secure.
  • Never block your machine’s air intake.
  • Avoid aromatic contact with furniture or CPAP equipment, as damage to the finish may result.
  • Always wash your hands after handling aromatic oils.

CPAP Irritations and Bad Smells

Whether people consciously recognize it or not, the sense of smell works against their CPAP therapy. How many times have woken up in the middle of the night with the overpowering urge to hurl your CPAP across the room? How many hours have you spent lying in bed, waiting for sleep to finally overtake you? Does your CPAP make you feel frustrated, irritated, or smothered?

Whenever we experience a new environment, our senses, including smell, are on "alert." The same is true in starting CPAP therapy. CPAP desensitization is the process by which the central nervous system becomes used to the new kinds of sensory input from CPAP therapy enough so you can get to sleep. Research has proven that even very small amouts of bad odors result in surprisingly high levels of stress, irritation, and anxiety. Odors from plastic products (like styrene and vinyl chloride--the shower curtain smell) are particularly irritating even at levels below the person's perception threshold. Didn't your new CPAP smell a lot like a brand new shower curtain or a new car? Plastics naturally give off a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are proven irritants in humans and heat (i.e., from a CPAP humidifier) speeds up the release of these substances. How often has your CPAP smelled at least a little like a shower curtain or hot styrofoam? New plastics give off the most VOCs but as plastics age they continue to degrade, releasing VOCs all the while.

Whether you know it or not--and no matter how old or new your CPAP is--chances are that very small amounts of chemicals like styrene and vinyl chloride are responsible for a large share of the irritations you experience while attempting to sleep with a CPAP. Think about it: For hours on end, your CPAP is directing VOCs from its plastic parts right to the millions of olfactory sensors sitting right at the top of your sinus and there's nothing you can do about it--kind of like being forced to sleep wrapped up in a brand new shower curtain all night. No wonder up to 30 percent of patients report feelings of claustrophobia, up to half of patients discontinue CPAP use during the first week, and up to 25 percent of the remaining people will have stopped therapy within three years!

Holistic Aromatherapy - Why essential oils?

From ancient Egyptian mummification practices to ritualistic burning of incense materials, people have practiced aspects of aromatherapy in virtually every known culture throughout human history. In modern times, aromatherapy has come to mean the use of essential oils to balance and improve human emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Essential oils impart specific, positive properties of the underlying plant, benefits that humans have been exploring and experiencing for thousands of years. Holistic aromatherapy does not include the use of man-made, synthetic substances (such as “fragrance” and “perfume” oils). While it is generally accepted that aromatherapy cannot cure major illnesses or mental health conditions, it is equally clear that essential oils can be highly effective in improving people’s moods and helping people feel comfortable and relaxed.

All-Natural Aromatics

As with most things in life, when it comes to aromatics (chemical substances that we detect as smells), there are basically two choices: synthetic and natural. Natural aromatics are better known as essential oils and are the aromatic essence of plants distilled from authentic plant materials (flowers, leaves, stems, peels, etc.). Natural aromatics are very expensive because large amounts of plant materials yield only small quantities of essential oils. At the same time, natural aromatics are highly concentrated and only a few drops will provide many hours of aromatic enjoyment. Unfortunately, few people regularly experience essential oils due to their high cost and low consumer availability.

Our products are not like perfumes: They are simple, authentic smells you will readily recognize and accept as being natural and familiar (like orange, clove, lime, peppermint, etc.). All of the essential oils used in our aromatic products are disclosed on the product label. We use only those essential oils that are found on the essential oil “Generally Recognized as Safe” for human consumption (“GRAS”) list maintained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found in the official Code of Federal Regulations, 21 C.F.R. Section 582.20.

Artificial aromatics, better known as "fragrance oils," are aromatic molecules that have been manufactured. Authentic, natural aromatics actually consist of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of different aromatic molecules that we experience together to make a given smell. The petro-chemical industry has become very sophisticated at identifying a few of the primary types of molecules in any given smell and then manufacturing just those few molecules. Fragrance oils are inexpensive and can be made to impart aromas either not available or uneconomic to produce from natural sources. As a result, virtually all scented consumer products, including most expensive perfumes and colognes, are made with synthetic fragrances.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pur-Sleep

Are Essential Oils Safe?

Essential oils are the aromatic component of plants and are derived from botanical materials (herbs, citrus, flowers, leaves, etc.) through simple distillation techniques. We use only the highest quality 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils. All of the essential oils used in our aromatic products are disclosed on the product label. We use only those essential oils that are found on the essential oil “Generally Recognized as Safe” for human consumption (“GRAS”) list maintained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found in the official Code of Federal Regulations, 21 C.F.R. Section 582.20. Click here to see a copy of the GRAS list. Please visit our Library for additional information about essential oil safety. If you are concerned about potential allergic or other reactions from exposure to essential oils, please do not use our products. While our essential oils are safe for human consumption, they are entirely undiluted and may cause irritation if applied directly to skin or mucous membranes. Avoid contact with eyes. We recommend keeping essential oils out of the reach of children. Do not ingest essential oils or apply them directly to the skin. Avoid contact with furniture and similar surfaces. Wash essential oils with warm, soapy water.

Is Pur-Sleep Compatible with My Machine?

The Pur-Sleep System diffuses a small amount of aromatic into the air just prior to being taken into your equipment. Just place the diffuser near the air-intake and operate your equipment as normal. Our products are fully compatible with all types of positive airway pressure equipment.

Is It Safe To Use Essential Oils All Night?

The Pur-Sleep passive Diffuser gently dispurses a few drops of aromatic over the course of an hour or two, depending on how much (and which) aromatic is used. Research has shown that people quickly become accustomed to smells and research has shown that the sense of smell essentially turns off while you sleep. Remember that we are talking about extremely small amounts of aromatics (three drops of one of our essential oils equals about one-tenth of one milliliter) and that all of our essential oil products are considered safe for human consumption by the FDA. You also have to remember that when it comes to your CPAP, there is no such thing as "no smell." As plastics and rubber degrade, they emit volatile organic compounds and heat speeds up the process. Even in minute quantities (even below detection threshholds), VOCs from plastics and rubber have been shown to be highly irritating in people. So you can continue to smell VOCs all night or you can choose to use any of our fantastic All-Natural Aromatic products.

Can I Re-Use the Diffusion Pads?

The Pur-Sleep Fabric Diffusion Pads are made from durable fabrics and may be freely re-used and hand-washed as needed. Simply wash with a mild detergent, rinse well, and air dry.

Can I Use Cotton Balls?

Do NOT use any diffusion material other than Pur-Sleep Diffusion Pads, which have been specially designed and manufactured for use in the Pur-Sleep System. The rate of aromatic difusion varies widely from material to material and there is a risk that light cotton materials may block the air intake!

Can I Use Other Essential Oils?

The Pur-Sleep™ line of 100% pure essential oils have been carefully formulated from essential oils found on the FDA list of essential oils that are "Generally Recognized as Safe" for human consumption. While we do not recommend ingestion of any essential oils, it is reasonable to infer that if an essential oil is recognized as being safe for consumption it it also safe to inhale small amounts. Many common essential oils, such as camphor and tea tree, are extremely harsh and may be harmful. We strongly recommend using only Pur-Sleep essential oils.

How Much Essential Oil Should I Use?

The sense of smell varies widely from person to person. We strongly recommend starting with just one or two drops of our essential oil products and adding a few more if necessary to suit your personal tastes. With essential oils, the rule "less is more" applies. We do not recommend using more than 5 drops. Avoiding drafts and placing the drops in different locations on the Diffusion Pad will facilitate diffusion.

Are Your Products Approved by the FDA?

None of the statements contained on this website or in any materials or products provided by Pur-Sleep, Inc. have been evaluated by the FDA.

Essential Oil Safety Consideration

Just as there is a great deal of folklore about the beneficial effects of aromatherapy (such as curing diseases and medical conditions), there is much unsupported information about essential oil safety. According to the National Cancer Institute website:

“Safety testing on essential oils has shown minimal adverse effects. Several oils have been approved for use as food additives and are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; however, ingestion of large amounts of essential oils is not recommended. In addition, a few cases of contact dermatitis have been reported, mostly in aromatherapists who have had prolonged skin contact with oils in the context of aromatherapy massage. Some essential oils (e.g., camphor oil) can cause local irritation; therefore, care should be taken when applying them. Phototoxicity has occurred when essential oils (particularly citrus oils) are applied directly to the skin before sun exposure. One case report also showed airborne contact dermatitis in the context of inhaled aromatherapy without massage. Most often, aromatherapy uses undefined mixtures of essential oils without specifying the plant sources. Allergic reactions are sometimes reported, especially following topical administration.”

Generally Recognized as Safe

Pur-Sleep uses only essential oils that have been designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being “Generally Recognized as Safe” for human “consumption.” This is not to say that Pur-Sleep recommends ingesting any essential oils. Rather, the designation as being safe for consumption is broad enough to include risks of essential oils that are absorbed by the body through inhalation. According to a leading authority on essential oil safety: “In general, toxicity is dose-dependent. The greater the amount of essential oil applied, the greater the risk of harm being caused; the less used, the smaller the risk. . . . The degree of toxicity depends, to some extent, on the route of application, and oral administration of essential oils carries the highest practical risk, especially if the oils are taken undiluted.” Tisserand and Balacs, Essential Oil Safety, Churchill Livingstone (1995), p. 11 (emphasis added).

Safety Guidelines

Essential oils are concentrated and may be harmful if not used properly. That said, using essential oils shouldn’t cause undue anxiety or worry. Following common sense guidelines is all that is necessary to begin to enjoy the many benefits of aromatherapy in connection with your CPAP. These guidelines are not intended to serve as a comprehensive essential oil safety reference. If in doubt, consult your doctor or a trained aromatherapy practitioner.

1. Wash Your Hands! It's amazing how easy it is to get a very small amount of essential oil on your skin or in your eyes or other sensitive area if you fail to wash your hands after handling an essential oil bottle. If you get essential oils in your eye, irrigate immediately with saline solution and seek medical attention. Wash essential oils from your skin with soapy water.

2. Sensitization or Allergic Reactions. While many people who are sensitive to perfumes and aromas (mostly made from artificial fragrances) report that they tolerate natural aromatics well, essential oils may cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some people. When using an essential oil for the first time, watch carefully for signs of an allergic reaction (congestion, headache, watery eyes, etc.). If anything like this occurs, discontinue use of the essential oil immediately and seek medical attention as necessary. Allergic reactions may also apply to your partner.

3. Use Only Pur-Sleep Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are safe for aromatherapy. Pur-Sleep essential oils have been carefully selected from among those considered to be safe for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

4. Less Is More. With essential oils, more is not necessary better. Use the smallest amount of essential oil necessary to accomplish your goals. With your CPAP, a light background scent is all that is necessary. A few drops go a long way.

5. Never Let Children Use Essential Oils. Most essential oils smell fantastic and many essential oils, such as orange, may smell like they are safe to drink. Keep essential oils away from children. Pets may also be attracted to essential oils!

6. Do Not Ingest Essential Oils. Pur-Sleep essential oils should not be ingested for any reason.

7. Do Not Use Essential Oils Undiluted on the Skin. While certain essential oils, like lavender, may be safe to use undiluted on the skin, there is still a risk of sensitivity or reaction. Pur-Sleep essential oils are intended for aromatic use only and not for dermal application.

8. Essential oils are flammable. Please keep them out of the way of fire hazards.

9. Store In Cool, Dark Place. Essential oils will degrade over time, particularly in the presence of light and heat.

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