Not all infrared saunas are created equal, and neither are essential oils. Sourcing, distillation, and bottling processes can vary dramatically. The last thing you want to do is breathe in a substandard oil in a small hot space. Reputable brands are well-sourced, often organic and have a standardized distillation process.
Quality oils come in dark glass jars with proper detailed labeling. Price, in this particular case, is often a determinant of the quality of the oil. With essential oils, you get what you pay for. Some reputable brands are Young Living and DoTerra. Once you have decided on a few oils to try, you need to know how to get the best out of the wonderful fragrances and the therapeutic benefits.
- You can use them topically with a carrier oil (mix oils with fractionated coconut oil and rub on the skin directly)
- Diffuse/inhale your oil into the air
- Ingest (only high-quality oils noted suitable for consumption should ever be taken internally)
For sauna application, diffusing/inhalation is the best method. Because of the heightened temperature of the skin and the openness of the pores, we need to be very careful when applying oils topically while in the sauna. It is safest to use one of three diffusing/inhalation alternatives:
- Consider using a cordless diffuser you can set on the floor of the sauna
- You can create a special sauna spray with one-part distilled water. See recipe below.
- Or you can put a few drops on a small washcloth and hold the towel close to your face for inhalation.
All of these methods will safely allow you to enjoy the many benefits of the oils.
Take a small glass spray bottle available at any drug store in the cosmetics section. Use a 1:3 ratio of vodka/witch hazel to water. (This will create the carrier for the oil.) Add 10-15 drops of quality essential oil or oil blend. Secure lid tightly. Always shake well before using.
When deciding what oils to use, it is best to steer clear of oils that are naturally “heating.” You are already getting excellent heat therapy from your sauna and we don’t need to add fuel to the fire! Oils like ginger, black pepper, oregano, or marjoram are some of the “heat-producing” oils. Oils such as peppermint, lavender, citrus, and eucalyptus lend very well to sauna sessions because of their complimentary cooling effects.
Perhaps you might want to get fancy and blend a few different oils for a desired smell or therapeutic effect? Here are some suggestions:
- ALERTNESS – 1:1 wild orange and peppermint
- RELAXATION – 1:1:1 lavender, vetiver, chamomile
- MUSCLE SORENESS – 1.5:1 peppermint, eucalyptus
- FATIGUE – 1:1 wild orange, frankincense
- CALMING – 1:1 frankincense, bergamot
- SEASONAL SUPPORT – 1:1:1 lavender, peppermint, lemon
- RESPIRATORY HEALTH – 1:1:1 bergamot, patchouli, ylang-ylang
Once you have the particular oil or blend you intend to use, you are ready to go. You can mist your sauna spray into the air periodically or directly onto a hand towel. When using undiluted oil, or an oil blend, you can add a few drops to a damp towel and take five breaths in, inhaling deeply. You could also prepare a peppermint mister to spray on your skin for cooling down after your sauna.
Remember to store your oils in a cool, dry place for best preservation. That being said, oils are processed at tremendously high temperatures, so they are no stranger to heat. Make sure to allow your oils to cool to room temperature completely before re-opening the bottle and if possible, prep your damp towel with oils beforehand and avoid taking the bottles into the sauna with you.
Infrared sauna is about utilizing a powerful natural health solution. The use of essential oils is a beautiful compliment.