Steam rooms are a popular approach to heating your body at the gym or a health club. But more and more, people are also installing them at home to reap the myriad of health benefits. Installing an at-home steam room isn't without risks, though, and it's important to get the temperature of your steam room right. If it's too hot, it may not only be uncomfortable to use, but it may also be quite dangerous.
The correct temperature of a steam room — between 110 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit — is the optimal level for maximum enjoyment and excellent health benefits.
Benefits of a Steam Room
A steam room offers a whole host of potentially unexpected benefits to the body, according to Healthline. Moist heat can improve circulation, especially in bodily extremities like fingers and toes. It can also temporarily lower blood pressure.
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Sitting in a steam room after a workout can speed up your recovery process and help loosen stiff joints as well. Plus a steam room can burn extra calories and give the immune system a boost. On top of all this, sitting in a steam room can have beneficial effects on the skin and respiratory system.
Ideal Steam Room Temperature
A steam room can offer health benefits to nearly every aspect of the body, in addition to being a relaxing stress reliever for the mind. But a steam room must be used correctly to reap these rewards and keep users safe and healthy.
Steam rooms differ from saunas in a wide variety of ways, according to Eagle Leisure. While saunas insulate a dry heat using wood paneling, steam rooms rely on a moist heat. This means the temperatures between the two are quite different. Medical News Today explains that a sauna is around 160 to 200 F with a humidity level of under 30 percent.
Steam rooms are much more specific in terms of temperature, with a range of between 110 and 114 F. Keeping them at this lower heat is important because the humidity levels are far higher, usually close to 100 percent. A steam room that's overly hot can be unpleasant and put users at risk of fainting or coming into contact with boiling water.
Other Steam Room Safety Tips
One of the biggest risks in an area of moist heat is scalding. Water must be extremely hot to evaporate into steam, so it has the potential to burn if it condenses. This means all steam rooms must be constructed from nonporous materials like tiles. Steam rooms should also have sloping walls to allow for safe water runoff and a clear drain for the water to escape from the room.
As Steam Sauna explains, a large proportion of steam room safety tips rely on individual use. You should never sit in a steam room for longer than 20 minutes at a time. If you want to steam several times in one day, make sure you're taking adequate breaks in between and drinking plenty of water to rehydrate.
Cedarbrook Sauna and Steam also recommends taking a shower before you steam to acclimate your skin temperature to the warmth of the steam room. Taking a cool shower or cold water dip after a steam session can help boost the benefits to the skin, metabolism and stress levels.