How Hot Is a Steam Room?
When it comes to heat therapy, many people are familiar with hot tubs and saunas. They may not be as familiar with steam rooms. As opposed to bathing in the hot water of a hot tub or sitting in the dry heat of a sauna, a steam room’s heat is generated by boiling water and pumping the resulting steam into a sealed room. This creates a wet heat where the relative humidity can climb as high as 100%. Humans are typically able to withstand higher temperatures when the relative humidity is lower. Therefore, you’ll usually encounter lower temperatures in the very humid steam room and higher temperatures in the much drier sauna. So, how hot is a steam room? Most steam rooms operate from 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit whereas saunas often have temperatures reaching more than 150 degrees. To learn about the health benefits of the wet heat of a steam room, read on.
Spending time in a steam room causes the internal body temperature to rise. This leads to an increase in heart rate, improved flow of the blood, dilation of the capillaries and blood vessels and an eventual decrease in blood pressure. This improved circulation can help bring more blood to the extremities, help strengthen the heart and promote skin tissue repair processes.
Steam rooms can help reduce stress in several ways. The increased circulation and resulting drop in blood pressure reduces stress on the heart and other passageways for the blood. Time spent in the warmth of the steam room has also been found to limit the production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Reduced cortisol levels allow the body to relax, calm down and loosen up. The ambience of the steam room is also conducive to reduced stress levels. It’s possible to slow down the mental processes and remove oneself from the factors that cause stress. If meditation works for you, a steam room is a good place to practice it.
The humid heat of the steam room can stimulate the production of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that increase feelings of pleasure while muting feelings of pain. Steam room heat has been found to play a particular role in reducing joint pain due to injury, chronic disease or surgery. It improves the flexibility and mobility of affected joints. It has also been found that moist heat is more quickly able to reach deeper tissues faster than dry heat resulting in faster relief of pain.
Boosted Immune System
Regular exposure to moist heat has been found to temporarily increase the activity of leukocytes, also known as white blood cells. Leukocytes play a central role in the immune system functioning by helping rid the body of disease, foreign materials and microbes. Regular use of the steam room can lead to greater leukocyte efficacy.
Sweating caused by steam room use can help bring toxins to the surface of the skin and wash them away. The heat helps skin pores open up and release trapped dirt and oils. Improved blood flow through tiny blood vessels and capillaries near the skin’s surface also promotes tissue repair and the flow of nutrients.
Heat and humidity work well together to hydrate mucous membranes and break up congestion in the nose, throat and lungs. The steam can help those suffering from colds, allergies, asthma and other conditions that restrict the ability to breathe.
To save on the positive health benefits of using a steam room, download this month’s promotions!