One of the simplest ways you can enhance your wellness experience at home is with steam. You may have a steam room at your local gym or spa, but with the heightened interest in at-home wellness, it has become increasingly common for homeowners to install this water efficient, compact amenity into their own homes. Not only is steam bathing a relaxing, enjoyable, and invigorating experience, it offers dozens of benefits that range from physical to holistic wellness.
In this article, we will help you understand all the hype around steam by highlighting 10 wellness benefits of steam. Whether you’re interested in relaxation or improving your respiratory health and skin health, a steam routine can help, so you might want to consider it for your home’s next upgrade.
Before we get into the benefits of steam, you might be wondering exactly what a steam shower is. Put simply, a steam shower or steam bath is a fully enclosed space with a steam system installed. Of course, regular showers release steam as well, but not as effectively as a professional steam shower system. A steam system heats water until it vaporizes, resulting in steam that releases through the steam head into the enclosed space. It’s a simple idea—but doing it efficiently, reliably, and beautifully is an art and a science that Mr. Steam, one of our favorite PIRCH brands, has spent decades mastering.
Operating on the core belief that there is room for wellness in every home, Mr. Steam has been creating steam showers for over 100 years, bringing one of the oldest therapies in the world directly to your bathroom. Steam showers can fit into bathrooms large or small, as long as the space is fully insulated, sealed, and enclosed.
Now that we’ve explained what a steam shower is, let’s talk about the benefits of steam.
1) Respiratory Health
When seeking ways to soothe breathing discomfort, steam is often one overlooked solution. Spending time in a steam room has been found to help ease respiratory distress symptoms and other respiratory issues. The hot, humid air soothes inflammation, loosens mucous and phlegm, which leads to easier breathing.
Asthma sufferers, for example, have difficulty breathing due to swollen airways. Steam, which is an expectorant, can help open your airways, temporarily relieve inflammation, and prevent your mucus membranes from being too dry. Whether you have asthma, short-term airway inflammation, or simply want to improve your breathing, steam is a natural, wellness-inducing therapy.
2) Promotes Healthy Skin
There are several different ways that steam therapy can benefit skin health and promote a natural, healthy glow. First, steam opens your pores and helps loosen any buildup of dirt, resulting in a much deeper cleanse.
In addition, a regular steaming routine can help eliminate toxins from the skin. Our skin is constantly under attack from pollutants, allergens, and toxins circulating in the air, from artificial and natural sources. There are even irritants indoors that can clog pores and damage tissue. The heat and moisture from steam can assist in removing toxins and flushing impurities that are damaging to the skin.
Steam can also help hydrate the skin by increasing oil production, which naturally moisturizes the face. Steam also increases the skin’s permeability, enabling it to better absorb skin care products. This means you can reap the benefits from your skin care serums and moisturizers more efficiently.
3) Helps relieve stress
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body, but luckily stress reduction is another benefit of steam therapy. Not only does steam heat relax you, but it also has beneficial effects on stress hormones like cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone.
The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This can put you at risk for several health problems including digestive problems, anxiety, depression, muscle tension, headaches and more.
Pressures of modern life—traffic, overwork, demands of technology—can increase cortisol levels, so a regular steam routine is a perfect way to relax at the end of a day. When the cortisol level drops, people can feel more in control, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
4) Encourages relaxation
The hustle and bustle, the busyness, and the increasing demands of our daily lives can drain our energy and diminish our peace of mind. For the sake of our mental health, it’s important to make time for relaxation after a stressful or active day. The heat from steam rooms can decrease your body’s production of cortisol, lowering your blood pressure, and helping you feel more relaxed.
5) May help promote deep, restful sleep
Have you ever tried to go to sleep with too much on your mind? Because of the relaxation benefits of steam that we mentioned earlier, steam therapy can help ease your mind before bedtime, promoting more deep and restful sleep.
Steam bathing can also help lengthen the amount of time you spend in one of the most important phases of sleep, the REM cycle. As you sleep, your body transitions through different sleep cycles. One of the most important stages of sleep, which comprises about 25% of your total sleep, is the REM cycle, also known as Rapid Eye Movement. REM sleep in particular plays an important role in dreaming, memory, balancing mood, emotional processing, and healthy brain development. Adequate REM sleep can help you become more energized. A steam shower before bedtime may help promote deeper sleep, lengthening your REM cycle throughout the night, and resulting in a more refreshed start to the day.
6) Helps aid detoxification
Every day, we encounter countless toxins. Toxins are in the air we breathe, the products we clean with, the food we eat, even in the medicine we take. Absorbing these toxins can result in any number of negative health outcomes, from fatigue to illness. The safest option is to try to avoid toxins whenever possible, but when they are unavoidable, we can do our best to remove them through natural health practices.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. While the lungs, liver, and kidneys do most of the work through the excretory system, toxins are also removed from the skin via small holes called pores. The combination of heat and moisture produced in a steam shower opens the pores, releasing perspiration, or sweat. Sweat is mostly made up of water, but it also contains salts and metabolic waste products, like urea and lactic acid. The main function of sweating is to regulate body temperature; however, eradicating toxins is an important health bonus.
7) Improves Circulation
Steam therapy may significantly improve your cardiovascular health. As we learned in elementary school science class, heat dilates and cold contracts. Therefore, the thermic effect of steam therapy will cause your capillaries to dilate. As a result, you will have more efficient blood circulation throughout your body. Why is blood circulation important? Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all your organs. So, improved blood flow can help you feel revitalized and refreshed. It can also help minimize the risk of heart disease, regulate blood pressure, improve oxygenation, and more.
8) Aids in Muscle Recovery
During a high intensity workout, your body works relentlessly to maintain the amount of energy required to keep you moving. Luckily, steam has been shown to lend a supportive hand to your muscles during the process.
One way steam bathing can help with muscle recovery is through the removal of lactic acid. Lactic acid is the accumulation of toxins in the muscles that result from overwork, which can cause your muscles to feel sore and fatigued. The removal of lactic acid from steam can soothe aching muscles, leading to a faster post-workout recovery.
Dilating your blood vessels allows more blood, nutrients, and oxygen to be delivered to any injured sites. As we mentioned before, the moist heat from steam can help increase blood flow and circulation, which can subsequently help loosen up your joints, alleviate stiffness, reduce pain, and aid in muscle recovery after a workout.
9) May boost Metabolism
Steam may help improve metabolic function because of its thermic effect. The more you sweat, the more water weight you will lose. In addition to losing water weight through sweat, steam may help increase your metabolic rate, sometimes as much as 20%. The higher our metabolic rate, the more calories we burn.
10) May Help Boost Aerobic Performance
There are many ways that athletes and active individuals can benefit from steam, many of which we have already mentioned.
To review, steam can help improve lung function and respiratory health. It can aid in muscle recovery, pain relief, and can help improve circulation. It can also help increase your metabolism.
In addition, a study found that “thermo-tolerance” from intermittent heat treatments helped decrease overall core body temperature, which subsequently helps increase endurance for athletes.
Steam therapy may also be able to help increase the production of growth hormone (GH), which has been shown to expand muscle size and promote better strength. One study found that intermittent heat helped increase the body’s production of the GH hormone by 16-fold.
As you can see, there are numerous health and wellness benefits from steam. There are so many individuals who can benefit from incorporating steam into their daily lifestyle, from everyday exercisers to folks with respiratory issues, to people who suffer from chronic stress. Thankfully, brands like Mr. Steam make installing this luxurious bathroom amenity easy, allowing you to experience the benefits of steam conveniently within your own home.
Click here to learn more about Mr. Steam. Want to learn more about how to install steam in your home? Visit a PIRCH showroom near you and speak with one of our knowledgeable sales consultants.