Enjoying steam therapy is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Steam therapy is not a new concept. Ancient Egyptians knew the benefits of inhalation therapy and built public baths. Even today, experts recommend steam therapy to treat many health problems, especially those related to the respiratory system.
Two Ways to Use Steam Therapy
Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, can be enjoyed in a steam shower or using a bowl filled with hot water. No matter which method you prefer, steam inhalation aids in introducing warm, moist air into the lungs through the nose and throat for therapeutic benefits.
Traditional Method Using a Bowl of Hot Water
A bowl of steaming hot water is the traditional steam therapy method. This type of steam therapy is beneficial for facial cleansing and respiratory problems.
- Boil a few cups of water, then pour the steaming water into a large bowl.
- Put the bowl on a firm, flat surface.
- Hold a towel over your head like a tent to help trap the steam.
- Lean over the bowl and inhale the steam.
For added benefit, you can add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice.
Turn Your Bathroom into a Steam Room
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a steam shower is to buy a steam shower kit that comes ready for installation. But if you do not want to spend extra money, you can still turn your bathroom into a steam room. It is easy to do, just follow these tips:
- Use a small heater for 10 to 15 minutes to warm up your bathroom before turning on the water. Remove the heater from the bathroom before turning on the shower.
- If you have a humidifier, use it to steam up your bathroom easily.
- Seal up gaps around the window and door frame to prevent the steam from escaping.
- Keep a bathrobe, towels, and essential oil handy. Also, keep drinking water in a bottle nearby.
- Pour a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a small bowl of boiling water, and place it somewhere near the shower.
- Turn your shower to the hottest temperature but make sure not to get in the shower or you will burn your skin.
- Find a comfortable seat in the bathroom and place a towel to sit on it. Allow the steam to penetrate your skin and open up your pores.
- Enjoy the steam bath for 10 to 15 minutes and keep drinking water from time to time.
- Once done, take a cool shower to bring your body temperature back to normal. Pat dry your body thoroughly and apply a good moisturizer to further hydrate and nourish your skin.
Caution: If the temperature becomes excessively high, immediately turn off the hot water and drink some water.
Amazing Benefits of Steam Therapy
1. Eases Breathing
Steam inhalation involves the introduction of warm and moist air into the lungs through the nose and throat, which in turn helps open up your sinuses to make breathing a bit easier.
The warm moisture will also thin the mucus to make it easier to expel. This, in turn, provides relief from nasal congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing.
Steam inhalation also helps lubricate an irritated respiratory tract, so that you do not feel nasal irritation.
2. Treats Headaches
A severe headache, especially if caused by a sinus problem, can be treated easily with steam therapy.
Steam inhalation helps release the pressure building up in your sinuses that prevents the proper secretion of mucus. It also calms your mucous membranes and helps clear the congestion in your nose. This, in turn, helps reduce a headache.
Also, steam inhalation adds moisture to the nasal passages, which helps thin the mucus and reduce any blockage. This again helps to alleviate the throbbing pain you may be experiencing due to sinus trouble.
3. Reduces Stress
When you are under stress, enjoying a steamy bath can significantly calm your mind and body.
The warm heat from the steam bath helps the body release endorphins, a feel-good chemical that helps a lot in reducing the effects of stress. Also, endorphins help you enjoy sound sleep.
On top of that, the warmth of the steam increases your blood circulation to relax your muscles.
Plus, the heat from the steam room opens up your airways, which improves your breathing. Good breathing aids in relaxing your mind and body.
4. Expels Toxins
A buildup of toxins and impurities in the body can affect your immunity and give rise to different health problems. However, by enjoying a steam bath from time to time, you can get rid of the toxins and waste products that have accumulated in your body due to stress, bad eating habits, poor digestion, and other external factors.
This happens as hot steam induces sweating, which helps flush toxins out of the body. In fact, sitting in a steam room for about 15 minutes can rid the body of the day’s sweat and waste products.
Also, steam induces a state of hypothermia in the body, in which viruses, bacteria, and other toxins cannot survive.
5. Relieves Muscle Stiffness and Pain
Steam therapy can also help your tired muscles recover after exercise. This is why professional athletes go straight to the steam shower or sauna after a workout.
Metabolic waste builds up in your muscles during exercise, which makes the muscles feel sore. The warmth of the steam bath helps your body get rid of this metabolic waste, which in turn helps reduce muscle stiffness and pain.
A steam bath also dilates blood vessels, improves circulation, and increases blood flow to the muscles. This allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach the areas in the body where they are needed to aid recovery.
6. Benefits Skin and Hair Health
As little as 15 minutes of steam per week can help you enjoy beautiful and flawless skin.
Steam opens up your pores and induces perspiration to get rid of dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt that build up in the skin’s pores. Ultimately, this reduces your risk of suffering from acne, blackheads, and other skin blemishes.
Plus, the moist heat stimulates blood circulation to the skin’s surface, which means more oxygen and nutrients reach your skin to keep it healthy and glowing.
Not just skin, steam therapy also promotes healthy hair and scalp by increasing blood flow to the scalp, improving hair elasticity, and controlling sebum production.
- You can buy steam vaporizers that produce a steady flow of warm, humidified air to help ease cold symptoms.
- While inhaling steam from a bowl, avoid leaning too close to the bowl and causing it to spill.
- The temperature of the steam room should not exceed 114° Fahrenheit.
- Do not stay in a steam room for more than 15 minutes and make sure to drink plenty of water. Prolonged exposure to steam may cause dehydration, heart palpitations, faintness, nausea, and overheating.
- While in the steam room, if you start feeling overheated, light-headed or sleepy, exit the steam room immediately. Drink some water and allow your body to cool down.
- As the warm, moist air of a steam room makes it an ideal breeding ground for fungi and bacteria, take necessary steps to keep your bathroom clean.
- Avoid using overcrowded public steam rooms, as germs can easily be spread by a large number of bathers.
- Steam inhalation is not recommended for young children as well as pregnant women and people who have high blood pressure.
- Pregnant women, as well as elderly and small children, should not go to steam rooms.
- People who have high blood pressure, heart disease, heart palpitations, diabetes or other health problems should consult their doctor before using a steam room for the first time.
- Do not use steam therapy after alcohol consumption or a heavy meal.