Steam rooms have various health benefits. They improve circulation, ease muscular aches, support workout recovery, and help you relax. However, there are some potential risks to be aware of before you step into a steam room.
A steam room is like a tropical paradise without sandy beaches and palm trees. It’s a cozy enclosed space, housing a steam generator that releases water vapor into the air and creates a hot, humid, and oh-so-invigorating atmosphere. Think temperatures of around 100–110°F with high humidity.
Continue reading to find out the many health benefits of steam rooms, and let’s turn those tense muscles into happy, melted noodles.
Stepping into a steam room isn’t just about embracing the delicious warmth and humidity — it’s also an opportunity to unlock a treasure trove of advantages for your mind, body, and soul, including:
The heat and steam from a steam room can help dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and circulation throughout the body. Although there isn’t much research in this field, a small study from 2012 of older adults showed that moist heat boosted circulation, particularly in the lower legs.
Thermal therapy can reduce systemic inflammation, a chronic condition linked to stroke, cancer, heart problems, diabetes, and obesity. One study noted that frequent saunas reduced a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body. Steam rooms may have similar effects.
Promotes heart health
A 2021 study found that steam baths may improve heart function in healthy folks by reducing blood pressure. The participants took 10–15 minute steam sessions weekly for 12 weeks and noted reductions in heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Sitting in a steam room is pure relaxation. A research review suggested that saunas could reduce stress levels for peeps in high-stress occupations, like first responders or the military. In the study, folks took one to two saunas weekly and had short-term blood pressure and arterial stiffness improvements. So the warmth and humid environment may help ease tension and send stress packing.
Loosens stiff joints
The heat helps limber stiff joints and ease sore muscles, particularly if you have arthritis. Warming the joints enlarges blood vessels, allowing more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to flow into the injured tissue, and promotes relaxation. So, a steam room could help you warm up before a workout and prepare your joints for optimal movement.
Support workout recovery
Ask an athlete how they help their body recover from intense workouts, and they’ll likely include heat therapy. DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is the pain you feel after physical activity. And guess what? Heat can help. An older 2013 study noted that moist heat, as you’d find in a steam room, is as effective as dry heat and works more quickly.
Steam can improve circulation and promote a healthy glow by hydrating and rejuvenating your skin, potentially reducing the appearance of blemishes and enhancing your complexion. The steam room also opens up your pores and promotes sweating, allowing your body to flush out toxins and impurities.
Step into a steam room, and you’ll be transported to a haven where time slows down and self-care takes center stage. As you embrace the steam, you’ll find your mind and body relaxing, revitalizing, and recharging, feeling refreshed and renewed. And if it’s your thing, steam rooms provide a unique opportunity for socializing with fellow wellness enthusiasts.
Ah, the battle of the heated chambers! Saunas and steam rooms, while both offering warmth and relaxation, have some key differences.
Saunas provide dry heat typically maintained at 160–200 degrees Fahrenheit. Saunas are usually wood-paneled chambers with a stove that heats rocks that radiate heat into the enclosed space. You can throw a lade of water onto the rocks if you fancy a little steam.
In contrast, steam rooms have lower temperatures, usually between 100–120 degrees Fahrenheit, and are all about that moist goodness. They create a damp environment with elevated humidity levels. It’s like comparing a desert to a tropical rainforest.
The choice between saunas and steam rooms often comes down to personal preference. Some peeps enjoy the dry heat of saunas, finding it invigorating and therapeutic. Others prefer the humid embrace of steam rooms, finding it gentler on the respiratory system and more relaxing. It’s all about finding what suits you best!
Is a steam room your secret weapon in shedding those extra pounds? The short answer? No, a steam room is not a magical fat-burning machine — cue dramatic music. Sorry to burst your bubble, but simply sitting in a steam room won’t make those love handles disappear faster than a smooth magician’s trick.
Here’s the deal: When you’re in a steam room, your body temperature rises, and you sweat profusely. Yes, you’ll lose some water weight through sweating, but let’s get one thing straight — it’s temporary. That weight will return as soon as you hydrate and replenish your body.
But you don’t need to write off the steam room completely. While it may not directly lead to fat loss, it can complement a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine by aiding workout recovery and providing a soothing experience.
Although steam rooms can be beneficial, you should also be aware of potential risks. So don’t overdo it; if you’re a newbie, be extra cautious.
It’s no surprise that it’s hot there, so you must watch for dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water before you enter the misty chamber, take water in with you, and don’t spend longer than 10 minutes inside.
Also, while steam rooms offer a heated escape from the outside world, they create the perfect playground for some unwelcome guests — bacteria and other germs. Those pesky little troublemakers thrive in warm and humid conditions like nobody’s business.
Take, for instance, the infamous athlete’s foot and fungal entourage. They can’t resist the steam room’s cozy environment; before you know it, they’re throwing a full-blown party on your unsuspecting feet. Not exactly the kind of company you’d want to keep, right?
But fear not. Arm yourself with a trusty pair of flip-flops or shower shoes as your armor, and you’re safe from potential fungal invasions.
Because of the extreme heat in steam rooms, they’re not the best idea for certain peeps. So, if this is you, get the all-clear from your doctor before getting steamy:
- pregnant people
- peeps with heart disease
- anyone with low or high blood pressure
- folks with epilepsy
- immune-compromised people
- anyone taking antibiotics
- peeps who’ve recently had surgery
Furthermore, if you have testicles and want to keep your swimmers active and vital, it’s best to avoid saunas and steam rooms!
The heat and humidity of steam rooms offer various health benefits for joints, muscles, circulation, and skin.
Although they’re safe for most peeps, if you’ve certain medical conditions or are pregnant, it’s best to check with your doctor before a steamy sesh. Oh, and wear flip-flops to keep you safe from potential foot fungus!
And lastly, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. Drink that water and stay refreshed because a well-hydrated steam session is critical to unlocking optimal results.