3 Reasons Why Breathing Steam May Be Good for Your Lungs
Steam therapy has a relaxing effect on the respiratory system. The hot, humid air soothes inflammation and leads to easier breathing.
With asthma, for example, sufferers have swollen airways that make breathing more difficult, and the extra effort further irritates the airway and lungs. Luckily, steam is an expectorant that can open up 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.
Benefits of Breathing Steam
Aside from the luxurious relaxation a steam shower can provide, there are notable health benefits that anyone can access. Steam generators promote general wellness by providing heat and moisture that soothes the respiratory system and provides relief from dry, irritating air.
There are three significant reasons why breathing steam brings wellness benefits:
1. Steam may reduce inflammation
Consider the condition of your lungs before steam therapy.
Short-term infections, asthma, and bronchitis can cause inflammation throughout the airway and lungs. Coughing, harsh breathing, and dry airways cause friction and irritation, leading to inflammation as your body struggles to cope. That inflammation swells the tissue, causing even more irritation and inflammation in an uncomfortable cycle.
Steam therapy interrupts that cycle by providing warm, moist air that many people find easier to breathe.
Just like a warm compress can relieve an overworked muscle and reduce joint inflammation, steamy air can be a natural treatment for inflamed airways. The warmth can help calm the muscles and tissue along your airway, allowing for relaxation and easier breathing. Because steam is an expectorant, it encourages the airway to secrete sputum and healthy mucous. This provides lubrication, soothing the urge to cough and reducing friction in your respiratory system.
This soothing effect can give your lungs and airway a break from coughing, difficult breathing, and dryness.
2. Steam may improve circulation
Steam treatments can do more than soothe your airway directly. Steamy heat is a whole-body treatment that may improve blood circulation.
When you step into the hot air provided by a steam generator, your body reacts to the heat by dilating your blood vessels. This may improve circulation in two key ways:
- When blood vessels dilate, your body can more easily remove carbon dioxide by transporting it to your lungs and expelling it from your body.
- As your blood vessels enlarge, your blood pressure will temporarily go down, and your heart will receive a signal to pump faster. This improves your circulation. Oxygen will travel more easily from your lungs to your blood vessels.
While the change in circulation may only be temporary, the regenerative effects of improved circulation and soothing relaxation may last much longer.
Adding routine steaming treatments to your lifestyle may lead to even more positive health effects due to regular exposure to steam and more frequent intervals of improved circulation.
3. Steam promotes relaxation
Ultimately, the beneficial effects of steam therapy aid deep relaxation.
Some of the core aspects of relaxation you may experience as soon as you walk into a steamy room include:
- Muscle relaxation: The pleasant heat encourages your muscles to relax and lose their tension. Whether you’ve had a long day of work, a strenuous workout, or weeks of growing muscle pain and discomfort, the heat will penetrate deep into your muscles. Steam may also relax your airway and your diaphragm for easier breathing.
- Reduction of cortisol production: Cortisol, the stress hormone, tightens your muscles, increases your anxiety, and can wreak mild to severe havoc on your body systems. Steam therapy, however, may reduce your body’s production of cortisol during the treatment period.
- “Feel good” hormone production: Steam treatments don’t just encourage relaxation by removing negative stimuli like cortisol. Exposure to steam may directly promote the production of endorphins, which make your body feel better and more restored.
Introduce Steam Therapy Into Your Routine
Steam can be a powerful, natural way to feel better, relax your muscles, and soothe inflammation. Breathe easier with a steam shower built with your relaxation and wellness in mind.