Monday, October 14, 2013

A Steamy Post

Now that I'm in my 30's I have finally have figured out that steam rooms are simply awesome!  A few months ago I was fortunate to have my best friend come and stay with us and for her 30th birthday we celebrated by a visit to the spa.  After our lovely massage we were escorted to a steam room to relax.  As we sat in towels sipping on our glass of ice water we both commented on how "mature" we felt in that moment!  As if steam rooms and turning 30 is a normal right of passage!  I'm nearing 31 now and I wish I had discovered steam rooms earlier.
I am fortunate to work at several different gym and fitness facilities so steam rooms have always been available to me.  For the longest time I figured they must be too dirty (I wouldn't recommend going in without flip flops!) or too hot.  I simply wasn't interested.  Until now.  I have done a little digging to figure why in the world someone would sit in a steamy room and sweat like someone turned a faucet on in your glands.

Here are the top reasons to love getting steamy:

Detox - People are always trying to "detoxify" by eating something special or drinking something special (usually awful tasting!).  Why not let your body do the work and sweat it out instead?  Our bodies contain over 2 million sweat glands which means it can get rid of a lot of toxins built up simply by getting your sweat on. In fact, some sources say you can get rid of 30% of the toxins in your body by taking a steam bath.

Rejuvenates Skin - The hot, humid air allows increased blood flow and opens up your pores giving your skin a luminous glow.

Boost Immune System - Much like a fever, your body's core temperature raises (called hyperthermia) and helps to kill off harmful microorganisms that have invaded the body.  They are sensitive to heat and die off. The ones that survive are often weakened.   

Relaxes you - To me, the steam serves as a warm blanket.  I like to lay down on a towel and half doze.  It is my little piece of paradise for about 10 or 15 minutes.

Can help reduce cellulite - Are you ready for this? Steam baths can help emulsify fat close to the skin!  And that means - yes - it can help reduce the look and feel of cellulite.

Can reduce acne - This fat emulsifying effect also works on acne and can actually improve the look of your facial skin.

Can help sooth minor colds - In addition to boosting your immune system, the hot, humid air you are forced to breath in can actually break up mucus and help you expel it easier.  I know, sounds gross, but take my word for it, it works.  I have been fighting a cold and I feel much better after some time in the steam room.

Muscle Pain Management - heat helps improve blood flow and decrease the build up of lactic acid after workouts.

Can temporarily increase metabolism - Because your body's core temperature is raised, it has to work extra hard to try to cool itself down - hence the sweating.  This means your metabolism will temporarily be working harder without even doing anything!  Bonus!  

Not convinced?  Check out these resources.

Reasons to play it cool:

  • Not recommended for pregnant women, or those suffering from asthma or heart conditions
  • The heat can be too much for some so know your body
  • Germs - make sure you wear flip flops!
  • Dehydration - drink plenty of water to keep your body replenished

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