Incorporating Aromatherapy into Your Steam Shower


Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant essential oils derived from plants to enhance mental and physical well-being—a practice dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. The oils may be used for inhalation or topical application, depending on the desired effect. For example, one might inhale the calming scent of lavender to relax the mind and prepare for sleep at the end of a long day. Steam showers can have similar benefits, from detoxification to improved sleep. Read our full article on the health benefits of steam. For this reason, the natural combination of steam shower and aromatherapy is well worth exploring.

How Does Steam Aromatherapy Work?

Aromatherapy can be incorporated into a steam shower in a number of ways. Some steam heads have an oil well where you can manually add drops of essential oil. That’s the way our EliteSteam Steam Shower Kits incorporate aromatherapy. It’s an extremely easy upgrade to your steam experience. You can buy our steam shower aromatherapy oils or use any other approved for the purpose.

Other models disperse the essential oils automatically from larger canisters, so there is no extra work for you. Steamist’s AromaSense is one such product, with “a precision pump system that stores two different, easily replaceable essential oil canisters, allowing you to make your ‘aroma steam’ selection without ever leaving your steam room.”

Choosing a Scent

There are countless individual scents to choose from, as well as combinations designed to address a specific issue, such as nasal congestion or lack of energy. Some essential oils that are popular for use in steam showers and their effects include:

  • Eucalyptus: antibacterial; treats congestion due to illness or allergies
  • Lavender: calming; relieves anxiety and depression; improves sleep
  • Lemon: antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory; boosts energy; improves concentration
  • Tea tree: treats skin conditions such as acne and fungus
  • Ylang-ylang: relieves muscle tension and insomnia

Pure essential oils are produced through the process of distillation, which separates out any water and results in a highly concentrated oil extract. For this reason, only a few drops of oil are needed to create a satisfying aromatherapy experience. In fact, Steamist’s AromaSense technology “pumps just ¼ drop of pure undiluted oil at a time, so each canister lasts for months.” For best results and a longer-lasting product, be sure to use undiluted essential oil in your steam shower.

Can I Add Aromatherapy to My Existing Steam Shower?

If you were unaware of or uninterested in aromatherapy when you installed your steam shower but are now looking to incorporate this feature, worry not. Most manufacturers have options that can be added after installation that are compatible with their existing controls and steam heads. On that off chance that your setup is not customizable in this way, there are other methods you can employ to incorporate aromatherapy. For example, simply applying a few drops of your chosen essential oil to the floor of your shower can work well. Just enjoy your shower as normal and notice the scent being diffused into the air in your shower enclosure.

All EliteSteam steam shower generator kits have a special divot in the steam head for placing aromatherapy oils. While not automated like with the Steamist Total Sense Generators this is still a great option and all the same Steamist oils can be used.

A Note on Safety

Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they can be irritating to the skin in their pure, undiluted form. Therefore, it’s important to avoid coming in direct contact with the oils, and especially to avoid rubbing your eyes if some oil should get on your hands while you’re applying it to your shower. Rest assured that the act of diffusing with steam dilutes the oil enough to make it safe to touch and inhale. When using essential oils topically, it’s important to mix them with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, to prevent irritation to the skin.