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Steam rooms, like saunas, are heated rooms that produce certain health benefits for people who use them. Saunas typically provide only dry heat in a wood-paneled room filled with rocks that emit the warmth. People sometimes pour water over the rocks to cause a steamy effect in the room. Steam rooms provide only moist heat. A generator pumps steam into the room at regular intervals. According to Alice! Health Promotion at Columbia University, both are beneficial for your health.
People have been using steam rooms since perhaps the Stone Age, although there is no documentation regarding where or when they originated. Many people credit Finland with inventing the sauna. But others disagree. The Russians had a similar type of heated room, and Turkish baths have their place in ancient history, too. The Aztecs had a sweat bath called a temazcal, and the ancient Romans used a steam bath called a caldarium. What is common to the various steam rooms is they all had a purpose, from social to medicinal.
Steam rooms cause sweating, which is beneficial because sweating opens pores, removes salts from the body and cleanses the skin. Before you bathe in a modern Turkish bath, for example, you must sweat in a heat room first. Many people believe that sweating also removes toxins from the body, but according to Columbia Health, that is untrue. Another misconception is that steam rooms help with weight loss; scientific evidence does not show a correlation.
Sitting in a steam room or sauna is relaxing. Your blood vessels dilate, causing your blood pressure and pulse to lower. This can help people with post-myocardial infarction, hypertension and congestive heart failure, according to Walter J. Crinnion, a naturopath, writing for the вЂњAlternative Medicine Review.вЂќ Cecil Adams, who has a column that runs in many newspapers called вЂњThe Straight Dope,вЂќ said saunas and steam baths вЂњleave you, however briefly, with a sense of radiant well-being, a circumstance to be cherished in this melancholy age.вЂќ
To Relieve Congestion
Breathing in steam helps you breathe better. Besides helping with congestion, people with asthma or chronic bronchitis get temporary relief after using a steam room. People should not go in the steam room during the acute phase of respiratory distress. Going in a sauna regularly, which is twice weekly, can reduce the chances of getting a cold by half, according to Crinnion.
To Help Arthritis
Saunas and steam rooms can help the pain that comes from arthritis and rheumatic disease. The steam and heat can also help joint mobility. Crinnion reported in the вЂњAlternative Medicine ReviewвЂќ that more people who were hospitalized for chronic pain could return to work after regular sauna therapy than those who did not use the sauna; 77 percent of the sauna group returned to work compared with 50 percent of the nonsauna group.