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10 Benefits of Steam for Your Body and Mind

Steam has been used as a way to rejuvenate for thousands of years—here’s why


Like a warm hug on a cold day, a visit to the steam room can leave you feeling comforted and relaxed. But its benefits extend beyond just a mood boost. Steam can help you sleep better, give your skin a glow, and even protect your heart health.


Improved respiratory health 

Steam can help you breathe easier by loosening up mucus in your lungs and reducing inflammation, making it an age-old treatment for stubborn coughs. Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging new evidence that suggests inhaling steam shortly after contracting a viral respiratory infection may help to lessen its severity and slow its progression.


Eased congestion

When you’re sick with a sinus infection or struggling with allergies, steam can help ease your stuffy nose. The warm humid air soothes your sinuses and opens your irritated nasal passages to help clear out the mucus. To give your steam session a boost, try adding eucalyptus oil to the mix.



Soothed vocal cords

Rehydrating your vocal cords with steam can work wonders if you’re struggling with a sore throat or a hoarse voice. The added moisture helps to plump up the cells of the strained vocal folds and speed healing of the throat. That’s why it’s a go-to for singers when they need to pamper their voices.


Improved heart health

The heat in the steam room can increase your heart rate and the amount of blood pumped per minute. Similar to mild cardiovascular exercise, this can help the heart work better over time. It’s important to note that if you suffer from heart disease or issues with circulation, you should check with your health care practitioner before using the steam room.


Lower blood pressure

The heat dilates your blood vessels, which can improve circulation and help lower your blood pressure. To amplify the effects, combine it with exercise and hit the steam room after your workout for 15 minutes, three times a week. Just be sure to clear it with your health care practitioner if you have any blood pressure issues.


Glowing complexion

There’s a reason that professional facials often include plenty of steam—it opens your pores and helps to loosen dead skin cells for a deep clean. The high temperature boosts circulation, providing the skin with more oxygen and delivering a healthy glow. It also hydrates your skin thanks to the water vapor in the steam—lock in the extra H2O by applying moisturizer afterward.


Relieved stress

Taking time out to enjoy a steam session is relaxing on every level. More research is needed to understand exactly why it feels so great, but one theory is that the high heat triggers your brain to release feel-good hormones, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Restoring balance to your nervous system can help you feel calm and better able to handle life.


Quicker muscle recovery 

Stepping into the steam room after a tough workout does more than just relax your tight muscles. It can also help reduce soreness by increasing blood flow. More blood flow means more nutrients are delivered to your muscles, and this can mean a quicker recovery time. It’s during the recovery phase that you get stronger and see the benefits of exercise, so fueling your body with the right nutrients and supplements after a workout is crucial.


Better sleep

Inhaling warm steam before bedtime can increase relaxation and help you get a deeper sleep. It can also make falling asleep easier; your temperature drops when you step out of the steam room, which triggers your brain to produce melatonin—one of the hormones that helps to regulate your internal clock. If sleep is still elusive, you can try supplementing with a natural sleep aid.


Boosted immunity

Your core body temperature increases in the steam room, much like when you have a fever, and evidence has shown this can help rev up your immune system. To get the immune-boosting benefits from the steam room, make it a regular part of your routine.


How to benefit from steam

Many gyms and rec centers have steam rooms, and you can even install a steam shower in your bathroom for that spa experience. Steam inhalers and face steamers are a budget-friendly way to bring the power of steam home. Or pour hot water into a bowl, cover your head with a towel, and lean over—just be careful to avoid burns!



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