Smell is a powerful sense in us humans, and our olfactory and limbic systems play an important part in our mood, emotion and memory. It is a something that can be harnessed for improved wellbeing, both physical and emotional, and we invite you to explore this when you visit us at Sauna Society.
Upon entering our sauna, you will notice that we have a number of aromatic essential oils available for you to add to the water that you drizzle over the hot stones of the sauna stove, should you so choose. Essential oil therapy, also known as aromatherapy, delivers the benefits of natural plant extracts through smell and skin absorption and has been practised continually by various ancient cultures dating back several thousand years.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants containing the chemical compounds that hold the essence of the plant’s fragrance. They can be extracted in a number of ways such as pressing (when you squeeze the skin of a citrus fruit such as an orange or lemon, the oil that comes out is that fruit’s essential oil), steam distillation or solvent-extraction. Their highly fragrant nature mans that they are used in the production of perfumes, cosmetics, food flavourings, and aromatherapy. The most popular essential oils are often used on their own with specific outcomes in mind, but oils can also be blended to access the combined benefits of the various ingredients.
The Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a holistic complimentary therapy that uses smell to improve health and wellbeing. It is an ancient practice that has a growing body of scientific research behind it. Studies have shown that aromatherapy with certain essential oils may lead to improved mood and better sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, reduce pain, inflammation and the discomfort of headaches and nausea, and can even fight bacteria, viruses and fungus. Many people access the benefits of aromatherapy through the use of air diffusers, inhalers or bath salts. When essential oils are added to the water drizzled over the sauna stones the essential oils evaporate into the local atmosphere in the same way as an inhaler or diffuser, creating a pleasant smell in the sauna.
The Essential Oils We Use At Sauna Society
We offer several different essential oils, and blends in our sauna at Watergate Bay:
- Eucalyptus – best known for aiding in respiratory ailments because it helps to open nasal passages and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil is also good for easing mental exhaustion.
- Lemongrass – a relaxing citrus fragrance used to help relieve stress and anxiety, with strong antibacterial properties.
- Orange – an invigorating scent that boosts energy and mood, orange oil also has anti-inflammatory, cleansing, and antidepressant properties.
Tips For Using Essential Oils in a Sauna
Essential oils are a great compliment to time spent in the sauna, as the steam from the sauna is a natural medium to carry the scent of the oil. There are however a few things to keep in mind when adding essential oils to the hot stones.
- Always consider the others who you share the sauna with. It’s good sauna etiquette to check with others sharing the space regarding adding steam or essential oils to the sauna
- It’s important to know what scent you’re adding to the room. Different scents can affect mood, emotion and energy, so it’s important to think about the impacts of your choice of oil or blend and the effects they can have.
- It’s important to not add too much – you only need to add one or two drops to the ladle before drizzling the water over the stones in order to create a pleasantly relaxing atmosphere, as well as to gain the full benefit of their healing effects.
- Consider the blended effects of different oils. Combining different ingredients in different ways can have surprising effects so it can be good to experiment with different mixtures to find a blend that helps you achieve your desired outcome.
- Don’t apply the essential oils directly to your skin (in case it causes irritation), or the hot stones.
- No matter how enjoyable the sensation it’s important to not to stay in the sauna for any more than 20 minutes in a single sitting.
Coming Soon – A Special Sauna Essential Oil Blend
We are excited to be working with pioneering local Cornish company Trelonk Wellbeing to trial their new aromatherapy blend for saunas, alongside the oils and blends from their current range that are available at our Watergate Bay location. The blend that Trelonk are preparing specifically for use in saunas has been achieved through cutting-edge science (such as supercritical CO2 extraction, a green alternative to organic solvent extraction) and masterful consideration, and we cannot wait to share more about this product and its positive impacts soon.