The Allure of Steam Baths
The characteristics that draw people to steam baths today are many of the same lures that captivated people centuries ago. Not only is a steam bath enjoyable, but it also contributes to overall health and well-being. Medical science has shown that, like saunas, steam baths are one of the simplest ways to rid the body of toxins and impurities. The hot, moist heat opens pores and encourages millions of sweat glands to perspire. This is significant because sweat contains almost the same elements as urine which explains why the skin is sometimes referred to as the third kidney. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 30 percent of bodily wastes are eliminated via perspiration.
Steam baths are well known for their health benefits, including detoxification and improved complexion.
Steam baths also encourage muscle relaxation, improve the complexion, promote better sleep, detoxify the body, fight stress, and provide relief for those suffering from upper respiratory problems everything from asthma to the common cold. Of course, you should always consult your physician before using a steam bath to supplement your health and fitness regimen.
Another benefit of steam bathing is that it stimulates the cardiovascular system. For example, the pulse rate increases from a typical 75 beats per minute to between 100 and 150 beats per minute during a 15- to 20-minute session. Blood pressure, however, remains steady because the tiny blood vessels in the skin expand, accommodating the increased blood flow.
Today some physicians recommend steam baths and saunas for patients who might benefit from self-induced hyperthermia, a condition in which body temperature is higher than normal. Although extreme hyperthermia is dangerous (even deadly), some health experts believe that moderate hyperthermia 101 to 103°F (38 to 39°C) is helpful in treating various ailments. The effect is similar to that of a fever, which naturally staves off viruses and bacteria. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, wrote more than two thousand years ago, Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease. Despite this strong endorsement of faux fevers, it’s imperative that you never attempt medicinal hyperthermia without proper medical supervision.
Overall, the benefits of steam baths are clear and plentiful. And now that the demand for private steam baths is so high, manufacturers are offering a variety of options to make ownership a reality for anyone. Whether you’re building a custom steam
4 A steam bath can go wherever you have a floor drain. Prefabricated units like this one are easy to install and can fit snugly into tight spaces.
room or installing a prefabricated steam shower, you have many options for creating your perfect steam environment. In many cases you can simply convert an ordinary shower stall or bathtub into a splendid steam area; all you might need is a waterproof ceiling and a watertight door. You can also opt for a prefabricated steam shower, which simplifies the whole design and installation process. Or you can purchase the appropriate steam generator and custom build your steam bath to meet your own floor plan and design aesthetics.
There’s no time like the present to warm up to the steam-bath lifestyle. And no matter what type of steam bath you choose, you can rejoice in the fact that you are promulgating a bathing ritual that spans the millennia.
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