A modern-day steam room is heated by piping in steam from a generator filled with boiling water. As a result of the heat coming from wet steam, a steam room is kept at much cooler temperatures than a sauna; generally about 45℃
Sitting in a steam room could significantly improve your cardiovascular health. A study of older individuals showed that moist heat improved circulation, especially in extremities. Improved circulation can lead to lowered blood pressure and a healthier heart. It can also promote healing of broken skin tissue.
Research shows that in a steam room, some people’s bodies release hormones that change their heart rate. One of these hormones, called aldosterone, regulates your blood pressure. When aldosterone is released from sitting in the steam room, it can help lower high blood pressure. This is part of the reason that the steam room makes you feel relaxed.
Being in the steam room can also decrease your body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that regulates the level of stress that you feel. When your cortisol levels drop, you feel more in control and relaxed. Spending a few minutes in a relaxed state not only improves your health, but also helps heal your mind and improve your focus.
Steam rooms create an environment that warms the mucous membrane and encourages deep breathing. As a result, using one can help break up congestion inside your sinuses and lungs.
Steam therapy used for treating colds and sinus infections at home is controversial because of the potential to scald yourself if you do it incorrectly. But steam rooms are relatively safe in comparison, as long as you don’t stay inside too long.
Through environmental exposure, all sorts of toxins can become trapped underneath your skin. Steam rooms help solve that problem by using heat to open up your pores. The warm condensation rinses away the dirt and dead skin that can lead to breakouts. As a result, you may have clearer and more even-toned skin.
The pain you feel after working out is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Professional athletes have known for decades that heat therapy can help them recover from training workouts. Heat can penetrate deep into muscle tissue and help relieve DOMS. A recent study showed that moist heat works as effectively and also more quickly than dry heat in muscle recovery.
Warming up before a workout is critical in avoiding injury. Using a steam room as part of your warm-up could help you reach maximum mobility during activities such as running, Pilates, and yoga. One study investigated the effects. Heat was applied to the knee joint before activity, and as a result, the joint was far more flexible and relaxed. The results showed that heat can help reduce injury before a workout. It was also found that women especially benefitted from heat therapy on the knee joint to prevent injury.
When you’re in the steam room or sauna, your heart rate increases. If you use a steam room after an aerobic workout, your heart rate is already elevated, and the steam room can prolong that elevation. When used correctly, experts note that saunas and steam rooms stimulate your body in ways that typical exercise does not.
Sweating it out in the steam room isn’t a tool to lose weight quickly. Any weight you lose in the steam room is water weight, and you’ll need to replace it by drinking water to avoid dehydration. But using steam rooms regularly as a way to burn more calories at the gym could help your diet and exercise routine be more effective.
Different forms of hydrotherapy are known to boost immunity, and steam rooms are no exception. Exposing your body to warm water stimulates leukocytes, which are cells that fight infection. Sitting in a steam room when you’re fighting off a cold shouldn’t be your first line of defense, though, as there’s no proof that the steam can kill a brewing infection. But using steam rooms regularly will give your bloodstream an immunity boost that could lead to you getting sick less often.