These days, most health clubs and fitness centers have steam rooms. There are even some models that are specifically designed for home use. There are benefits to using a steam room on a regular basis, but there are some considerations you must keep in mind in order to use them safely. Here we will review the proper way to use a steam room.

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How Hot Should a Steam Room Be?

Features

Steam rooms are enclosed areas that are made of waterproof materials. They are powered by a steam generator that is filled with water and provides a thick cloud of mist or steam to create humidity. The steam bath enclosure needs to be very tight to ensure no steam escapes. In home models, the steam generator comes with controls so you can adjust the temperature. The proper temperature for a steam bath is between 110 and 115 degrees F. Steam rooms should also maintain the humidity level at about 100 percent.

Considerations

You need to make sure the steam bath stays within the correct temperature range. The purpose of a steam bath is to make you sweat. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees F; since the temperature of the steam room is higher, your body temperature begins to rise and your body begins to sweat to cool itself down. However, unlike a sauna, a steam bath uses moist heat so your sweat will not evaporate as fast due to the moisture in the air. Setting the heat up higher will make the room too hot and uncomfortable for most. In addition, temperatures that are too high can potentially burn your skin. This is unlike saunas, which use dry heat and are usually set at higher temperatures.

Benefits

Sitting in a steam room heated to the correct temperature has many benefits. As you are inhaling the steam, it can help with sinuses, allergies, congestion and other respiratory conditions. It also helps to open and cleanse the pores, increase circulation, relax the muscles and joints, and promote healthy skin. Sitting in a steam room can help you to distress after a long day. It can be helpful in managing chronic pain, as well.

History

The origins of the steam room are not clear, and there is some confusion as to whether they originated in Finland, the Roman Empire or England. The most commonly accepted theory is that steam rooms came from Finland, where they were developed for their therapeutic properties of heat and water. The ancient Romans also were known for their steam baths not only for the health benefits, but also as a means to socialize with others. The baths developed in Rome varied in temperature, with some being cooler then others. In England, they were used as a place to rest and for those looking for a cure that did not involve medication. Steam baths today still combine the use of heat and water to produce an atmosphere of relaxation and healing.

Warning

It is not recommended that you stay in a steam room for more than 20 minutes at a time, and it is good to slowly work up to staying in for that long. Staying in too long can lead to dehydration, dizziness, fainting and overheating. Saunas are not recommended for pregnant women, young children and those with heart disease. Steam baths also have a hygienic concern, as the moist atmosphere can be a breeding round for germs. Always listen to your own body as to the amount of time that feels right to stay in.