Sweating has been a part of many therapies. It can be traced back to the Mayans who used various kinds of “sweat houses” that existed 3,000 years ago. 

Today, we have saunas, which are rooms where people unwind. Aside from being a place for relaxation, saunas can also have tons of health benefits.

What is a Sauna and Its Possible Uses for Our Health?

A sauna is where most people would go to rest and recover in dry heat. Typically, it is heated from 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and its main purpose is to allow skin temperature to rise, which then leads to heavy sweating.

At the same time, the heart rate also increases, which allows the body to remain cool even in a hot environment. A 20-minute sauna session can result in losing about a pint of perspiration. 

When it comes to health benefits, sauna rooms, regardless of their types, their humidity level, or how they are heated, effects are deemed similar:

When sitting in a sauna, a person’s heart rate rises and their blood vessels widen as well. As a result, circulation is increased which the effect is comparable to performing low to moderate exercises. The duration of sauna use will determine how circulation is affected.

It is possible for the heart rate to increase from 100 to 150 beats per minute while in a sauna room. Such an increase can bring health benefits, including burning calories twice as much as regular sitting down at a desk. 

Meanwhile, since saunas can improve circulation, they can help reduce pain due to arthritis. It may also relieve muscle soreness while enhancing joint movements.

One study also mentioned that men who go to sauna rooms more than once a week saw a decrease in developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Experts believe such a benefit is associated with the improvement of the blood vessel lining, which allows better blood flow to the heart, brain, and other important organs in the body.

There are more reasons why you should never pass up on a chance to use a sauna, including detoxification. It is one of the best and most natural ways to flush out toxins from the body. You can incorporate a sauna to help you create a healthier lifestyle for yourself.

To have a better sauna experience, you can use scents in the form of essential oils. Like a sauna, they have a number of benefits and uses.

Some notable essential oil uses include killing bacteria, aiding respiration, and giving the sauna a scent of your choice.

essential oils

What are Essential Oils?

In scientific terms, essential oils are hydrophobic liquids that have aromatic compounds coming from plants. 

The oils are extremely fragrant and are simply called “essential” because they have the “essence of“ certain plants.

The oils alone are known for their health benefits, so when you team them up with a sauna appliance, you can double the gains. 

However, the biggest reason people use essential oils for saunas is that the combination is therapeutic. In fact, the oils are used for aromatherapy, which helps alter moods and even improve psychological health.

Furthermore, they can be used to treat pain, anxiety, and a host of other health issues.

The Best Essential Oils for Saunas

With several kinds of essential oils out there, it may be difficult to choose for your sauna experience. 

However, there really is nothing to worry about since it all boils down to your preference. There are some oils that you may find more appealing than others. Still, there are some scents that more people seem to enjoy than others.

As you look for the essential oil to use, here are some ideas for your sauna:

  1. Eucalyptus: This is one of the most popular essential oils out in the market. The sweet odor that also gives off a soothing scent has some therapeutic properties. When it comes to relieving respiratory issues, eucalyptus oil is a good choice. It is also known for its ability to reduce pain. 
  1. Birch: Compared to eucalyptus and other essential oils, birch is not that popular. However, Finnish saunas like to use this oil because of its traditional scent. It is best known for the strong minty smell that is often associated with medicinal odor. It is effective for disinfecting and can be soothing to the mind and the body. 
  1. Pine: Here is another popular essential oil that has a recognizable scent. The woodsy fragrance can help relax the mind as it promotes peace and serenity. Additionally, pine essential oils are used for improving our respiratory system and are often used for those with flu, cold, and fever. 
  1. Peppermint: For this essential oil, it can be hit-and-miss for a few people because it can be too strong for them. Nevertheless, the scent is often linked to relaxation. Peppermint is also used for those with anxiety and can be helpful in melting emotional pain away by calming anyone who smells it. The oil is also said to have the ability to heal body pains and headaches. 
  1. Wild Orange: Just like peppermint, citrus essential oils such as wild orange are either loved or hated by some people because of their sharp odor. However, the scent is awakening and often leaves the body energized. Some sauna users would drink a glass of lemon water in combination with the essential oil to help invigorate their minds and body.

Other essential oil choices for saunas are:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

How to Use Essential Oils for Your Sauna Session

In a traditional sauna, never put undiluted oil on the rocks of the sauna. Instead, you should dilute the oil before you use it. 

To do this, add five drops of the essential oil to a liter of water. Only five drops are needed because of their high potency.

The resulting fragrant water can now be used when you douse the rocks in the sauna room. 

Alternatively, you could use hydrosols instead of essential oils. Hydrosols are the byproducts of essential oils which are less potent so little or no dilution is needed, but they have many of the same benefits.