What better way to recover the day after hot yoga than relaxing in a steam room? If you read our recent post about DOMS you will be pleased to know that steam rooms are a perfect way to allow those muscles to recover and repair. The steam works more quickly than the dry heat of a sauna would.
For anyone suffering from stiff joints, the warmth helps to make the synovial fluid in the joints more pliable and less viscous and so will help improve the range of movement and flexibility.
It is often claimed that a short steam room session, no longer than 15 minutes, can help reduce blood pressure. Others attest to their reduced stress levels after they have enjoyed a relaxation session in the lovely moist, hot steam room environment.
These effects may be a result of the improvements to the circulation of blood around the body especially to the extremities, or could be the result of a hormone called aldosterone that is released which plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. As cortisol levels reduce, stressful feelings reduce with them, helping you feel calm and relaxed.
The steam opens your airways and helps you to breath deeply. Together with the improvements to your circulation, a rich supply of oxygenated blood flowing round your body helps to rejuvenate and repair as it goes.
Many of those who love steam rooms mention that one of the first benefits you’ll notice are to your skin. Steam rooms open up the pores and allow any toxins trapped underneath to be released and cleansed away, which means that adding a steam session regularly to your lifestyle should mean you’ll soon have clearer skin.
Unfortunately steam rooms are not a magic weight loss strategy and although after a steam session you might be a few pounds lighter, this is weight lost through dehydration. As soon as you replace the lost fluids, your weight will return to pre-steam room levels. It’s really important to replace fluid and wise to take water in with you to sip as you steam.
Steam rooms don’t suit everyone and there are potential downsides. Staying in the steam room too long can cause dehydration. The rooms can create a climate for germs and bacteria so make sure you use a sauna that is thoroughly cleaned and in good condition to reduce this risk. If you have underlying health concerns or have recently had surgery, get the all clear from your doctor before you go. Steam rooms are not recommended for pregnant ladies.
Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet, embarking on an exercise programme or visiting a steam room.