If there is anything I just can’t get enough of it’s steam. I simply love the feeling of lying down in a steam room and feeling the sweat run all over my body. I therefore don’t think it is surprising that steam has been used for many centuries for several medical and beauty purposes. Steam room – or steam baths as it is also called, dates back to both the Romans and ancient Greece, the Turks were also known for taking advantage of the many benefits of steam.
Like saunas, steam rooms are meant to induce sweating, which results in, among other things, pain relief, better blood circulation and pore cleansing. Some use steam rooms to cure various physical ailments, while others go for emotional and mental well-being.
When a Roman emperor was asked by a visitor why he was steam bathing once a day he replied; “Because I don’t have time to do it twice a day.”
A steam room should have 100% humidity and a temperature between 40 – 45 °C, the degrees should not be much higher than this, as this can result in burns. A water-filled generator pumps steam into the room. Ceramic tiles, often in the form of mosaics and gorgeous decors, has since centuries back been used in the steam room.
An ocean of health benefits
If the sensation of well-being alone is not reason enough to start indulging, then it might help to understand that the use of steam can produce many positive effects on the body and mind, as well as helping to relieve and prevent a variety of diseases.
- Stress relief and better sleep
Stress can lead to nervousness, muscle tension, high blood pressure, headaches and vascular problems. For most of us, stress is a big part of life, and often a problem to get rid of. Steam rooms can help relieve stress and calm nerves. If you have sleep problems you can also use steam before bedtime, but preferably two hours before going to sleep and not a stay longer than 20 minutes. The heat relieves tight muscles resulting in your body relaxing and making it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep.
- Better breathing and a healthier immune system
Inhalation of steam improves the airways and is very useful for those suffering from asthma, allergy, sinusitis or bronchitis. If you have a cold on time then the steam will also relieve sore throat and dissolve in the mucous membranes. Hot steam induces a state of hypothermia in the body when the body reaches 38oC in the steam bath, it has an artificial fever, bacteria and other toxins in your body cannot survive these temperatures. The heat from the steam also opens up about 2.6 million sweat glands that lie beneath the skin, allowing you to flush out about 30 percent of bodily waste through sweat. Regardless of whether it is artificial or natural, fever will encourage the body to produce more white blood cells, which is the most important part of your immune system.
- Improves blood circulation
Several studies show that steam can improve blood circulation by expanding the small blood vessels, thus facilitating blood flow and transporting oxygen more efficiently. Steam also has efficacy in reducing blood pressure and contribute to better cardiovascular health.
- Pain relief
For those who struggle with, for example, arthritis, the steam room may turn out to be your best friend, as the humid heat in the room is a natural painkiller. By reducing the build-up of lactic acid, steam helps reduce friction in the joints, making it easier for the body to move.
- Cleanses the skin
Steam purifies the pores, removes waste and prevents acne formation. Here you also remove dead skin cells and impurities that lie on the skin surface.
- Healthy hair and clean scalp
The steam also opens up and cleanse the pores of the scalp, resulting in enhanced hair growth, more controlled sebum production and better hair elasticity.
Important to think about when steaming
To ensure that the body does not become dehydrated it’s alpha omega to drink plenty of water before, during and after bathing. After a session of about 15 to 20 minutes you should go out of the room and take a cold shower to lower your body temperature and let your body get to go back to a normal state, this can be repeated up to 3 times. If you become nauseous, dizzy or generally unwell, you should leave the steam room immediately.