Physical Therapist Praises the Benefits of Steam
Physical therapist Allison Guttman’s goal is to empower people to find their optimal level of health using three pillars: fitness, food and a balanced lifestyle. She regularly treats patients suffering from diminished mobility, limited function, aching joints and sore muscles.
One of the wellness lifestyle choices Allison recommends in her treatment plans, both professionally and personally, is regular steam bathing.
“I’ve been enjoying steam showers for years after my workouts because they offer me so many health and wellness benefits,” she says. “I will often recommend a steam bathto mypatients.”
Allison has been taking steam sessions twice a week and discovered many physical benefits they provide her, including the following:
Relieve Joint Pain
As a physical therapist, Allison will most often recommend steam as one means of treating aches and pains. “At my clinic, we use heat packs to relieve joint pain, and taking a steam shower is like putting yourself into one giant heat pack,” she explains. “Just like lubricant prevents gears from grinding and creaking in a car, the moisture from steam lubricates joints.”
Similarly, the heat from steam can effectively treat muscle tightness or knots. “I recommend to my patients that they sit in a steam shower and gently give themselves a massage in the part of their body that hurts,” comments Allison. The heat soothes nerve endings and warms up the muscle, which, in addition to lessening pain, has the benefit of dissipating stress-causing tension.
Clear up sinuses
If a cold or allergy is keeping you stuffed up, a steam shower can make you feel better. The heat moistens and thins the mucous membranes, which reduces congestion and helps expel mucous. Here are other respiratory benefits of steam.
Detox the Body
Steam’s heat will raise your temperature and “trick” your body into thinking you’re sick. It’s called hyperthermia, and it gives you a temporary boost against invading germs that cannot survive in higher temperatures. The heat also helps open up your skin pores to expel impurities from your body. Steam can therefore act as a great sidekick to your immune system.
Aid weight loss
According to Allison, steam might even play a role in weight loss.
“The hyperthermic element of the steam room has been proven successful in removing fat stored toxins from the body,” she said.
Additional water weight can be lost as the steam makes you sweat as well.
Steam: a Natural way to relieve body tension
Allison notes that she will continue recommending steam to her patients.
“I truly believe steam is a fantastic way to relieve body tension, no matter how that tension presents itself," Allison said. "It’s a wonderful way to help anyone in living well.”
Allison takes her own advice about steam as well, using regular steam baths as part of her wellness routine to reduce the stress and inflammation that irritates her Chron's disease. Read more about Allison’s diagnosis and how a health and wellness approach helped her cope.
How to Steam
To attain maximum steam bath benefits, Allison recommends staying in a steam shower for roughly 20 minutes.
“Taking a steam shower that is too short won’t allow you to truly relax and reap the full health benefits of steam, while staying in too long could have adverse effects,” she explains. “20 minutes is just right.”
Curious how steam might help you relieve body tension and live a more healthy life? Let us know what questions you have in the comments.