The Critical Role Steam Can Play in Your Wellness Routine
PUT YOUR WELLNESS ROUTINE ON STEAM
Regular sessions in a steam room may have a powerful effect on your overall wellness profile. Here’s how turning up the heat may be beneficial for both mind and body.
The Western medical paradigm has shifted. Americans have moved beyond traditional health interventions and disease treatment in favor of an overall wellness lifestyle. The goal is no longer just about avoiding health complications, but seeking a mind-body harmony that brings serenity and vitality to everyday living.
Merriam-Webster defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.” Many people associate wellness routines with alternative medicine and nontraditional treatment options, but in many ways, it’s far more inclusive than that. The National Wellness Institute stresses that wellness is based on positivity, taking into account spiritual as well as physical goals. Mindfulness, fitness, personal care, herbal supplements, spa services—they’re all part of the wellness universe.
Wellness is a global movement. People all over the world are seeking wellness options in every aspect of their daily lives. According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), this market worldwide is worth $4.2 trillion. And investing money in wellness solutions is shared by all age groups. One report found that Millennials spend more money on fitness and wellness than they do on college tuition.
While new products and trends are introduced into the market every day, many wellness practices look toward the past for ancient treatments that have stood the test of time. For years modern medicine looked down on integrative therapies with herbal remedies and folk customs handed down from one generation to the next. But now the scientific community has come around on many of these therapies (e.g., aromatherapy, yoga, acupuncture, etc.), and doctors are less antagonistic to alternative medicine.
In many ways, this synthesis of the wisdom of the ancients with modern scientific progress is a hallmark of today’s wellness movement, and steam therapy is a perfect example of the best of both worlds.
An Ancient Practice Perfected by Contemporary Technology
For centuries, people all over the world from diverse cultures have used heat to maintain general health and as a palliative treatment. Native American sweat lodges, Russian Banyas, Jewish Shvitz, Finnish saunas, sulfur-rich hot springs, and Eastern Indian hot yoga all utilize high-temperature environments to rejuvenate and refresh.
The specific properties of steam may make steam rooms the best delivery method for therapeutic heat in this writer's opinion. A clean, controlled environment that eliminates distractions from electronic devices while minimizing airborne toxins is hard to find these days, but steam rooms offer that and more. Today’s state-of-the-art steam rooms allow for augmented therapies, such as chromatherapy, aromatherapy, and music therapy.
As with many ancient health practices, modern science is beginning to understand why intermittent heat therapy is potentially so beneficial for body and mind. In fact, spas are frequently included in wellness community design. That makes steam rooms a great fit for another recent trend: wellness real estate.
What is wellness real estate? The GWI describes it as “real estate that incorporates intentional wellness elements into its design” in the form of materials, amenities, and programming. It’s now 1.5% of the global construction market, with 740 wellness real estate developments created in 34 countries.
The idea driving wellness real estate is that people now realize that the places where they spend the majority of their time can have a major impact on their mental and physical well-being. Environment matters.
Steam’s Role in a Wellness Lifestyle
Steam rooms are quiet, relaxing enclosures that can fit easily into most nearly every home, apartment, and condominium. To enjoy the potential benefits of steam requires only that a person sit passively as hot, therapeutic mist fills the enclosure.
Beyond an overall sense of tranquility that a steam session provides, numerous potential wellness benefits have been associated with steam therapy. Steam may:
- promote musculoskeletal health;
- help maintain lung health;
- promote relaxation and manage stress;
- help support mental acuity and cognitive function;
- and help support vascular function and cardiovascular health.
Breathing and Lung Function
Deep breathing techniques are recognized by researchers from the Mayo Clinic for their ability to reduce stress, improve oxygen levels, and increase energy. Many wellness practitioners, such as yoga instructors, believe learning how to breathe properly is an important part of any health regimen.
Steam therapy is well regarded for its ability to clear phlegm and mucus from the bronchial tubes and nasal passages. In fact, research has demonstrated that steam may be able to relieve the symptoms of bronchial discomfort. Any improvements to your respiratory system may help support the body’s other physiological functions, even cognitive health. Improved breathing may help you sleep better and exercise with more intensity. And if you do breathwork of any kind, steam rooms are a no-brainer.
Keeping Your Skin Healthy and Clean
Steam is a natural way to remove toxins and bacteria from the skin. Its ability to cleanse pores by penetrating deep into the five layers of the epidermis doesn’t just make your skin look and feel good, it helps provide potential key health benefits. When bacteria gets lodged in your skin, sometimes even the best exfoliating agents can’t dig deep enough to loosen and remove impurities. Steam does. And steam therapy does its work without any of the harsh chemicals you find in many traditional over-the-counter skin treatments.
Clean, glowing skin is an important part of any wellness program. The skin is the largest organ in the body and the first defense against environmental pollutants as well as indoor toxins. Intermittent heat helps provide a “more stable epidermal barrier function” and helps stabilize skin pH, according to research. As a result, regular steam showers may help keep your skin looking radiant 24/7.
Help With Stress Management
Intermittent heat treatments have been found to help enhance mood and help reduce discomfort from joint and tendon pain for some people. One of the mechanisms that promote these effects is steam’s ability to potentially help increase endorphins. These hormones can produce feelings of euphoria and help minimize pain. Endorphins are the chemical responsible for the “runner’s high” that many people feel after exercise.
Then there are the naturally relaxing effects from steam rooms, an undeniable pleasure that lingers for hours. This may also help improve sleep quality, another crucial element in a successful wellness lifestyle. One study showed that heating the body before sleep helped reduce insomnia in older people, a population known to suffer from sleep disorders at a high rate.
Promoting A More Productive Workout
These effects on heart function and the musculoskeletal system are the perfect complement to a regular exercise program, which is essential when pursuing a wellness lifestyle. Whether you do yoga, Pilates, group training, running, or any physical activity, steam rooms may help you prepare for a more productive workout and help enhance muscle recovery afterward.
The Perfect Addition to Your Home Wellness Routine
Wellness is about achieving a balance of multiple systems in the body. Regular sessions in a steam room are the perfect addition to exercise, nutritious diets, mindfulness, stress management, and other key aspects of a successful approach to wellness.
As stated earlier, MrSteam’s selection of residential steam showers can accommodate augmented wellness therapies, such as aromatherapy (AromaSteam), music therapy (MusicTherapy), and light therapy (Chromatherapy). This is the cutting edge of mind-body holistic health treatments and can be accessed on a daily basis with a home steam shower system.
If you’re convinced that steam therapy should have a place in your wellness regimen, you’re probably wondering how to get access to a steam room on a regular basis. The fact is, installing a steam shower system in your residence costs much less than most people assume and doesn’t require extensive reconstruction.
Check out MrSteam ’s case studies, and you’ll likely see a situation much like yours. MrSteam also has a virtual sizing tool that will help you choose the perfect dimensions for your living space. And if you want a closer look at your steam room options, visit a dealer showroom and for a closer look.