essential oils and sauna

Check out our essential oils for sauna guide. We cover all you need to know, from the best essential oil for sauna to how to use essential oils in a sauna. Adding fragrant oils to your sauna session can enhance your experience, improve relaxation, and potentially boost your health.


What is the the best essential oil for sauna? There are a wide range of essential oils out there to choose from. Each one has its own fragrance and aroma and comes with a unique set of characteristics.

the best essential oils for sauna

If you are new to using essential oils for sauna, let us help you get up to speed. Broadly speaking, there are fourteen essential oils to choose from that work wonders in the sauna.

The best essential oils for sauna are Eucalyptus, Birch, Lavender, Sandalwood, Pine, Peppermint, Citrus, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Grapefruit, Geranium, and Frankincense.


Essential oils are great for sauna. They add fragrance and aroma to your sauna session. Many people use them to boost relaxation, relieve anxiety, and for a range of potential health benefits.

women in a sauna using essential oils for fragrance

They may even have potential health benefits. We’ve listed the fourteen best sauna essential oils above. Let’s now take a closer look and see how you can use different essential oils to spice up your sauna experience.

There’s an essential oil out there for every personal preference. And, the spectrum of aromatic fragrances is equally comprehensive as pleasing. First up is our personal favorite – eucalyptus oil.


Eucalyptus essential oil is probably the most popular oil used in saunas across the world. It has a pleasantly refreshing scent and a calming aroma.

Eucalyptus oil is used in saunas for its potential stress-relieving and energy-boosting effects. It is also used to soothe respiratory conditions and is believed to have an antimicrobial effect.

Eucalyptus essential oil is made by distilling the oil from the leaf of the Eucalyptus tree. The Eucalyptus tree is native to Australis but is cultivated around the world. The oil is used for many purposes including as an antiseptic, a natural repellent, and fragrance.


Birch essential oil is a great choice for a sauna. This essential oil is one of the most popular fragrances used by people enjoying saunas around the world. And, in particular, it is one of the most popular oils used in traditional Finnish sauna.

Birch has a light, energizing, and refreshing scent. The oil is extracted from the bark of the birch tree. Many find the scent of Birch to be calming and soothing.

This essential oil is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and help fight bacterial and fungal infections. It is often applied to the skin to ward off microbial infections. Birch essential oil contains the natural compounds – salicylic acid, methyl salicylates, betulene, and botulinal.


Lavender essential oil is highly popular thanks to its sweet floral fragrance. It is regularly used in sauna and aromatherapy. A few drops of lavender oil can really lift a sauna session.

lavender essential oil

Lavender is believed to promote relaxation and treat anxiety. And, it is commonly used to treat insomnia. It is one of our favorite essential oils for a sauna.

The oil is made by extracting and distilling oil from the spikes of the lavender flower. There are over 400 species of lavender and each one has a unique fragrance and set of characteristics.


Sandalwood is an essential oil made from the distillation of cuts from the sandalwood tree. Chips and cuts from the heartwood of the tree are used in the extraction process.

Two types of sandalwood trees are used in the process – the Santalum album from India, and the Santalum spicatum from Australia.

Sandalwood essential oil is used in a sauna for a range of potential benefits including mental clarity and focus. It is also believed to have a calming effect that can relieve anxiety. We recommend this essential oil for sauna users that want to meditate while sitting in a sauna.


Pine essential oil is an oil that is extracted from the needles of a pine tree. This oil has a strong fresh aroma that is associated with Christmas time – thanks to the presence of pine trees in peoples’ homes as Christmas trees.  It smells great.

Pine oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has a fresh and uplifting fragrance. Pine oil creates an invigorating aroma that many people enjoy in a sauna. The distinctive aroma will be familiar to anyone that has had a pine Christmas in their home over the years.


Peppermint essential oil is made by extracting the oils from a Peppermint leaf. The oil can be extracted using steam distillation or solvent extraction.

The Peppermint plant is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint and originates from Europe and the Middle East. It is a popular aromatic oil used in sauna and is believed to have stimulating and energy-boosting properties.

Just like a cup of coffee, an early morning sauna session infused with peppermint can be a great way to wake up and start your day. We recommend avoiding this oil late at night before going to bed.


Citrus essential oil refers to a family of essential oils that come from citrus fruits. We love this oil.  Citrus is extracted from lemons and oranges. It has been used for centuries for its refreshing and cleansing aroma.

lavender essential oil

Citrus essential oils are great for boosting your sauna experience with a zesty uplifting fragrance. Diffusing a few drops of citrus oil will brighten up your sauna session and add some welcome zest.

Citrus oil is made by cold pressing the skins of oranges and lemons. The light distinctive fresh scent of citrus fruit is most prominent in the skin of the fruit. The potential health benefits of citrus essential oils include improving mood and boosting skin health.


Lemongrass essential oil is a natural oil and is extracted from the lemongrass plant. The plant is a type of grass plant that comes from Asia, Africa, and Australia. They are commonly grown and cultivated for their unique aroma and flavor.

Lemongrass is a popular fragrance used in aromatherapy. It is also used in many Asian dishes for its distinctive fresh flavor. And, the use of lemongrass essential oil is becoming increasingly popular in saunas.

The fresh citrus notes of lemongrass are great for clearing and calming the mind. The scent is very distinctive and will remind some people of their favorite Asian dishes – especially Thai curries.


Tea tree oil is an oil extracted from the Australian Tea Tree – also known as the Leptospermum laevigatum. A steaming process is used to collect the oil from the leaves.

It is believed to have an antibacterial effect when applied topically. It should never be consumed orally. Tea tree oil is popular in saunas thanks to its cleansing aroma.

It is sometimes used by people when they feel the early effects of a cold. However, claims that tea tree can be used to boost health lack scientific data to back them up.


Bergamot essential oil is an oil that is extracted from the rind of a bergamot orange fruit. The process used to collect the oil involves the cold pressing of the rind cells.

bergamot oil

Bergamot is a popular fragrance used in perfumes and a flavor used in food preparation. It takes the rinds of 100 bergamot oranges to collect just 3 ounces of bergamot essential oil.

The zesty citrus fragrance of bergamot oil makes it a popular choice for use in a sauna. Many people believe it has stress-relieving and calming properties.



Cinnamon essential oil has a distinctive sweet and spicy fragrance. It is believed to have antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties. The oil is sourced from the bark and leaves of the Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum verum tree.

Cinnamon essential oil is great in a sauna. Just a few drops fill light up your session with pleasant fragrances and it feels great on your skin.

The key compounds in cinnamon oil are cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. These natural chemicals give cinnamon its distinctive aroma and potential health benefits. It’s used in saunas to relieve nasal congestion and for its potential health benefits, including easing inflammation, boosting mood, and its anti-microbial properties.


Grapefruit oil is a citrus-scented essential oil that is taken from the common grapefruit. The oil is extracted using a cold-press technique that collects the oil from glands in the peel of the fruit.

Grapefruit oil has a fresh orange-tinted citrus scent. It is commonly used in aromatherapy and it works equally well in a hot sauna for adding fragrance.

The potential health benefits of grapefruit oil include lowering blood pressure and relieving stress. However, the scientific data to support these claims has not been clearly established. Grapefruits are enjoyed around the world as part of a healthy breakfast.


Geranium oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves of the Pelargonium graveolens plant. The plant is a pink floral plant native to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

According to local tradition, it is used to treat a wide range of conditions. Geranium oil is used in the production of perfumes and cosmetics. It is also a popular oil used in aromatherapy.

This makes it a great choice for the sauna. Just a few drops will light up your sauna cabin with the gentle floral tones of geranium.


Frankincense is a powerful fragrance used to add aroma to perfumes and incense. It is made by extracting the resin from Boswellia trees. The more opaque the resin, the higher the quality.
trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae.

Frankincense is often used in religious ceremonies to create an intense aroma. The oil is popular in saunas and is sometimes used in a sauna to help treat a head cold. It has a powerful fragrance and adding a small amount during your sauna session will quickly transform the aroma inside the cabin.



Let’s take a look at how to use essential oils in a sauna. It’s a simple process. First up is the most important step. The essential oil needs to be diluted before it is added to the hot sauna stones.

lady drinking a glass of water

The best way to do this is to add a few drops of your oil of choice to the water bucket used to pour water on the coals. Then, when the water is poured on the hot stones it will evaporate and you will be left with the distinctive pleasant aroma of the essential oil.

You should avoid pouring undiluted oil onto the stones as the essential oil is highly concentrated. Undiluted oil added to the hot stones will create an overpowering aroma in the small cabin that is best avoided.

Also, avoid pouring oil concentrate onto super hot sauna stones – it is a fire hazard. Our advice is to play it safe and always dilute your essential oil before adding it to the sauna.

Once you’ve diluted your oil sand added them to the stones – that’s it. Your work is done. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy a fragrant sauna session. It couldn’t be any easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put essential oils on sauna rocks?

Yes, you can add essential oils to sauna rocks – but you must first dilute them in water. Essential oils are highly concentrated and need to be diluted before use. Add a few drops to some water and then pour the water across the coals.

How can I make my sauna smell better?

The best way to make your sauna smell better is to use some fragrant essential oils. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to some water and then carefully pour the mixture over the hot coals. Your sauna will instantly smell better.

How do you use essential oils in infrared sauna?

Using essential oils in a sauna is very easy. All you have to do is dilute them in water and then carefully pour the mixture over the hot coals. Essential oils are highly concentrated so just add a few drops to some water. Then carefully pour the mixture over the hot coals.

How much essential oil should I put in a sauna?

Essential oils are highly concentrated materials. You only need to use a few drops. Adding too much will create an overwhelming fragrance in the confined space of your sauna. Add a few drops to some water and then pour the mixture over the coals – a little at a time.



• IS SAUNA GOOD FOR COLD & FLU – click here

• WHAT IS A SAUNA HAT? – click here

• WHAT ARE SAUNAS FOR? – click here




About the Author


• Health & Wellness Consultant

Ellie is a fully trained and highly skilled massage therapist. Hailing from sunny Florida, she brings a wealth of expertise to the health and wellness realm. She holds a LST qualification in Massage from the esteemed Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences and specializes in techniques that promote relaxation and healing.

Her experience extends beyond massage and encompasses a diverse range of therapies including infrared sauna. She developed her expertise at the Equinox Sports Club in San Francisco and has led sessions in pilates fusion, outdoor run clubs, and vinyasa yoga. Ellie is highly regarded for her ability to tailor treatments to individual needs.

When not immersed in the world of holistic wellness and local sports and fitness clubs she enjoys exploring Florida’s natural beauty and participating in outdoor activities. With her unique blend of expertise, experience, and passion for wellness Ellie looks forward to helping you discover the benefits of sauna and sauna therapy.

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  1. we like to use a few drops of grapefruit oil. just right on to the hot coals. smells great and wakes you up in the morning.

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