3 Ways Steam Boosts Physical Health
While the medical system excels at treating acute conditions like a heart attack or a broken bone, the movement around wellness is about building resilience to the physical and mental stress the world presents us with every day, potentially helping avoid some instances of acute illnesses. Steam has long been used across many cultures and civilizations for its health bolstering powers. Now scientifically reinforced, adopting a regular steam shower routine may be a valuable addition to any physical health routine through its potential restorative and cleansing properties. Here are three ways steam may help:
Soothe and clear your airways.In addition to clearing your airways for comfort, research has shown deep breathing offers a variety of additional health benefits, including increasing blood oxygen levels, fighting off free radicals and relaxing the stress response in the body. Calming the stress response through deep breathing is one powerful tool of stress management, which is gaining significance as more research uncovers the link between chronic stress and acute health conditions. Dedicating as little as 5-15-minutes to respiratory health and deep breathing everyday may have far-reaching effects for improving health.
Whether you have allergies or a head cold, the wet heat from a steam shower session may help you find relief. Steam can act as a natural expectorant, helping clear the stuffy build up in sinuses, throat and lungs and breathe easier. Additionally, steam may help reduce inflammation, allowing respiratory system relief from swelling and discomfort. One interior designer shared that one of her clients with bad allergies uses the steam shower during the night so he can get some rest, offering a great reminder of how many different aspects of your life the ability to breathe well can affect.
- Sweat out the bad stuff. One reason steam therapy has remained popular through centuries and different civilizations is the wellness benefit of sweating. In present day, we’re surrounded by chemicals. The conscious removal of toxins, such as chemical additives in food or environmental pollutants, from the body has gained traction in recent years, with many methods and theories abounding on how to do it. As a result, the word “detox” can be confusing at times. But, not to worry. Our bodies are built to detox: we have a series of filtering systems, separating the useful parts of what we ingest and passing the others. Sweating is one of those systems, and for certain irritants, such as heavy metals, it may be more efficient for elimination than others, as one Chinese study Interested in flushing out potentially harmful toxins? A regular 10-15-minute steam shower session may be just the trick.
- Improve flexibility and athletic recovery.
If you’re a runner or otherwise athletic, you’re likely familiar with the popular RICE method of recovery, injury treatment and prevention: rest, ice, compression and elevation. What you might not know is that there is a component for flexibility not included in the RICE method which may help boost performance and muscle efficacy while decreasing the risk of future injury. Lifestyle factors such as a sedentary office job or the kind of daily exercise practiced may inhibit flexibility, even if you regularly stretch. The good news? Heat therapy alone may increase tendon and ligament flexibility by 25%, so regular use of a steam shower could be a great addition to your recovery and injury prevention routine.
Whether you’re seeking to enhance physical health to avoid injury and illness or improve performance, steam can help you meet your goals. Check out this list of 40 benefits of steam for more reasons to love your steam shower.