Personal Fitness & Health: Steam Room Benefits

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Steam room benefits?

If the thought of warming up sounds appealing in the winter when you anticipate sitting by a roaring campfire or in your recliner at home. Athletes include a warmup routine before any workout to avoid injuring muscles, and anyone who works outdoors knows that physical effort warms the body. Instead of bracing for the elements to help you warm up, you can visit a steam room or buy a steam shower to get even better results.

Warming Up to Steam Room Benefits

A visit to a steam room can provide the warmth that relaxes your muscles, and it may give you some relief from certain types of medical conditions as well. Most spas and gyms offer saunas and steam rooms that produce similar effects, and your decision to use either depends on your preference for wet or dry heat.


Humidity can reach 100 percent in a glass-enclosed, moist heat room with temperatures that range from 110°F to 114°F. Generator pumps convert water into steam to create the dense levels of humidity that may help you achieve health and relaxation goals. In a wood panel-enclosed room, a wood or electric stove heats rocks to temperatures that may range between 160°F and 200°F as they radiate the air. A dry heat room or sauna has almost no moisture in the air unless you put water on the hot rocks, and it can produce as little as 5 percent or no more than 30 percent humidity to give you the effect that you prefer.

Understanding the Reasons for Choosing Moist Heat

The warmth and moisture in an enclosed room produce steam room benefits in an atmosphere that can create relief and relaxation. It can lessen anxiety when you experience stress, prevent and relieve muscle soreness, reduce joint pain, accelerate circulation, and improve the health of your skin.

Coping with and Preventing Stiff Joints

The discomfort of stiff joints can affect the young and old alike, and moist heat can provide welcome relief. Your joints receive the brunt of carrying your weight, and their reaction to injury, strain or sprain, overuse or aging can make them stiff and uncomfortable. The heat and humidity provide steam room benefits that ease the discomfort, and a visit before a strenuous workout can help prevent problems. Conditions that can contribute to joint stiffness include muscle spasms, arthritis, and inactivity, and loosening them enhances flexibility for a workout in the gym, yoga or running.

Steam helps sore joints

The atmosphere in a high-humidity room that maintains higher levels of heat than you experience elsewhere helps your muscles relax and achieve a more excellent range of motion with less force, according to research.

While you get relief from pain or joint discomfort and prepare for working out, remember to wear sandals and take a clean towel to sit on to prevent contact with bacteria that may exist in the warm and humid rooms.

Reducing Stress

A steam room inclines you to relax in the warm, moist heat, and your body reacts by releasing hormones that enhance your feeling of well-being. A complementary effect occurs when it reduces the release of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to stress. The symptoms of stress that may seem all too familiar to you include headaches, muscle tension, anxiety, and concerns about cardiovascular issues. You may find relief with steam room benefits.


The heat in the room and your body’s sweat encourage the release of endorphins, a hormone that has a reputation of making you feel good. Feeling happy or sensing elation provides the benefit of letting your body relax in a small room where you can escape some of the pressures that you face daily.

Increasing Circulation

Among the steam room benefits that you receive, your blood pressure may go down when you relax in a warm environment. Studies show that it can enhance your cardiovascular health by improving your circulation. When your blood flows smoothly through relaxed vessels, the reduced pressure lets your heart work efficiently. As the capillaries dilate, your blood meets less resistance as it courses throughout your body. You may see an improvement in healing broken skin on your extremities as the supply of blood produces a remarkable effect. However, if you have very high or low readings on your blood pressure, you may need to check with your doctor first.

Promoting Healthy Skin

The impurities in the environment expose your skin to toxins that may create health issues, but intense warmth and humidity can clear them away. The sweat that your body produces opens the pores and provides deep cleaning that enhances the health of your skin. You may notice its healthy glow when you leave the room.


Dry skin conditions can receive significant steam room benefits in an enclosed environment that saturates and hydrates your skin more thoroughly than topical creams on the surface. Oily skin that may lead to acne or other issues can receive benefits from the steam cleaning process that helps clear and unclog pores. In addition to removing impurities, the experience provides a thoroughly enjoyable interlude away from the pressures of the day.

Recovering from Workouts

Fitness experts recommend intervals of time between workouts so that muscle tissue can repair and increase in size. Athletes have long known that heat therapy provides the best approach to recovery from training workouts. The heat in a steam room goes deeply into your muscle tissue to give you the relief that it needs.

Steam helps your muscle recover after a workout

Without the gentle treatment of your muscles after strenuous exercise, you may experience a delayed onset of muscle soreness that can make you regret working out. The moisture in warm air produces more significant benefits than dry heat as it drenches your skin and rehabilitates sore muscles.

Clearing Sinus Blockages

Steam rooms can ease breathing problems by opening the body’s mucous membranes. By breaking up sinus congestion and clearing the lungs, the warm, moist environment can make breathing easier. Research shows that steam can relieve some upper respiratory problems by loosening the phlegm and mucus that block airway passages.

Burning Calories

You may welcome a pleasing way to burn calories while it may or may not contribute to weight loss when you enter an environment that contains much higher levels of heat and humidity than you usually experience, your heart rate increases. By using steam rooms after your workouts, you can extend the time that your body receives stimulation that increases overall wellness.

Considering the Similarities and Differences Between a Steam Room and a Sauna

Steam rooms and saunas both make you sweat profusely as your body releases toxins and salts through your pores. You may increase your metabolism through regular visits to either chamber, and you gain relief from muscle tension that contributes to relaxation and a feeling of well-being.

Steam room v. Sauna

While a sauna resembles a steam room in some significant ways, the differences between the two rooms require consideration when you decide which one to use.

Both provide benefits to health through increased circulation and the potential for lowering blood pressure except for anyone who has an extraordinarily high or low reading.


A notable difference between steam and dry heat rooms occurs in the construction of a glass or tile enclosure instead of a wooden one. The interior of a sauna consists of wood walls, floor, ceiling and benches that do not receive exposure to humidity. Tile or glass surfaces in a steam room do not absorb moisture, but help maintain almost 100 percent humidity in the air. While the temperatures in a sauna reach higher levels, the moisture in a steam room makes it seem hotter.


The amount of heat in the rooms creates a significant difference in preferences with saunas reaching as much as 200°F as opposed to 114°F with steam. Most people who use saunas stay for 10 to 20 minutes before taking a cold shower or a plunge into icy waters. About 10 or 15 minutes in a warm, steam environment gives you the benefits that you seek before you take a lukewarm shower. You can stay for less if you feel a quickening pulse or dehydration.

Health Benefits

Steam moisturizes the skin and makes it supple while dry heat deprives it of moisture. Wet heat can thin the mucus in the membranes that line your throat, sinuses, and lungs. Anyone who has frequent sinus infections or chronic chest congestion can get more relief in a warm and damp environment than in a dry one. People living with asthma may benefit from dry heat, but high humidity can aggravate the condition. Moist heat tends to provide more effective relief of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Considering the Risks of Warm, Moist Heat

Steam rooms are not for everyone. Learning the risks before jumping into one.

Steam room warning

Experiencing a change in your environment that increases your exposure to heat significantly requires careful consideration. The health advantages that you get can improve the quality of your life, but the path to them exposes you to some risks that you can manage by responding appropriately.


Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

In high heat and humid environments, your heart works harder to produce a supply of blood to cool your skin. Anyone who has cardiac issues needs to check with a physician to make sure of safe outcomes.


Excessive perspiration can lead to the loss of fluids that your body needs to function correctly. You may not notice it in the humidity of the room, but it can cause dehydration unless you drink plenty of water before and after a session.


Experts recommend cooler temperatures for sperm than the rest of the body requires, and high heat can temporarily produce a lower sperm count.


The warm and humid atmosphere in an enclosed room provides a fertile environment for infections such as athlete’s foot or other fungal conditions. Sandals can keep bare feet off the floor and a towel to sit on can help prevent contact with bacteria.

Mind-altering Drugs

Anyone who uses stimulants, alcohol, or tranquilizers may experience increased effects on the cardiovascular system. A danger exists in not noticing the passage of time or the possibility of passing out.


The demands on a woman’s heart during pregnancy lead some medical experts to recommend avoiding exposure to moist heat. As the body cools the skin by increasing the blood supply, a fetus continues to place priority demands.

Special Conditions

Intense heat and humidity can affect obese people and make the regulation of the body’s core temperature difficult. Anyone who has obesity or epilepsy may need to check with a physician first.

Steam Room Benefits — Summary

There you have it, everything you ever wanted to know about steam room benefits.