It’s that time of year when everything dries up. From your lips, to your skin and your nose, the drier air effects your body’s natural hydration and can leave you feeling uncomfortable. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that can help ease the dry conditions of winter, and it’s something that’s been used for centuries. It’s time to experience the health benefits of steam rooms.
While you may think of steam therapy as only a good way to relax at the gym, sitting around in your towel sweating with a bunch of strangers, the practice of inhaling and immersing yourself in steam actually has many benefits.
The Benefits of Steam Rooms
For your skin, steam allows your pores to open and expel toxins. Similar to what happens during an intense workout, steam triggers the body to cool down using perspiration. However, unlike exercise, when you are in a steam room, the sweat doesn’t evaporate and your pores remain opened to the soothing, warm, moist air.
For your airways, steam has numerous benefits. Firstly, the steam acts to provide moisture, soothing dry and potentially cracked mucous membranes like your nose and lips. It makes it easier and more comfortable to breathe if you are suffering from allergies or a cold as well. By lubricating the inside of the sinuses and your respiratory tract, the steam acts like an expectorant, loosening phlegm and making it easier for you to clear congestion.
If you get hit with a winter cold or even just some nasal or chest congestion, steam can offer immediate and completely natural relief. Because steam helps you get rid of congestion and eases breathing, it can also relieve headaches and help the body rid itself of the toxins within the congestion-causing mucous.
Finally, like a fever, the steam can increase your body temperature, triggering the immune system to fight infection. When you have a fever, your body is using the high temperature to fight illness. With steam, you are creating the same conditions and working to aid your immune system by creating a feverish condition. In this way, the illness-combating white blood cells will go to work defending your body from attack by bacteria and viruses that seek to lay you out.
Steam has been used for centuries—in ancient Egyptian baths and the sweat lodges of indigenous Americans, just to name a few. And as we know, as advocates of natural medicine, those time-tested solutions for health are often some of the best.
Before you use a steam room, however, there is one important issue to take note of. Unfortunately, the nations water supply is contaminated with chlorine, fluoride, drugs, birth control, lead, arsenic, and many other harmful substances. Since steam rooms use tap water, everything in the tap water will also be absorbed into the skin. The above benefits may be experienced, but it’s always important to know about what you’re getting into so you can make your own well-informed personal choice.