These days, could you imagine a house not equipped with a bathroom? Taking a shower has become an integral part of our personal hygiene. Therefore, going to the bathhouse would seem to be completely optional. However, you might be surprised now, but no home water procedures can be compared to the benefits of a bath or sauna. For many centuries the bathhouses were considered not only a place for bathing but also an excellent way to rejuvenate and relax. People knew that going to the bathhouse gives people energy, clears their minds and souls. In this article, we will discuss what are the benefit of steam baths, different types of steam baths, and whether or not they can be harmful.
Steam baths types
There are a great many types of baths – Russian bath, Finnish sauna, Turkish hammam, Roman baths, Japanese furo, salt and infrared baths.
This variety allows you to choose an option based on your health condition and aesthetic preferences. One of the main differences between Russian baths and saunas is the humidity of the hot air.
In Russian baths, the air temperature is relatively low – 104-158 degrees Fahrenheit, and the relative humidity reaches 90-100%.
Such air humidity is as close as possible to natural conditions. Therefore, baths have a less shock effect on the body than saunas.
In Finnish saunas, the opposite is true: the temperature here reaches 194-230 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air humidity ranges from 10-25%. Due to the low humidity, this temperature is very easily tolerated, and evaporation of moisture from the skin serves as protection against overheating.
Benefits of steam bath
The great popularity and centuries-old tradition speak of the real health benefits of the bath. In what way, in fact, it is useful for the human body?
The usefulness of Procedures: Skin
High temperatures in the steam room contribute to the maximum opening of pores, removal of toxins, and improved regeneration. In the steam room, the skin turns red, receives a rush of blood and nutrients. Bath procedures have a therapeutic effect on urticaria, eczema, psoriasis, and dead fingers syndrome – they perfectly cleanse, restore and rejuvenate the skin.
That’s why they say that bath makes us youthful. Moreover, if during the steam bathing you include procedures such as massages with the use of phito-organic cosmetics, all the positive effects can be greatly increased. You may try rubbing the problem areas with salt or honey where cellulite is present – this will increase perspiration in those areas.
The Positive Effects: Heart
In hot conditions, the capillaries expand, and there is a rush of blood to the muscles, including the heart. The heart begins to contract more often which in turn accelerates the blood flow. All this helps eliminate vessels congestion, improves the work of the left atrium, left ventricle, and facilitates the movement of blood through the arteries.
Doctors advise a bathhouse even for hypertensive patients in the early stages of the disease with the proper precautions, of course. In Finland, some diseases that are associated with blood pressure are treated through bath procedures.
Benefits of Steam: Lungs
There are many healing effects of bath procedures for the respiratory system. Such diseases as chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic cough, wheezing in the lungs are only some of the diseases that can be treated.
A healthy steam room microclimate can also be an excellent preventive measure. Bath procedures make it is easier to breathe, increase the general tone of the body and always give you a great mood.
Benefits of steam baths: Musculoskeletal System
Bath procedures have a positive effect on our joint – they help restore tired muscles, cure injuries, and increase histamine levels caused by rheumatism. The bath is also recommended at all stages of gout.
Positive Effects on the Nervous System
Steam baths relieve nervous tension and excitement, enhance the regulation of the nervous system and help relieve stress. Bath procedures also have a favourable impact on cerebral palsy, children’s enuresis, neuroses, and sleep disorders.
Steam Baths: Proper and Effective Ways of Making Procedures
There are several rules that you should take into consideration before entering the steam room. First is that you should not forget to remove all the makeup from your face. The skin pores should open easily and makeup can prevent this process. Take a shower, then dry off, and don’t forget to remove the necklace and earrings which can burn your skin when heated. Also, it is better to sit on the bottom shelf to gradually adapt to the heat.
If you are not used to taking steam baths on a regular basis, beware extreme heat and the duration of steaming. For beginners, suitable temperature is 122-140° F. At a temperature of 194–212° F, the humidity in the sauna should be no more than 25% so that high temperatures can be more easily tolerated.
In any case, it is not recommended to sit in the steam room for a long time for newcomers. If you get a feeling of a pleasant warmth – that’s enough, you can go out and rest for a while. Wrap yourself in a soft towel, relax, and apply a cleanser or exfoliator to your skin, if you like.
More About Skin Cleansing…
You can now find plenty of variations of scrubs for face and body. The main difference between face and body scrubs is the grinding particles – which are smaller and larger respectively. When applying the scrub on your face, pay special attention to the most rapidly contaminated areas – ala of the nose, forehead, and chin.
Leave the scrub on the skin for a few minutes, then massage it lightly to help remove dead cells. It is good to clean oily skin once a week, dry – once every two weeks. Elbows, knees, and feet can be “scrubbed” more often due to rougher skin in those areas.
Other than scrubs there is a cosmetic clay that has excellent exfoliating and cleansing properties. Never use exfoliating products on the thin, delicate skin around your eyes.
Did you know that you can try beforehand cleansing? Knees, elbows, and feet can be softened with lemon juice before you start your steam bath procedures. You can also try such natural exfoliators as honey, coffee grounds, and corn grits – they have a very much similar effect as expensive creams.
Honey perfectly cleanses and softens the skin. Make sure your pores are open by the time you grease your face, neck and décolleté areas with honey (so, it should better be done during the second steam bath session). After steaming, wash off honey with cool water. (For those who are allergic to honey, it is better to choose other remedies).
You can apply coffee grounds on cellulite areas – this improves blood circulation and perfectly rejuvenates the skin.
After that, apply a mask of oatmeal soaked in sour milk – this type of mask perfectly softens the skin.
When you are finished cleansing your skin, be sure to apply a moisturizer to your face and body.
Do another visit to the steam room (surely optional), and then it’s time to pamper yourself with a massage. You can choose a professional do this, or do a self-massage with a special long-handled brush or massage mitt. Either way, make sure massage is done from the bottom up starting from the ankles, gradually go up, making vigorous circular movements. As a result, you should feel relaxed and skin should turn slightly red.
There are a few precautions though: if you have phlebeurysm (varicose veins), don’t massage your legs, it can be quite dangerous.
After several visits to the steam room and exfoliation procedures, now it’s time to swim in the pool or take a shower – warm or cool, as you like.
Many people consider sauna a real lifesaver when you need to lose weight quickly. Indeed, extra pounds “go away” along with sweat. Usually, about 2 litres of water is excreted from the body during sauna procedures. Two hours in the bath – and three kilograms are gone, the bath fans say.
And yet, there is no need to force events too much. Along with sweat, not only harmful substances are excreted from the body, but also mineral salts which are necessary for normal metabolism.
Long time spending in steam baths, especially at overwhelming temperature, may cause severe fatigue instead of a pleasant languor. Such overloads are not good for the heart and blood vessels. It is much more effective to go into the steam room often rather than spending long hours there at once. Thus, the bath procedure will become much easier to tolerate, but the effect will be the same.
If your goal is to lose weight, it is better to make a half-an-hour visit to sauna or steam baths twice a week than once a month and spend two hours there at once.
Also, don’t dive into a cool pool or get under a cold shower after steam procedures because your body will cool down and you will stop sweating.
Two groups of people participated. The first group agreed to sit in a steam room for 14 minutes in a row. Another group came to take a steam bath 3 times for 3 minutes. Weight loss in both cases turned out to be the same, but the first group said they felt worse and more fatigued.
You do not need to force yourself to do particular procedures in the bath. You should enjoy your time in the steam baths. If you don’t want to dive into a cold pool after steaming – then you shouldn’t, let your body to make the right choice.
If you feel like you need to measure the temperature of your body but there is no thermometer nearby, use your own ears:). If the tips get hot, then it’s enough steaming!
Harms of the Steam Baths
Steam rooms can be prohibited in the following cases:
– children under 3 years old
– pregnant women and nursing mothers
– people suffering from various diseases, such as acute heart failure, epilepsy, tumours, respiratory tract diseases
– in the presence of suppuration
Also, the bath is strictly prohibited for elderly people with heart disease, hypertension, arrhythmia, infectious and oncological diseases, diabetes, ocular hypotension and glaucoma, chronic kidney pathologies, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, severe neuro-vegetative disorders, or migraine.
The conclusion is simple. The bath is pleasant and useful, and if you have health problems, it is better to consult a doctor first.
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