What if you could feel how you want anywhere, anytime? That's the idea behind MONQ pens, palm-sized essential oil diffusers that make aromatherapy more portable and potent.
With 11 blends made of all-natural essential oils, you can enjoy a variety of different moods on-the-go. And unlike the average diffuser, you breathe from MONQ for a more direct intake.
The experience is much more convenient than other diffusers. And at $20, it's cheaper. But does it work?
We decided to dig in with our own MONQ review.
What is MONQ?
MONQ is a pen-style essential oil diffuser for on-the-go aromatherapy. With no buttons or heat up time, MONQ pens make aromatherapy easier than larger diffusers. They also deliver a direct breath of essential oil mist, which can be more effective.
Created by Orthopedic Surgeon turned Yogi Dr. Eric Fishman (aka Dr. MONQ), this innovative device takes a more scientific approach to the ancient practice of aromatherapy, using technology to make things more portable and potent.
Each MONQ pen features its own blend. And each blend is designed to foster a different experience. Each pen has three major essential oils that work together, along with a variety of additional extracts. We run through each blend, including their uses, below.
In case you were wondering, the acronym MONQ stands for Modified Observation of Natural Qualia. It's a mouthful. But it's meaning is actually pretty cool. The last word, though complicated sounding, simply means that which is experienced "in the moment."
In plain English, MONQ aims to make aromatherapy "modified" by allowing you to choose a specific way to feel pleasantly present anytime you want.
How MONQ Works
Breath-activated, MONQ pens create aromatic vapor on-demand as you sip. But unlike a vape pen, you don't inhale MONQ. You MONQhale, otherwise known as mouth inhaling.
Simply take a shallow breath from the mouthpiece, making sure to keep mist in your mouth without inhaling into the lungs. Then exhale through your nose, not your mouth. This ensures you're absorbing oils in your mouth as well as activating neurons in your nose.
This process is called MONQhaling, as opposed to inhaling into your lungs. The experience is instantly pleasing with rich flavor and aroma. It's way more direct than filling your room with vapor.
(A shallow breath into the mouth and out of the nose.)
So how often can you MONQhale per day? Dr. Fishman recommends only taking one or two breathes a few times throughout your day. Don't overdo it with tons of hits all at once.
There's not much more to using MONQ. The pens don't need to be charged, nor do you need to press any buttons to use them.
One end of the pen features a tiny hole through which clouds are MONQhaled. The opposite end features a crystal-like LED light that illuminates as you draw from the MONQ pen.
Designed to combine ease-of-use with quality, MONQ pens boil aromatherapy down to a simple science.
Does MONQ Work?
There is in fact a science behind aromatherapy. But does that apply to MONQ pens?
We ran a little experiment to find out...
Hiding the label on the Active MONQ pen, which is supposed to boost energy, we had two colleagues take a couple breaths and tell us how they feel. To our surprise, both felt subtly refreshed and stimulated, just what the Active MONQ is supposed to do.
When asked how MONQ felt compared to rubbing essential oils on the skin, both found the stick diffuser to be stronger--maybe even too strong at first. But both got used to the intense flavor and aroma the second time around. It's also worth noting that different blends have different levels of intensity in their taste and scent.
We were impressed by the ease-of-use and portability of MONQ pens. They feature a stick design that's light as a feather and smaller than an office pen. At just under 4 inches, this is definitely one of the most compact essential oil diffusers we've come across, perfect if you have a busy lifestyle and want to enjoy aromatic therapy on your feet.
Completely free of buttons and ports, MONQ is as simple as it gets. This adds to its portability since you can easily use it while on the move.
So after a day of using MONQ, our overall impression was that it's more convenient and effective than a table-top diffuser or topical oil. You can carry it around anywhere, and the breaths are way more aromatic than traditional essential oil diffusers.
MONQ pens may be simple. But there's a lot to them. They're made of high grade materials, and feature fairly advanced technology beneath their sleek and smooth surfaces. We looked into what MONQ pens are made of, and how that translates into performance. We found them to be smartly designed inside and out, which goes to show the thought that went into their construction.
What is MONQ Made Of?
The body of each MONQ is made of high grade #304 stainless steel. The metal is very sturdy but also lightweight, great for on-the-go use.
If the soul of MONQ is its aromatic blends, the heart is its battery, a 210mAh lithium ion unit that functions at 0.882 watt hours. The battery is stored separately from the MONQ's heating element, and can withstand up to 248 degrees celsius. There's no risk of explosion or flames.
Finally, the MONQ heating system is a nickel chromium resistance wire that heats essential oils at around 419F. A silica wick transfers oil into the heating chamber as you take a breath, turning around 0.0033ml into fragrant mist.
Is MONQ Reusable?
Because MONQ pens aren't refillable, they're not reusable either. If you try one and really like it, you can buy a whole pack so you don't have to wait in between MONQs to enjoy aromatherapy.
Generally one MONQ pen will last around 200 to 220 breaths. This of course depends on how you breathe. If you take deep breaths every time you use MONQ, you'll run out faster.
If you take little puffs, your MONQ will last longer. Pretty simple. To sum it up, you can expect around three weeks of aromatherapy from each MONQ pen.
Our biggest question when MONQ therapeutic air came out was, how is this device different than a vape pen? It's a good question, because it turns out that, besides the pen-style look, it's very different from a vape.
The other question was, what's the difference between MONQ and other essential oil diffusers? These devices have been around forever, so why is it that people are using MONQ instead?
Here's a breakdown of what sets the MONQ diffuser apart.
MONQ vs Other Diffusers
Compared with other essential oil diffusers, MONQ pens are more portable, easy-to-use and direct. The essential oil is intensely fragrant, delicious, and refreshing. And the effects are noticeably stronger than when using a diffuser meant to fill your room.
What makes MONQ better? It's all in the direct-to-mouth method.
With a larger diffuser, your entire room is filled with essential oil vapor. This can cause over-stimulation, since you're constantly exposed to aromatic compounds.
In contrast, MONQ pens don't overexpose you to terpenes, ensuring you don't get so familiar with the aromatic compounds that it dilutes their effects. You can experience the full benefits of your favorite blends in a more direct manner.
As Dr. Fishman puts it, "Taking just two breaths of MONQ a few times a day makes it like the first time everytime."
MONQ vs Vapes
MONQ may look like a vape pen. But it's not. And the MONQ team advises everybody not to use it like one.
For one thing, you don't inhale. At all. You MONQhale, which we covered earlier.
You also don't need to load the MONQ. Nor do you need to press any buttons. It's way easier to use than a vaporizer.
So just so we're clear, MONQ is not a vaporizer. It's more like a portable essential oil diffuser.
The Science Behind MONQ
The theory of MONQ is quite interesting. Each pen features carefully blended oils said to return you to a state of equilibrium enjoyed by our ancestors, who thrived in terpene-rich forests overflowing with aromatic compounds. MONQ aims to replicate this experience with a portable version of Forest Bathing, a practice known to lower stress hormones.
Plants use terpenes, organic compounds found in their oils, to send signals to other plants. These terpenes have effects on people, too, evoking memories, ideas, emotions, and more from scent. MONQ captures these terpenes in their essential oils so we can enjoy them in a convenient manner. They also concentrate them to amplify their effects.
MONQ is supposed to relieve this supposed terpene-deficiency by enabling you to absorb aromatic compounds from anywhere. It's a lot to digest. But when you take a breath from MONQ and start feeling alright, you can't help but believe there's something to this theory.
Taking forest bathing a step further, the team behind MONQ made 11 blends, each featuring a synergistic medley of essential oils that work together to offer a different mood.
Each MONQ contains a synergistic blend of essential oils, designed to simulate the terpene-rich experience of being in a forest. Each of these 11 essential blends is said to offer a range of different effects. According to MONQ, they are harvested from respectable farms before they're blended by scientists and aromatherapy specialists. Their names are Love, Mountain, Ocean, Forest, Sleepy, Zen, Active, Healthy, Happy, Vibrant, and Sexy.
Black Spruce - Douglas Fir - Sandalwood
Refreshing, soothing, and enlightening. Sounds like a buddhist retreat. But we're talking about the Forest MONQ.
Featuring a blend commonly used for reducing inflammation, clearing sinuses, and promoting a meditative headspace, Forest is designed to soothe the body and mind.
Black Spruce, once used by Native Americans as a salve, is now utilized for stress-reduction. Couple that with Douglas Fir for clearer breathing and Sandalwood for added peacefulness and you have one tranquil experience.
Forest MONQ also includes Frankincense, Bergamot, Dill Seed, Cedarwood, Copaiba, Cypress Leaf, Elemi, Black Pepper, Geranium, Ginger, Juniper Leaf, Allspice, Lemon Balm, Wild Orange, Lime, Manuka, Petitgrain, Rosemary, Scotch Pine, Spearmint, Turmeric, Peppermint, and Nagarmotha.
Chamomile - Kava - Lavender
Many people have trouble sleeping, but don't want to take prescription medication just to get some rest. That's why people try out essential oils instead.
The Sleepy MONQ combines three of the most popular sleepy time oils into one portable pen. They are kava, chamomile, and lavender. Blended together they smell and taste like a lullaby. Each MONQhale tastes quite grounded, earthy and a tad sweet.
Rather than boil a cup of chamomile, you can simply puff on the Sleepy. The effects are said to be calming, soothing, and tranquil.
Sleepy MONQ also includes Sandalwood, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Neroli, and Bergamot.
Black Pepper - Bitter Orange - Sage
If you're in need of some motivation, Active MONQ was designed to put some pep in your step. The main blend is black pepper, known for fostering warm, stimulating feelings, along with fatigue-fighting Sage and uplifting Bitter Orange.
Active is the perfect pick-me up for getting your day started. But you can also try it when you're running low on energy. It's so pocket-friendly that you can carry it with you on your adventures and take a breather when you're feeling run down.
The Sage adds a sharp but warm flavor with a tinge of bitterness from the Orange. Blended in is the stimulatingly pungent taste of black pepper.
Other potential benefits of the Active MONQ pen are clarity, stress-management, and positivity, perfect for tense work environments.
Active also includes allspice, anise, copaiba, frankincense, lemon, mandarin yellow, parsley seed, rosemary, spearmint, and sweet orange.
Cacao - Siam Wood - Davana
Love may be all you need. But it's hard to come by. MONQ decided to place it right in your pocket with their Love blend, an intoxicating fusion of essential oils known for their aphrodisiac qualities.
This blend isn't strictly for lovers, promoting a general feeling of warmth and adoration. The experience is meant to feel cozy, fighting feelings of loneliness and enhancing bonding.
Cacao extracts, known for their bittersweet taste, blends well with the fruity, potent Davana to amplify feelings of love while Siam Wood is said to combat a lonely, isolated state of mind.
Love MONQ also includes Blood Orange, Coffee, Coconut, Cinnamon, Clove, Rose Geranium, Cognac, Liquidambar, Ginger, Hops, Massoia, Bergamot, and Benzoin.
Juniper Leaf - Peppermint - Scotch Pine
Climbing a mountain is a big challenge. But it's empowering. The grandeur of climbing is what MONQ had in mind when they dreamed up their Mountain pen.
Meant to generate resilience, courage and fortitude, this bold blend takes the weight off your chest so you can tackle life's challenges.
Each puff from the Mountain MONQ imparts a cool sensation in the mouth. That's the Peppermint, used to improve mental focus and boost energy. Also present is the gin-like scent of Juniper Leaf, known for its anti-rheumatic, antiseptic qualities and ability to stimulate the mind.
Mountain MONQ also includes Lemon, Thyme, Douglas Fir, and Cypress Leaf.
Eucalyptus - Lime - Tangerine
There's no natural wonder as healing as the ocean blue. MONQ captured the invigorating calmness of the sea in their Ocean pen, a restorative blend that aims to soothe the wear-and-tear of everyday life.
The first thing you'll taste is the bitter, warm, and cooling flavor of eucalyptus. Lingering citrus notes enliven the senses to keep you alert. This trio of stimulating and healing essential oils is just as delicious as it is invigorating.
Ocean MONQ also includes Cedarwood, Lemon, Juniper Leaf, Frankincense, Douglas Fir, Peppermint, Litsea, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Manuka, and Geranium.
Orange - Frankincense - Ylang Ylang
A common question is, which MONQ works best for anxiety? The answer is Zen. This blend is pretty relaxing. The mentholic, herbal flavor with a hint of spice is calming. Anxiety sucks, but aromatherapy can help. Zen MONQ lets you carry that little bit of relief with you.
The main essential oils are known anxiety-relievers. Frankincense restores mental clarity to promote calmness, while sweet orange decreases stress responses and Ylang Ylang helps combat fear
Does Zen MONQ work? While it's not a cure-all, it definitely helps take the edge off. It's a good complement to your stress-management strategy.
Zen MONQ also includes Eucalyptus, Dill Seed, Black Pepper, Tea Tree, Spearmint, Rosemary, Lemon, Sage, and Clary Sage.
Cinnamon - Marjoram - Turmeric
This MONQ could have been called "Soothe," because its blend consists of compounds known to ease pain. We wouldn't say it actually relieves pain like an aspirin would, but it certainly has a healthy, warming vibe that's relaxing. And that in itself can be healing.
The key ingredients in Healthy MONQ are cinnamon, used for muscle soreness, marjoram for muscle discomfort and Turmeric, nature's anti-inflammatory. The flavor and aroma is sweet and spicy, which makes each MONQhale feel relaxing and revitalizing.
Healthy MONQ also includes Mandarin Green, Dill Seed, Copaiba, Caraway, and Basil.
Fennel - Thyme - Vanilla
The sweet, anise-like flavor of Happy MONQ is said to evoke feelings of joy, relaxation, and positivity. Compounding a trio of uplifting oils, Happy is stress-relieving, invigorating, and some say it even repels negative energy.
This is one of the lighter tasting MONQ blends. With a hint of mint and the sweet taste of vanilla, Happy tastes happy. The fennel imparts a light and easy quality that's quite pleasant. Happy is designed to help you tackle challenges with a good attitude and to some degree it succeeds.
Happy MONQ also includes Marjoram, Petitgrain, Lavender, Clary Sage, Mandarin Green, Caraway, and Parsley Seed.
Ginger - Lemon - Spearmint
This MONQ's a real zinger. Vibrant helps you kick it into high gear like the Active. But this blend is sweeter, mintier and tangier. The MONQhale with this pen is stimulating and helps you focus. You can carry it around with you and wake up a bit whenever you need.
There's a warm zestiness to this MONQ. That's the ginger. Add to the lemon extract and you get a sweet tanginess that will get your attention. Spearmint helps balance the sharpness. The breath is refreshing and smooth.
Vibrant MONQ also includes Clary Sage, Dill Seed, Geranium, Basil, Oregano, Parsley Seed, Hyssop, Caraway, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Pepper, Bitter Orange, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Fennel, and Sage.
Jasmine - Lime - Patchouli
The most sensual MONQ is Sexy. It contains natural aphrodisiacs, as well as oils known for pain relief and relaxation. Sure enough, this subtly sweet, highly fragrant blend does have the power to put you in the mood.
Sexy MONQ has a silky, floral flavor thanks to the Jasmine, which can increase arousal and awareness. The Lime is invigorating, teasing the senses, while Patchouli sets the mood with the stress-relieving properties.
Sexy MONQ also includes Caraway, Sweet Orange, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla, Lavender, Cinnamon Leaf, Copaiba, Manuka and Lemon.
Is MONQ for You?
MONQ is supposed to let you feel how you want when you want. Does it? To some degree, yes. These little pens aren't an absolute cure-all, but they do evoke certain emotions, memories and sensations, as essential oils are known to do. And since you're directly breathing the mist into your mouth and nose, the feeling is deeper than with the usual air diffuser or topical rub. We highly recommend MONQ for those who want to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy in a more effective, portable manner.
Thomas Gregorich is a writer at The VaporNation Blog, a Los Angeles-based online publication focused on providing balanced and trustworthy information about vaporizers. His blogs are visited by an average of 60,000 readers each month. His goal? To help build awareness about the true benefits and downsides of vaping.
As a vaporizer critic for the past two years, Thomas does not recommend that people take up vaping if they don't already smoke. He also does not claim that vaping is healthier than smoking. He does, however, provide information on how to choose and use vaporizers for those who already practice smoking or vaping.
Thomas bought his first vaporizer after looking for an alternative to smoking, a practice which he found to be odorous and wasteful. Since then, he's become an enthusiast, reviewing the most popular devices to provide readers with a balanced perspective. His aim is to offer responsible advice and information that ensures the continued happiness, health, and safety of his readers.
Thomas graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and lives with his family in the Los Angeles region. You can read his articles on High Times, Chicagoist, Leafly, Westword, Leaf Science, Green Rush Daily, Ganjapreneur, and more.