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| Home Organize Your Wellness The Organized Exerciser What Are The benefits of a Steam Room and/or Sauna?
ExerciseWhat Are The benefits of a Steam Room and/or Sauna?
Could your body use improved joint mobility, relieved sinus pressure, opening of pores, better blood flow - or just some relaxation and fitful sleep ? Then a steam room or sauna may be for you.
It seems like the amenity list at almost any fitness facility or spa includes a steam room and sauna. Why? Are there actually benefits to spending time sitting in either? This article will shed light on the pros and cons of using a steam room and a sauna so that you can make a decision on whether or not to spend your relaxation time there.
Saunas were created by the Finnish in the 8th century and for the same reasons they are used today but have come a long way in their evolution. Once a hole dug in the ground, they are now wood lined rooms with benches to sit on and include temperature regulation. A sauna is a dry, hot environment. The heat in a sauna comes from hot stones placed in the sauna and can be regulated by pouring water over the stones or by a thermostat controlled oven. The heat in the sauna is more intense than the heat in a steam room because of the controlled humidity level. The human body can withstand and benefit from temperatures between 80C (176F) and 100C (212F) if there is no or low humidity where in a steam room, your skin would be scalded by a temperature over 40C (104F).
Steam rooms have also been around for thousands of years. At the core of the steam room experience is water. Steam rooms vary from small, tiled closet-like spaces to large almost warehouse looking areas where you can get a massage or experience different types of steam.
There are some precautions to consider before entering any heat treatment such as a steam room or sauna. If you are pregnant, have had alcohol, have a history of heart or respiratory disease, or if you have a fever, you may want to pass on these treatments. In addition, there are some rules to follow. Make sure that you are well hydrated before you enter and watch the clock; 15 minutes should be your maximum time in either.
Heat treatments or thermotherapy, are what steam rooms and saunas really are. They benefit the mind, body and spirit. Aside from taking time to pamper yourself and let go of the many distractions of the day, steam rooms and saunas provide very real benefits such as:
Some research suggests that spending 10 to 20 minutes in the heated environment burns as many calories as running two to three miles and that the increase in metabolism is equivalent to a fast walk. I believe the steam room and sauna are beneficial however should not be considered a replacement for exercise.
So, which, if any, is best? That is completely up to you.
Clearly, there are many benefits and reasons to indulge yourself in a heat treatment or two but don’t overdo it. Watch the time, heed the precautions and as with anything new, consult your physician if you are not sure of what to do.
By Christina Leon, Staff writer