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Health Benefits of Steam Bathing

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Sara Schaub

The positive physical and mental effects of steam bathing have been known throughout history, but today we’ll take a closer look at some of the incredible physical benefits that are possible.

Taking advantage of bathing with steam has tremendous benefits for the skin.  Just the very act of sweating opens up the pores, allowing dead skin cells and grime to be washed away. This also helps to prevent acne because pores aren’t blocked, causing the formation of bacteria. Additionally, steam acts as a non-chemical exfoliant by removing the top layer of dead skin, leaving behind a smooth, healthy surface that feels great. And because steam bathing improves blood circulation, the skin takes on a healthy, rosy glow.

Proper blood circulation is essential, and steam bathing is a great way to enhance it. When your body is exposed to higher temperatures, it attempts to cool down by ramping up sweat production. The heart must then work harder, pumping more blood through vessels at an increased rate, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Good circulation also positively affects the lymphatic system, helping to carry waste materials away from cells in the body. However, it should be noted that if you have high blood pressure or any other health condition, it’s important to consult your doctor before steam bathing.

Bathing with steam strengthens the immune system through the body’s reaction to heat. The elevated internal body temperature produces an artificial fever. This doesn’t mean it is induced by sickness, but the body has the same response by stimulating the immune system. This causes an increase in the production of white blood cells and their release into the bloodstream. Consequently, the generation of antibodies is increased, and the growth of bacteria and viruses is slowed.

Spending time in a steam bath can provide several types of pain relief. Heat is very effective in combating muscle spasms, stiffness, and rigidity in joints. Because of the increased circulation, the expansion of blood vessels enables more oxygen and nutrients to reach damaged areas. As a result, spending a few minutes in a steam bath after exercising will help you not only soothe sore muscles, but repair any strained tissues.

Another great benefit of steam bathing is the wonderful effect it has on the respiratory system. Steam raises the moisture level in the lungs, nose, and throat which can be very soothing. Steam bathing also allows a greater amount of steam to be inhaled as opposed to using just a vaporizer. This is an excellent way to remove allergens and mucus from the airways. While steam bathing can greatly alleviate the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, or even the common cold, it is not however, a cure for respiratory disease. But the relief steam brings keeps many people coming back for more.

Finally, taking a steam bath before bed can promote deep, restful sleep, enabling you to recharge your batteries, and prepare you to meet the new day head on. With so many physical benefits, there’s just no reason not to make the regular use of steam bathing an important part of any health regimen!

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