Steam rooms are rooms with an ambient temperature of around 114 degrees. Steam rooms provide moist heat from a water-filled generator pumping steam into the enclosed room with 100% humidity. Individuals will visit a steam room for about 10 – 20 minutes at a time to enjoy relaxing and healing benefits. Cultures from around the world have used this healing therapy, from Native American sweat lodges to Finnish steam houses. The heat in a steam room stimulates the immune system and increases blood circulation at the surface of the skin, which can help the body release toxins stored in the skin and muscle tissue. The heat stimulates the body to sweat, which releases these toxins out of the body. The wet steam also helps stimulate respiratory detoxification as well. Not only does a steam room help with detoxification, it relaxes the muscles. This can help reduce stress and release endorphins that act as mood enhancers as well as raise your metabolism, alleviate pain due to sports injury, prevent injuries and ease the symptoms of a cold. It also gives the skin a beautiful glow and improves the complexion.
Being a member of Lifetime Fitness is great. After every workout, I end my session with 15 minutes in the steam room followed by a cool shower. This leaves me refreshed, relaxed and with a glow. Just remember to bring and wear flip flops while walking around the gym floors and place an extra towel beneath where you sit to avoid microbes. The pitfall of steam rooms is that they are the perfect ground for bacterial growth.
Spa World in Centreville, Virginia, is also a wonderful place to spend many hours. The neck showers in the bade pool are perfect for stimulating the lymphatic system, as well as alternating the hot bath with ice bath. I usually start with 1 min in the hot tub and alternate 30 seconds in the cold tub for a total of 5 reps. Always end in cold. Afterwards, I explore the 7 different poultice rooms- the amethyst gem room, the red clay room, the ice room, the oakwood charcoal room, the red clay ball room, the blue onyx room, and the salt room. Spa World is heaven.
Despite these numerous benefits, there are some precautions that must be discussed with your Naturopathic Doctor. For example, anyone with cardiac, kidney or respiratory issues must consult their doctor, and steam rooms are not to be used when pregnant. It is important to drink plenty of mineral-rich water to help replenish what the body is sweating out. Never stay in a steam room longer than 30 minutes. Try to let your body rest and recover from the heat before doing anything taxing like exercise. And before using an electric or infrared sauna, talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about the possible exposure to EMF. Your doctor can create a custom plan so that you get the most out of using a steam room according to your individual health needs.
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