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Can Steam Shower Relieve Headache Symptoms?

Heat and steam have a variety of health and wellness benefits when used correctly. Taking advantage of a steam shower may improve respiratory health, enhance skin appearance, battle insomnia, reduce stress, and much more. 

The ultimate combination of heat and steam comes from steam showers. That’s one of the reasons steam showers may treat certain types of headaches.  

Let's look closer at how steam showers may relieve headache symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

What are the most common types of headaches?  

More than 50% of the world's population suffers from headaches. One in seven people experiences neck, head, and forehead pain daily. These headaches can be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as brain tumors and neck injuries. We will be discussing headaches that occur as a primary condition. 


The most common types of headaches are: 

Tension headache  

Tension headaches occur when muscle tightness in the head, neck, or scalp causes pain and discomfort.  The pain a person experiences can often be severe, and may fail to respond to over-the-counter meds. 

Tension headaches can occur at any age. However, adults and teenagers suffer from them the most. These headaches are prevalent in women. They can also run in the family. 

While tension headache episodes may end faster than migraines, they can be just as intense and debilitating. 

Sinus headache 

Sinus headaches are sinus infection (sinusitis) symptoms that can cause pressure and pain in different areas of your face. Usually, you can feel pain in the forehead, the cheeks, and around the eyes. The pain may get worse when you bend forward. 

Sinusitis-related headaches can get worse in the morning because mucus doesn't drain well while the person is sleeping. 

In eight out of ten cases, people confuse a sinus headache for a migraine. These two conditions have highly similar symptoms. According to CDC, less than 12% of adults are diagnosed with sinusitis.  


Migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing and pulsating pain that usually occurs on one side of the head. It can come together with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some people can experience a warning sign in the form of an aura (visual and physical disturbances) before the migraine begins.  

Around one out of six adults (around 17%) suffer migraines. 

If untreated, the migraine attack can last as long as 72 hours. Besides pain, the person can experience various unpleasant symptoms during this time. Even after the episode ends, you can continue feeling extremely tired and unable to participate in everyday activities. 

Can steam showers treat tension headaches?  

Yes, a steam shower may alleviate symptoms of tension headaches. 

The most common causes of tension headaches are physical and emotional stress, fatigue, and overexertion. To ease the pain, it's vital to address the underlying symptoms. Steam showers may: 

  • Help muscles relax 
  • Reduce stress
  • Remove tension 

 Studies show that steam showers may decrease the intensity of chronic tension-type headaches. Adding other elements, such as AromaTherapy and MusicTherapy, improves the experience and may prevent tension headaches from coming back. 

Can steam showers treat sinus headaches?  

Yes, steam showers may relieve symptons sinusitis such as headaches. 

When you have a sinus infection, an inflammation of the blood vessels inside the sinuses causes swelling that keeps you from breathing normally. Significant swelling leads to pain in your forehead, cheeks, and around the eyes. 

A steam shower eases the stuffy feeling and inflammation, which in turn may reduce your headache. The steam loosens and thins the mucus, helping the sinuses clear up. You can start breathing easier and feeling better. 

Remember that the steam doesn't really affect the virus responsible for the sinus infection. It may only ease the symptoms.  


Can steam showers treat migraines?  

Yes, steam showers may relieve migraine symptoms, but only when done correctly. 

Steam showers may relieve muscle tension throughout the body. When it goes away, the symptoms of migraine may ease.  

A single formula for treating migraines with steam doesn't exist. You would need to experiment with options to see what works for you. Alternating between a steam shower and a cold, regular shower helps block the pain signals that sensory receptors send to your brain. Steam showers may also help with relaxation while relieving tension that could add to your migraine. 

You can also try using AromaTherapy in your steam shower. For some people, it may relieve migraine symptoms and improve their general condition.   

Can steam showers cause headaches?  

Both hot, traditional showers and steam showers can trigger headaches if misused. 

Staying too long in a hot shower or bath can trigger a benign hot bath-related headache.  

If you stay in a steam shower for a long time, you could get dehydrated. This, in turn, could trigger a migraine instead of relieving your headache. 

To treat headaches with a steam shower: 

  • Make sure to hydrate properly in advance 
  • Don't spend more than 15 to 20 minutes in the steam shower at once 
  • Always listen to your body

If you don't feel better or start feeling worse in the shower, turn it off immediately.  

Using the steam shower responsibly may minimize the risk of developing a migraine and maximize its healing properties.  

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Topics: Steam Therapies (Aroma, Chroma, Music), Benefits of Steam