Aromatherapy for Your Sauna (What Essential Oils are Best for Sauna)

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Aromatherapy is a holistic practice that has been used for centuries.  Essential oils are used for their healing properties – each one carrying unique benefits.  They have been touted to elevate both physical and mental health.

Using aromatherapy when taking a sauna can elevate the experience – whether you are looking to relax, invigorate, enhance your mood or clear your mind.  Essential oils each carry unique healing benefits.

The use of scented essential oils in a sauna is a popular practice.  Generally, a few drops of oil are added to the sauna water bucket.  The water is then used over the hot sauna stones and the steam throws off the oil’s fragrance through the sauna.

How does Aromatherapy in the Sauna Work?

Essential oils must be diluted in water before use.  Do not use essential oils directly on sauna stones.  They can be a fire hazard.  Additionally, most essential oils should not be applied directly to your skin.

Some sauna stoves have a tray that you can use for essential oils.  If not, dilute a few drops into your sauna bucket filled with water.  Then add water to rocks as necessary.  It’s better to start off with a few drops and go from there so you don’t overpower the sauna.  Try 3-4 drops per liter of water.  As the rocks are heated, the oil evaporates into the air dispersing the aroma through the sauna.

If you have a dry sauna, aromatherapy can be used with a spray bottle to dilute the essential oil.  It’s best to use a glass spray bottle.  Mix essential oil with a carrier oil and shake well before using.

Scents can be used to help you relax, breathe easier or calm your mind.  They can also be used to improve energy and invigorate.

Best Essential Oils for the Sauna


One of the most popular scents used for the sauna is eucalyptus.  It’s a traditional remedy for colds, coughs and sore throats.  Its minty vapor combined with sauna steam acts as a decongestant.  It’s an aroma perfect for the winter sniffles, common cold or sinus problems.

Additionally, it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.  It can help heal your cuts and sores while you sauna.

Try this organic eucalyptus oil for your next sauna experience


Lavender is touted for its calming and relaxing properties for both the mind and body.  With a slightly sweet floral smell, it’s the perfect aroma for an evening sauna.  It will help you unwind and get a deep sleep after a long day.

Birch Oil

The minty fresh smell of birch oil is one of the most popular scents used in a traditional Finnish sauna. It’s also helpful in reducing muscle and joint pain.  Other health benefits include bacterial and fungal protection.  Its antispasmodic properties eases pain and cramping in the body.


Citrus scents, including orange, lemon or grapefruit provide an invigorating aroma for the sauna.  These scents will give you a boost of energy and are great for sauna users that have a morning routine.  They are not recommended for evening when they might make you feel more alert than calm.  Citrus oils also have anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties.


This woodsy aroma will transport you back to the holidays or a walk in the pine forest.  The oil is known for its uplifting and invigorating aroma.  Pine elevates your mood by reducing stress, energizing the body and promotes well being.  This fresh earthy scent also helps to alleviate congestion.


Sandalwood essential oil has a calming, harmonizing effect for the mind, helping reduce tension and confusion.  It can help you relax and reduce anxiety while increasing mental clarity.

Tea Tree

Tea Tree essential oil is great for sauna use.  It has an invigorating refreshing scent with many health benefits.  Its green aroma blends well with other uplifting oils including peppermint, citrus or eucalyptus.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known to be refreshing and invigorating.  This aromatic oil has a strong, minty, herbaceous aroma.  Combines well with lavender or eucalyptus.

Ylang Ylang

Need a lift? The sweet flowery scent of Ylang Ylang is like springtime flowers in your sauna. This oil has been known to reduce stress and feelings of sadness.   It is also a natural antiseptic and can help relieve pain.

As you experiment with using essential oils in the sauna, you will find your favorite aroma to elevate the experience.  As you learn, you may want to combine essential oils to find the perfect combination.

Regular sauna use is known for its amazing health benefits. Adding aromatherapy elevates the healing effect of sauna bathing.  Try your favorite scent, take some deep breaths and enjoy the spa-like experience.