Updated: Jun 7, 2021
There is much to be admired about the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations; the architecture, art, inventions, and baths. Baths? Yes, baths. How can a bath be lumped together with great works of art and things like the Callosum? Let me explain.
Bathing in steam existed in many ancient cultures ranging from the Russians, English, Mexican, and Turks. For centuries, the practice of steam bathing was used throughout the world. There is much to be said about how the Greeks and Romans made steam bathing an art. But what I want to focus on is the use of essential oils as an important element of the overall health benefit of steam bathing. Or as I call it, 'Osme Loutro(TM)', roughly translated from Greek to mean 'Scent Bath.'
In a recently published paper by Cohen, there is evidence that 15-20 minutes of steam bathing, helped combat COVID-19 and other enveloped viruses such as SARS. There is an increasing body of evidence that 'regular sauna bathing enhances cardiovascular, respiratory and immune function as well as improving mood and quality of life.' Magnifying sauna bathing with essential oils known for their respiratory use and anti-viral qualities further promotes these positive outcomes.
In recommending essential oils to inhale while steam bathing, there are several aspects that must be taken into consideration. Almost all essential oils have a molecular construct of light, medium, and heavy carbon-based molecules. When heated, the lighter and medium molecules will dissipate more rapidly into the air. This does not mean that you need to use more! More is not always better. Although they dissipate faster, there is still a recommended usage that should be adhered to when inhaling essential oils during a sauna bath.
Below are some good essential oils to use and quantities to use them (in drops) for your 15-20 minute Osme Loutro(TM). Be advised that many essential oils are not recommended for young children, pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding. Consult your RA or another naturopath professional if you have any questions about using essential oils:
basil O. basilicum - 1 drop,
bay L. nobilis* - 2 drops
cajuput M. leucadendron var. cajuputi, - 1 drop
cardamom E. cardamomum - 1 drop
elemi C. luzonicum, eucalyptus E. globulus - 3 drops
eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus - 1 -2 drops
jasmine J. grandiflorum - 2 drops
marjoram O. majorana* - 1 drop
niaouli M. quinquenervia** - 1 drop. Interesting historical fact: Australian aborigines used the leaves for cold, fever, and congestion, including vapor baths and sipping as a tea (Peterson, 2016). Can be used as an alternative to eucalyptus.
patchouli P. cablin - 2 drops
pine P. sylvestris* - 2 drops
tea tree Australia M. alternifolia - 2 drops
thyme T. vulgaris, vetiver V. zizanioides - 2 drops
ylang ylang C. odorata var. genuina* - 1 drop
*Essential oils that help to lower blood pressure. Since increase heat increases blood pressure, these may help keep the body in stasis during your steam bath.
**Essential oil that helps loosen mucus and has expectorant-like actions
If you know how to blend essential oils to create a synergistic Osme Loutro(TM), then go for it! If not, I have some great handmade blends you can purchase on the site.
A recent study points to more evidence of the benefits of regular sauna use!