Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, is a specialized kind of treatment. It uses naturally occurring plant extracts in order to improve the overall health and wellness of both body and mind. While the term ‘essential oil’ was coined in more recent years, this type of homeopathic healing has been around for centuries. Today they are more popular than ever, mostly due to the healing properties.
You may have already used them on your body, in a diffuser, or in a sauna. But what exactly are they?
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing different compounds, or phytochemicals, derived from plants. A compound is made up of two or more parts. They are then used in various applications, either internal or external, for health and healing.
As long ago as 20,000 B.C.E. evidence was found in cave paintings in France that suggested that plants were used for medicinal purposes. How the plants were used exactly is unknown. It has been speculated that the oils were key. A 2017 study revealed:
“The use of aromatic oils was first recorded in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine between 3000 and 2000 BC. In particular, the recorded history of China and India listed more than 700 substances including cinnamon, ginger, myrrh, and sandalwood as being effective for healing.”
“(The Egyptians) used to make a mixture of different sources of herbal preparations such as aniseed, cedar, onion, myrrh, and grapes in perfume or medicine”
There were even historical records of Ancient Greeks using essential oils, around 500 and 400 BC.
Many of the spices and plants that were used to concoct these oils centuries ago are still popular today. So, what’s the best way to use them?
How To Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils work several ways, including:
- Aromatically, via a diffuser, or use in a sauna.
- Topically, where you apply the essential oil onto the skin
- Internally, where you can ingest them.
Some essential oils you can safely ingest, while others are only suited for aromatics and topical use. Be sure to understand this distinction, otherwise, you could get sick or ill.
It’s also important to not confuse essential oils with fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are made with artificial scents instead rather than natural ones. They’re designed solely for the purpose of smelling good. Generally, they are devoid of health benefits and should not be substituted for essential oils.
Incorporating essential oils in your sauna sessions is a great way to enhance your aromatherapy experience and enjoy the benefits that each oil offers. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a small container or an aromatherapy cup. The aroma of the oil will quickly fill the heated room for you to enjoy. Just be careful to start with a few drops. If the oil scent is too strong you can also dilute it.
Best Essential Oils for Sauna Aromatherapy
There are many essential oils on the market, and each has its own beneficial properties. It all depends on what kind of feeling you’re looking to experience. More energy or relaxation, reducing inflammation or speeding healing?
Here are some suggested essential oils to use for your sauna aromatherapy.
- Eucalyptus – This popular essential oil is often used at spas and can make you feel rejuvenated, energized, and mentally sharp. It also helps with respiratory issues and can loosen mucus in your chest or help with coughs. Studies show it provides antimicrobial effects against bacteria.
- Lavender – Lavender has a sweet, floral smell and has been widely used as a homeopathic remedy to help relieve stress and anxiety What some people don’t realize is that it can also heal minor burns and bug bites.
- Frankincense – Frankincense has a history of being considered the ‘king’ of oils. It’s sweet, woody smell has subtle notes of lemon that helps promote calm while also supporting a healthy immune system, improving skin appearance, and supporting digestion.
- Grapefruit – This citrusy oil helps balance moods, provides anxiety relief, and even helps with weight loss.
- Cinnamon – It might make you think of apple pie or cozy days at home. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties, can improve cognitive abilities, and help boost the immune system in conjunction with antibiotics. It can even relieve achy joints and muscles.
- Tea Tree – Tea Tree oil is used in many skin care products due to its refreshing, invigorating feel. It’s jam-packed with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, including athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
- Lemon – This classic, citrusy oil is associated with freshness and cleanliness. It imparts many benefits including skin healing, enhanced immune function, bacterial fighting, improved energy and clarity, and much more.
What About Combining Oils?
Once you experiment with different oils, you may find enjoy more than one or two. Consider using your favorites together. Some popular combinations include:
- Calming: Lavender & Bergamot, Orange & Frankincense, Marjoram & Chamomile
- Energy: Peppermint & Orange, Cinnamon & Lemon, Orange & Peppermint
- Improving Focus: Cinnamon & French Basil, Juniper Berry & Wild Orange, Lime & Eucalyptus
There is no wrong combination. It all comes down to personal preference, so experiment and create your own! Aromatherapy is a very beneficial practice and can enhance your sauna therapy
It’s well known that regular sauna use has many numerous benefits on the mind and on the body. The incorporation of essential oils to regular sauna sessions can help to enhance the experience, depending on what the specific and individual needs of the sauna user are.
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