Steam therapy has been used throughout history for its many health benefits and is still commonly used today for the very same reasons by people from all over the world.
The most common modern way to go about using steam therapy is to make use of a steam room. Steam rooms are enclosed rooms that are heated and pumped full of steam using water-filled generators to create as much humidity as possible.
Steam rooms and saunas differ owing to the fact that saunas are much hotter than steam rooms and make use of dry heat instead of steam. Steam rooms are generally between 40 and 50 degrees celsius and saunas between 65 and 90 degrees celsius.
Steam rooms generally offer more in the way of health benefits, which will be discussed below.
Moist heat and steam can significantly improve circulation, which is good for your health, as this can lower your blood pressure.
Moist heat therapy provided by a steam room improves your circulation by dilating your body’s small blood vessels. When your blood vessels are dilated, blood can flow more efficiently around the body, and therefore oxygen is transported more efficiently to your extremities.
Steam rooms are also known to cause some people’s bodies to produce aldosterone, which is the hormone in charge of regulating your blood pressure.
This lowering of your blood pressure can not only improve your heart health but also make you feel more relaxed as a whole.
IMPROVES OVERALL SKIN HEALTH
Using a steam room is known to help improve problem skin and the health of your skin overall. A steam room can help open up your pores and, in turn, soften the oil and dirt inside them.
Sweating profusely in a steam room then allows your pores to pass this oil and dirt, which can help in the removal of blackheads and blocked pores.
A steam room session can also sometimes prevent your skin from breaking out if the reason for your breakouts is clogged or congested pores, as steam treatment is normally only effective for the top layer of your skin.
Improved skin blood flow can also help heal broken skin tissue after a breakout has already occurred.
CLEARS NASAL CONGESTION
Steam therapy is well-known for being able to clear nasal congestion. Many people opt to take hot showers when they have blocked sinuses, as moist heat is known to open up your body’s mucous membranes.
A steam room has an even greater effect than a hot shower owing to heat and moisture being more abundant. A sauna or steam room uses hot rocks with water sprinkled on top to produce heat and a lot of steam for this purpose.
A steam room will also help loosen any phlegm that has built up in your nasal passage, which will allow you to breathe more easily.
A steam room should not be used if you have a high fever in combination with blocked sinuses, as the extreme heat could cause other complications.
IMPROVES POST WORKOUT RECOVERY
Many people experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS the day after a workout, which can dissuade them from exercising again the next day.
Thankfully, using a steam room right after a workout is known to significantly decrease the pain and muscle soreness normally associated with the day after working out.
The heat from a steam room can help loosen up your muscle tissue and significantly reduce the possibility of you getting DOMS, and this can help you get back into the gym sooner.
One of the most well-known steam room benefits is the reduction of stress. Spending time in a steam room can often decrease the level of cortisol in your body, which is a hormone that is released by your body in response to stressful stimuli.
A reduction in cortisol can often leave people feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated, which is good for both mental and physical health.
Steam therapy is also known to cause your body to release endorphins, which are often referred to as “feel-good” hormones that can also reduce stress.
IMPROVES STIFF JOINTS
While steam room treatment has workout recovery benefits, using a steam room before your workout could help as well.
Applying moist or dry heat to a stiff joint can increase its flexibility and movement significantly, which can make your workout far easier on your body.
Having looser joints before a workout can also reduce your risk of injury by a large margin, so injury-prone athletes should consider including a steam room session in their warm-ups.
STRENGTHENS AND BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
Warm water and heat are generally known to stimulate your leukocytes, which are cells in your body used to fight infections, bacteria, and viruses.
It is not recommended for people to make use of steam rooms if they have a case of the common cold or the flu; however, using steam rooms regularly over time can improve the chances of you not becoming ill as frequently in the future.
CAN HELP BURN CALORIES
Steam rooms can increase your heart rate, and this generally burns calories. Using a steam room will only cause your body to lose water weight normally, so it does not cause your body to burn any fat, and you will likely put this weight back on once you have rehydrated.
However, using a steam room after a workout can prolong your increased heart rate, and this can allow your body to burn more calories than you normally would after a workout.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF STEAM ROOMS
While steam rooms and the use of steam therapy can be very good for your health, using them incorrectly can cause a host of issues.
If you are planning on using a steam room, you should make sure that you are well hydrated, and you should also ensure to spend no longer than 15 to 20 minutes inside, as this could cause you to become dehydrated.
Dehydration can then cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, urinary and kidney problems, or even seizures. You should avoid using a steam room if you are pregnant, have heart disease, have high blood pressure or low blood pressure, have epilepsy or are prone to seizures, or if you are on antibiotics or drugs and alcohol.
Using a steam room is a great way to improve your health in a plethora of different ways, as steam room therapy can improve your circulation, improve the health of your skin, and clear any nasal congestion you might have.
It has also been shown to improve your recovery after a workout, reduce the effects and feeling of stress, help with stiff joints, strengthen and boost your immune system, and help you burn calories.
However, it is likely in your best interests to consult with a doctor before making use of a steam room, as using a steam room incorrectly or using a steam room when you have underlying health conditions could pose serious health risks that could cause you harm.