Relaxation Techniques
Steam Bath

What is steam bath?

What are the benefits of steam bath?

How does steam create by generator?

How to take steam bath?

What are the precautions for taking steam bath?

Will a steam bath ruin my hair?

Why is it suggested to have a slope to the (Steam room) ceiling?


What is steam bath?

A steam bath is an enclosure which is kept at about 45?C. It is fed with a steam generator which produces thick clouds of mist. The room has to be fairly well sealed to prevent the steam from escaping and also to prevent moisture damage to the surrounding structure. It is operating most effectively at temperatures of between 43C(110F) and 46C(116F) and a relative humidity above 100%. In a steam bath, steam (or to be more scientifically correct, MIST) should be permanently present. This requires an efficient steam generator, a precise control system and a steam-tight cabin to prevent steam escaping and damaging the fabric of the surrounding room.Steam baths have been a popular way of bathing for thousands of years. They were known to the ancient Greeks and have long traditions in both Turkey and Russia.

Steam bath is sometimes called a steam sauna but a sauna is actually a different type of bath. A Finnish sauna produces a dry heat(without humid) and is much hotter than a steam bath.Steam is produced in a sauna by pouring water over hot rocks, but usually the air is quite dry -- around 20% humidity as compared to 100% humidity in a steam bath.



What are the benefits of steam bath?

  • "Give me an opportunity to create fever and I will cure any illness," said the Greek physician Parmenides two thousand years ago. During a fever, the functioning of the immune system is stimulated, while the growth of bacteria and virus is forced to slow down. The production of white blood cells, the primary agents of the immune system, is increased, as is the rate of their release into the blood stream. The generation of antibodies speeds up, as does the production of interferon, an anti viral protein that also has powerful cancer-fighting properties. At 104 degrees F., for example, the growth rate of the polio virus is reduced up to 250 times; at 106 degrees pneumococcus, a bacterium responsible for pneumonia dies.
  • The high moisture content of the steam bath is especially useful for respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, and allergies. This is because steam can clear allergens and mucus from the lungs. In addition, again as a supportive measure the steam bath is beneficial for persons suffering from: Sleeping disorders, particularly through over excitability, poor skin circulation, dry, chapped skin, muscular tension, muscular weakness in the subcutaneous blood vessels, and sensitivity to sudden changes of temperature.
  • A steam bath improves blood circulation to the skin and this contributes to a healthy, glowing appearance. Heavy sweating cleanses the skin more thoroughly than soap and water because it opens the pores and allows deep-seated grime and dead cells to be flushed out. Steam heat causes the blood vessels to expand which increases the circulation, allowing more oxygen to reach damaged parts of the body. This has the double effect of reducing pain and increasing the healing rate.
  • The body cannot maintain a constant temperature when the environmental temperature is as high as that reached in a steam bath or sauna, and so the body temperature begins to rise. If the environmental temperature exceeds that of the body, the only way to lose heat is through sweating. The body tries to increase its heat loss through all possible avenues-especially the skin and lungs. The rise in body temperature depends mainly on (a) the temperature and humidity content of the steam bath, (b) the sweating capability of the bather, and (c) the bathing time.
  • In the hydrotherapeutic tradition used at European and America spas, sweat therapy is used in preparation for massage as a means of increasing the suppleness of the muscles and creating a deep sense of relaxation in body and mind.
  • A steam bath opens skin pores, soothes sore muscles, and increases circulation. However, more than common metabolic waste products are secreted through the skin.
  • Aroma therapy treatments are easily given by placing essential oils directly onto the steam head. The smell evokes powerful effects throughout the body and has a wide range of therapeutic benefits.
  • Physical agents act directly with a physical effect; that is, radiant energy becomes heat when absorbed by living cells. Physical agents may in addition indirectly influence the AUTONOMIC AND ENDOCRINE SYSTEMS as well as the ELECTROLYTE balance. The BIOLOGIC RESPONSE to the "push" of physical stimulation of the VEGETATIVE HORMONAL SYSTEM is an adaptive reaction to stress, which involves the adrenal cortex and increases blood steroids. In fact, the interrelationship between adrenal and blood steroids may be an important factor in the hit-and-miss success of this form of hydrotherapy. If so, the intensity (or dose) of physical stimulation will determine the "stress" of this hydrotherapy program.
    The weight loss that one may experience when using a sauna is temporary, due to the fact that the loss is through sweating, and is primarily water weight. This is easily regained after drinking a couple of glasses of water or juice.



How does steam create by generator?

The steam generator unit consists of a tank for holding water, a connection for incoming water, and an outlet for the steam. The water tank needs to be airtight in order to allow steam pressure to build up. Steam pressure can be a formidable force -- it can be used to power locomotives! In order to withstand the pressure of the steam buildup, the water tank needs to be very strong. They are usually made of welded steel. As a safety precaution, the water tank needs to have a pressure release valve in case the steam pressure becomes too high. The safety valve is an absolute necessity. Exploding tanks can cause a great deal of damage and even death. The incoming water supply can be either hot water or cold water. Feeding hot water into the steam generator allows the steam to build up more quickly, but many generators can use a cold water feed and still provide steam in a reasonable time. The steam passes through the steam heads which are controlled by either an on/off switch or a timer. The on/off switch causes the steam heads to protrude from the wall of the steam bath, allowing steam to come out. Optional timers can be used to limit the amount of time that steam is generated. There are even steam heads that hold scented oils for aroma therapy.



How to take steam bath?

  • Leave your cloths in dressing room,
  • Drink 1-2 glass of water or any sports drink (avoid caffeine) which has electrolytes. Shower First, as this is to moisten the skin and to remove any possible body or fragrant odors, which do not belong to the sauna.
  • Do not take a steam bath for over 10-15 minutes.
  • Exit the steam bath if you feel uncomfortable or become sleepy.
  • Cool off with cool fresh air and cool water without shocking the system and avoid shivering-take a warm foot bath if you have cold feet and then repeat the session, do not take more than 3 sessions at a time in the steam bath.
    Make sure you are not allergic to any aromatherapy oils before use.

In the case of combined facilities like sauna and steam bath, which provide for different types of bath, you may also switch from one type to another. What is essential though is that you cool off thoroughly after each session. Never start a fresh session if your body is warm (or worse still, hot) and never change from one type of bath to another until you have cooled down properly.


What are the precautions for taking steam bath?

  • Do not use alcohol prior to or during a steam bath, alcohols (it dehydrates your body) can cause drowsiness and or the ability to determined the effects of the steam bath.
  • After a workout, give your body adequate time to cool down, before you expose it to the heat of a steam to avoid heat stroke. You must rest for at least 20 minutes.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after the sauna/steam bath to replace fluids lost during the treatment.
  • Limit sauna/steam time to 10 to 15 minutes. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea before and after the sweat bath to replace fluids lost during the treatment. The sweat glands can secrete up to 30 grams of sweat per minute, or almost one pint per 15 minutes, so dehydration is a very real possibility, if you are not careful. Fatigue and other indications of dehydration can occur with as little as 1 to 2% loss in body weight.
    Symptoms of too much dehydration include dizziness, vertigo, rapid heartbeat, or excessive thirst.
  • Also, make sure not to eat any large meals beforehand, and drink plenty of water to ensure that you don't get dehydrated.
  • Person with low blood pressure(as steam bath decreases blood pressure) Pregnant women should not use a steam. High temperatures can harm your fetus or cause you to faint. Children's ability to tolerate heat is limited, since their skin area/body mass-ratio is high, sweating system is immature and fat layer is thin. Children can, however, take sauna baths totally safely, if some precautions are taken into account.

Will a steam bath ruin my hair?

Steam is moisture so your hair will get as wet as if you washed it.



Why is it suggested to have a slope to the (Steam room) ceiling?

Steam rises in a steam room. If the ceiling is flat, then steam droplets will drop on the steam bather. With a sloped ceiling, the water vapor drains down the ceiling and down the walls.


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