The world is slowly getting back to its feet. And with that, spas are getting back to business. Of course, it would mean that saunas and steam rooms are also back! I know what you are thinking, isn’t sauna and steam room the same? No, they are not! The big difference is in the type of heat that they provide. A sauna uses dry heat, usually from hot rocks or a closed stove. Steam rooms are heated by a generator filled with boiling water. The key to the steam room's unique health benefits is the humidity. Since we will be discussing about steam baths or steam rooms, below are the benefits of it and how you should take care of yourself after taking a steam bath.
Benefits of Steam Bath:
- Improve blood circulation. Sitting in a steam room has been shown to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, particularly in older people. Blood can then flow more easily and transport oxygen around the body. Steam room therapy has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and keep the heart healthier, as well as help to repair broken skin tissue caused by wounds, such as ulcers.
- Reduce stress. Being in the heat of a steam room can make the body release endorphins, which are known as ‘feel good’ hormones because they help to reduce the feeling of stress in the body. A steam room can also decrease the level of cortisol, which is the hormone released in response to stress. When the cortisol level drops, people can feel more in control, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
- Burn calories. When a person is inside a steam room their heart rate increases. If they use a steam room after exercise, then their elevated heart rate can be prolonged. Experts have found that when used alongside a healthy exercise program, the heat generated by the steam room and the sweating it causes can stimulate the body and increase wellness. It is worth noting that there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that using a steam room aids weight loss. This is because the weight lost after using a steam room is merely water weight and must be replaced by drinking water afterward to avoid dehydration. However, alongside a healthy diet and exercise plan, the use of a steam room can help burn calories.
What to do after a steam bath:
- Drink at least 8 ounces of water. While you want to drink water before your steam session, you’ll want to rehydrate after a steam bath, as well. Also, it’s best to refrain from eating at least an hour before entering a steam room. Just make sure you’re not dehydrated before and after your steam bath by drinking plenty of liquids.
- Take a shower or bath. Many people wonder, can I take a bath after a steam shower? The answer is yes. Part of the cooldown should include a shower or bath to further cleanse your skin after the soothing steam has penetrated your epidermis and loosened impurities. A bath may continue the warm relaxation session and a traditional shower will wash away any surface toxins your body has released during the sweating process.
- Use moisturizers. After you dry off from your post-steam shower, apply organic moisturizers to further rejuvenate your skin. This helps enhance the effects of steam’s natural cleansing process and ensures that toxins are removed from the top layer of your epidermis. This is especially beneficial for women who wear makeup. Steam therapy can help restore your skin’s vitality after hours of damage caused by stress and makeup. You may also want to exfoliate to remove dry skin cells after a steam bath. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you’re met in the bathroom mirror by clear, glowing skin as you prepare for the day.
- It may be a good idea to stretch while your muscles have been conditioned by the heat. If you use steam therapy as part of your post workout routine, then gentle stretching is a good way to help condition your body’s soft tissue during the recovery process after exercise.