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Steam Bath and its benefits

Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:13 pm

Steam baths have been around for centuries, and are a common feature of gyms, health spas and clubs. However, surprisingly little is known about the numerous benefits steam baths offer.

Immunity

Taking a steam bath regularly helps boost your immune system. An artificial fever is induced as the body temperature rises high. This rise in body temperature destroys most bacteria and viruses in the body, and it stimulates the immune system to mobilise its own forces. If a steam bath is taken at the onset of a cold, it helps ward off potential flu. However, it will not cure a cold, although it provides relief and opens up the nasal passage. At 106 degrees pneumococcus, a bacterium responsible for pneumonia, dies.

Cancer

Malignant cells are also destroyed at temperatures of 106 to 110 degrees F. In addition, the generation of antibodies speeds up, as does the production of interferon, an anti-viral protein that also has powerful cancer-fighting properties.

Toxins

Steam and sauna bathing is one of the simplest and most comfortable ways to rid the body of accumulated toxins as perspiration helps eliminate waste products and accumulated toxins and a steam bath is a powerful perspiration inducer. More than common waste products are secreted through the skin. When heavy smokers sit in the steam room, a yellow residue is sometimes noticed on the towels! Taking a steam bath after a massage helps get rid of those toxins that have been dislodged by the massage.

Relaxation

Steam penetrates your entire body and eases tired muscles from head to toe. It also provides relief from stress. A steam bath followed by a warm shower prepares you for a good night's sleep.

Circulation

Steam increases blood circulation. It also has cardiovascular benefits as it increases the pulse rate without increasing blood pressure. This is because the blood vessels expand due to the heat and can accommodate the increased blood flow. As a result many more nutrients are carried to the skin, making it healthy, glowing, soft and youthful. An immediate difference is noticed in the quality of the skin after a steam bath.

Who should not take a steam bath

Because of the increased cardiovascular activity, people suffering from heart ailments should not use the steam bath. In addition, pregnant women, people suffering from fever, small children and the elderly should not steam bathe.

How to take a steam bath

Stay in the steam bath for as long as you feel comfortable, but avoid taking the treatment for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Stop if you feel some discomfort.

Steam bathing is very dehydrating, so make sure you drink up. Take a couple of glasses of water before and after the treatment to replace lost fluids. Drinking salted lemon water is a good option, as salt aids water retention.Shower before entering the steam room. After the bath, cool off first in room temperature, and then take a warm or cold shower.If you want to go in for another steam session, make sure your body has returned to its normal temperature first. Do not start a second session unless you have cooled down, and in any case, do not go in for more than three sessions at a time.

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