You may think that steam rooms are just unbearable hot rooms that are moist and sticky. You might also think that other than sitting with a bunch of old men, they don’t really serve a purpose, but that is not at all true. Steam rooms can do a whole lot for you, which is especially true if you are an avid exercise enthusiast. Steam rooms can help your heart, lungs, sinuses, muscles, and your mental health too. Here we have a list of the top 10 steam room benefits that you can take advantage of.
What Is A Steam Room?
A steam room is much like a sauna, and the two words often get used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, a steam room may not be quite as hot as a sauna, but it does have a lot more moisture involved. A sauna uses dry heat whereas a steam room uses moist heat. A sauna gets much hotter than a steam room, but not nearly as humid. Essentially we are talking about the benefits of sitting in a really hot and steamy room, usually with a temperature above 41 degrees Celsius and a humidity factor of at least 60 percent.
Benefit #1: The Relief Of Tension
A well-known fact is that heat can be of big assistance when it comes to relieving tension and pain. Heat is great because it stimulates blood supply, thus delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, nerves and bones, which ultimately facilitates the healing process.
Heat also causes you to sweat and therefore helps your body eliminate toxins through your pores, toxins which may be causing you pain and stiffness. The high heat environment that is a steam room can help to relieve pain from things like migraines, joint pain, and arthritis too.
Heat causes your muscles to relax, thus causing your joints to relax, and in the end, this goes a long way in relieving tension in your body. The heat in a steam room even helps to soothe damaged or painful nerve endings too.
Benefit #2: Stress Relief
Of course, pain and tension can cause your body stress, things which a steam room can help to eliminate. However, a steam room can also help to relieve mental stress very effectively. Our bodies are full of adrenaline, and a stressful lifestyle can end up causing both mental and physical health concerns. Being in a steam room reduces the body’s production of adrenaline because you are in a relaxed environment, thus also causing your brain to relax.
Another reason that a steam room helps to reduce mental stress is because the heat and moisture in the air cause your brain to create more endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that are released in order to feel good. In other words, the endorphins released by your brain are like a feel happy drug that will cause feelings of elation, happiness, and can relieve depression and anxiety as well, all without actually needing drugs.
Benefit #3: Weight Loss
Many people go into steam rooms after exercising because it’s relaxing, especially after pushing yourself to the limit, but that isn’t the only reason that you should combine regular exercise with a good steam. Losing weight is a goal that many people have and if you eat right, exercise, and go into a steam room too, your chances of being successful are much higher.
The simple fact of the matter is that 30 minutes in a steam room can help you burn as much as 500 calories. For many people, 500 calories mean losing several pounds after just a few steam room sessions. When you sweat in a steam room it is in part because your body is working very hard to keep cool. If your body is working hard to do something, it means that you are creating physical exertion, and thus you can lose weight. A steam room can help you sweat out excess water, salt, and other unwanted toxins in your body as well.
Since being in a steam room is almost like exercise for your body, it also helps to increase your metabolism. Of course, your metabolic rate refers to how fast your body can process calories and turn them into energy instead of storing those calories as body fat. A higher metabolism results in less of those calories being turned into love handles and muffin tops.
Benefit #4: Cleans Out Your Sinuses
The fourth thing that you might not know about being in a steam room is that it can help with congestion and breathing problems. The heat from the steam room opens up your nasal and bronchial passages as well as your throat and lungs.
This is great if you have breathing problems, especially chronic ones like asthma and bronchitis. When your passages are opened up the oxygen you aren’t getting due to breathing issues finally has a way to flow and get to your lungs.
If you suffer from something called sinusitis you might be interested to know the heat from the steam room also helps to clear out mucus from your passages. That is actually also why you can get some relief from your cold in a steam room. It really helps with those stuffy noses.
Benefit #5: Promotes Healthy Skin
One of the things that might really surprise you about steam rooms or sweat rooms is that they can really help the appearance of your skin. You might think that being sweaty will cause acne and other skin problems. Yet that is only the case when the sweat dries and leaves bacteria and dirt on you. That is one of the reasons as to why you are supposed to shower after being in a sweat room.
Being in a steam room can actually help clean your skin because when you sweat, your pores open as wide as they can go. All of your pores being open combined with the extreme perspiration due to the hot environment flushes out your pores.
All of those germs, bacteria, and other things that can cause acne or skin problems get flushed away from just 20 or 30 minutes in a really hot environment. It can even go so far as to help you eliminate toxins and infectious diseases that are on your skin and in your sweat. All of those things contribute to healthy skin and are all great reasons for taking a few steams per week.
Benefit #6: Getting An Immune Boost
You might be surprised by how susceptible our bodies are towards external factors like temperature, humidity, and other such things. Luckily not all of those outside factors affect us in a bad way, one of those being extreme heat and moisture, such as in a steam room.
White blood cells are the things that create antibodies to fight off disease and infection. In essence, they are the front line defenders of your immune system. The heat in a steam causes you to produce stronger white blood cells that have higher levels of lymphocyte, basophil, and neutrophil. You will also have higher levels of leukocyte and monocyte after the steam bath.
All of those things contribute to a stronger and healthier immune system that can fight off disease and infection much more easily. The next time you feel like the flu or a cold is coming on, you can try taking a few steams and it might just keep at bay.
Benefit #7: It Increases Heart Health
Heart disease for many is a way of life and dying from a heart-related issue is an event that happens all too often. However, recent studies have found that regular visits to the steam room actually increases your cardiovascular health.
The heat from a steam room can greatly reduce the chances of you suffering from heart conditions, by as much as 50 percent. The chances of suffering from heart attacks, arrhythmias, high cholesterol, and other such illnesses can be drastically reduced simply by sitting in a hot and steamy room a few times per week.
The reason a steam room can help increase heart health is because as your body temperature rises, your heart has to work slightly harder. It doesn’t work it too hard, but just enough to exercise it and thus make it stronger. Like we mentioned before, sitting in a steam room is a form of light cardio exercise.
Benefit #8: You Meet People
Humans are herd animals and those that are always alone don’t usually do so well. Having friends is important for mental health and simply put, they’re can be real fun to have. Well going to a steam room a few times per week is a great way to socialize, meet new people, and maybe even make some lifelong friends. Going to a steam room doesn’t only make you healthier, but it also increases your social interaction and happiness too.
Benefit #9: Assists With Muscle Growth And Repair
Yet another huge benefit that comes with using a steam room on a regular basis, especially after a workout, is because they help to aid in the muscle recovery and the growth process. Put in simple terms, steam rooms can heal your muscles and cause them to grow faster too. If you are into working out and lifting weights, taking a steam bath after every workout is a great complement to your usual routine.
There are actually two different reasons as to why muscle growth and repair is spurred on by the heat of a steam room. One of these reasons is that a steam room causes the body to release HGH or human growth hormone. Human growth hormone in the body causes the muscles to grow and repair at an increased rate.
The same can be said for heat shock proteins, another compound which is released when the body is exposed to high temperatures for a prolonged period of time. Both of these substances play their role in helping your muscles to heal quicker and grow bigger, something that is very important if you exercise regularly.
Benefit #10: Relaxing After Stress
While we are on the topic of muscle recovery, your muscles need time to rest and recuperate after a strenuous workout routine. Moreover, your muscles need to cool down adequately and they need to be stretched out after every exercise routine. Not letting them cool down properly and not stretching may cause severe injury.
Now being in a steam room is not cool per se, but it does count as a cooldown routine. Since being in a steam room involves working your heart at a slightly elevated level, it’s a great way to transition from a strenuous workout to a not so strenuous cooldown.
Furthermore, the heat in the steam room causes your muscles to relax, something that also helps in the recovery process. In other words, using a steam room after every workout can actually increase your athletic performance.
If you have never tried using a steam room before, you might just want to give it a shot. You will be surprised as to how good it can make you feel. Moreover, you will be surprised as to how much better your mind and body function from something as simple as sitting in a steam room for a few minutes per day.
Relaxed muscles, a sound mind, a better functioning heart, good lungs, and great circulation are just a few steam room benefits to be reaped from a steam bath, plus many more too. If you are really into working out or just want to keep your body and mind healthy, we would highly recommend taking a steam a few times per week.
If you have any questions or comments for us, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them!