A great place to unwind and detox, steam rooms offer a huge variety of unexpected health benefits to people of all ages. The two key factors in these quick-treatment facilities are heat and humidity, which rapidly counteract many of the negative aspects of modern lifestyles.
There are many factors that build up toxins in our systems: poor diet and weak digestion; stress and anxiety; insomnia and sedentary lifestyles; medications and mood modifiers. But a single quarter-hour steam room session can help the body eliminate up to a third of these toxins and waste materials through perspiration.
Built from nonporous material (like tiles) steam rooms are airtight, keeping all that warmth and moisture in one smallish room, normally with tiered seating (where higher means hotter). Usually designed for 95% to 100% humidity, their temperatures normally range from 100°F to 120°F.
However, they may feel hotter, because of the high humidity and thick, almost muggy air. Many offer herbal essences that step up the enjoyment (and effectiveness!) of these sessions, particularly sinus-cleansing eucalyptus.
Surrounded by heated water vapor, each steam session helps the body eliminate build-ups of toxins and natural wastes by opening up over two and a half million sweat glands all over the body. This moist heat also offers a host of other advantages.
Here are some of the benefits of spending time in a steam room:
· Better circulation, especially in the extremities, which in turn promotes healing, lowers blood pressure, and enhances heart health;
· Clears congestion, by warming and relaxing mucous membranes, encouraging deeper breathing by clearing clogged sinuses and lungs;
· Cleanses the skin, as the heat opens up the pores and the damp air condenses into droplets that sweep away toxins, dirt, and dead cells that can trigger breakouts;
· Detoxes the system by opening the pores and releasing waste materials through the skin, swept away by streams of perspiration;
· Boosts immunity by stimulating infection-fighting leukocyte ell production, carried all over the body more quickly by better circulation;
· Loosens stiff joints (especially knees), helping avoid injury by warming up in a steam room before going for a run, taking a tough yoga class or signing up for a Pilates session;
· Faster post-exercise recovery, as moist heat penetrates deep into muscle tissue, relieving delayed onset muscle soreness and ensuring youre on form for more exciting adventures tomorrow.
Like other shared public facilities (gyms, changerooms etc.) steam rooms are not sterile, despite being cleaned regularly and thoroughly. So always practice good steam room hygiene by:
· staying hydrated;
· wearing flip-flops;
· sitting on a towel; and
· rinsing off with a lukewarm shower after your session.
Fifteen minutes in the steam room at the end of a long day of open-air adventures or a tough workout can shorten fatigue recovery times. As sore muscles ease, your body gears up for another active day tomorrow.
Recommendation: If you have a fever, or if you’re pregnant (or trying), recovering from surgery, or immune-compromised, avoid steam rooms and saunas until approved by your doctor.