You've probably seen a steam room at a gym or a spa before, but what is a steam room good for? It turns out, there are many health benefits to spending time in a steam room!
What's The Difference Between Steam Rooms and Saunas?
While steam rooms and saunas are similar, the primary difference between them is that a steam room is an enclosed space heated with steam, resulting in a moist heat. A sauna, on the other hand, uses dry heat - usually from hot rocks or a stove. Saunas are also typically kept much hotter than steam rooms, at about 180 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to a steam room's average temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
While a sauna requires specific equipment, you can create a makeshift steam room in your bathroom by closing the door, running a hot shower, and letting the steam fill up the room! You can also use a shower mist in your homemade steam room for additional therapeutic benefits.
What's Better, A Sauna or A Steam Room?
Both saunas and steam rooms claim to have health benefits. While saunas can help relax sore muscles, the humidity of a steam room provides additional benefits for your body.
Health Benefits of a Steam Room
- Clear congestion. Steam rooms create an environment that loosens mucus and phlegm and encourages deep breathing - especially when paired with eucalyptus oil, an essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy to reduce congestion and support respiratory health. This can be beneficial for the common cold or even cases of bronchitis.
- Improve skin health. The humid conditions of a steam room are ideal for opening up pores and rinsing away dirt and dead skin that can clog pores and cause breakouts. As a result, you may notice you have clearer and more even-toned skin.
- Lower blood pressure. Sitting in a steam room causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow to the skin's surface. This raises your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure.
- Improve circulation. Just as blood flow increases can help lower blood pressure, it also helps with circulation. The heat from a steam room changes the circulation in your skin by enlarging blood vessels and moving blood towards the skin's surface.
- Loosen stiff joints. Using a steam room as part of your warm-up before working out can help you achieve maximum mobility and reduce injury.
- Workout recovery. Moist heat can penetrate deep into muscle tissues and help relieve the muscle soreness you experience post-workout.
- Reduce stress. Being in the steam room can decrease your body's production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When your cortisol levels drop, you feel more relaxed - helping you heal your mind and your body.
Does a Steam Room Detox Your Body?
While steam rooms are often touted as a way to "detox" the body, there is no medically reviewed or scientific evidence to prove this. However, they are a great way to clear your pores and reduce any congestion you may have, which can leave you feeling renewed!
Do Steam Rooms Help You Lose Weight?
Steam rooms are not a recommended tool for weight loss. Any weight you lose in a steam room is water weight, which will quickly be replaced by drinking water to avoid dehydration.
Know Before You Go: Risks of Steam Room Use
- Stay hydrated - drink extra water and avoid dehydrating drinks like coffee or alcohol before using a steam room
- Talk to your doctor before using a steam room if you have heart problems or a history of a stroke
- Do not use a steam room if you are pregnant, immune-compromised, or recovering from surgery
- Don't use a public steam room if you're sick, as bacteria may spread and get others sick
How Long Should You Sit In a Steam Room?
To avoid dehydration, don't exceed 20 minutes in a steam room at a time. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or have trouble breathing in a steam room, leave immediately!
How Often Should You Use A Steam Room?
While it's best to use a steam room regularly (as in, several times a week), if you are new to using a steam room you'll want to start with once a week and add on from there.
Ready To Try A Steam Room?
Whether you’re going to start visiting your gym’s steam room more regularly or going to DIY a steam shower at home, using a steam room regularly has a number of health benefits. If you are going to steam shower at home, make sure you check out our collection of ShowerSpa Mists for added aromatherapy benefits!