Monday, January 11, 2010

Beauty: Steam Baths and Saunas and Sweat... Oh My!

Recently while we were lucky enough to find ourselves sitting in a nice hot steam bath, we thought... Aside from feeling really, really good what are the benefits of steam baths and saunas?

Lets look into the history and benefits of these warm and sweaty places... Ewww get your mind out of the gutter!

(Information taken from Suite101)

The sauna originated in Finland, and may be one of two types: dry heat or wet (steam) heat. Which one to use depends on personal preference and one's ability to tolerate the high humidity of a steam room.

The sauna tradition is not limited to Finnish culture. The Ancient Romans, Aztecs and Mayas all had the equivalent of saunas, steam rooms or heated public bath houses. So did the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. In North America, the Native American Indians had sweat lodges.

These days the girls of T-W-H just like to use them to relax and hang out and chat with our girlfriends whenever we get the chance.
(Really good t-w-h tip, if you are ever at a nice hotel and feel like a treat, but don't want to pay sky-high prices for a service, hotel guests can usually use the steam room for free!)

(Sorry, how could we resist this amazingly weird and creepy picture?!
*We don't think it is good for kids to spend time in extreme heat. Especially with their naked parents. It will cost a lot in therapy later)

Sitting in a hot, dry sauna or hot, humid steam room offers a number of health benefits. These include:
  • an elevated body temperature, which works as a fever would to boost immunity by increasing white blood cell production
  • heavy sweating, which helps eliminate toxins, chemicals and other impurities from the skin
  • increased heart rate, blood circulation and metabolic rate
  • looser, relaxed muscles after exercise
  • relief for stress, tension and high blood pressure
  • sense of mental well-being and rejuvenation.

The combined high temperature and steam in a wet sauna, steam bath or steam shower are good for the skin. They help to:
  • open skin pores and release trapped oils and dirt
  • increase blood circulation to the skin
  • relax tense facial muscles
  • loosen dead, dry skin which makes exfoliation easier
  • promote a clear complexion.

Scrubbing with a loofah or exfoliating gloves immediately after steaming will remove any dead, dry skin which has accumulated, leaving skin glowing, smooth, and soft.

So, good for your body, your mind and good for your skin... Hmmm sounds like a win, win situation. Now you just have to go find a steam room or a sauna.

We have to admit, the wood smell from a sauna gets us every single time, that delicious smell mixed with the dry heat is a winning combo...
But we feel like the steam room sweats out the toxins a wee bit more.

Either way, don't you heart it when you find out something that feels so good is actually good for you? Here are a few rules for the sweat boxes...

* Don't spend more then 30 minutes at a time inside one, ever.
* If you are pregnant... You will just have to wait till that baby is popped out before you can enjoy a steam. Sorry.
* Drink lots & lots of water afterwards, you want to get all that fluid back in.

Now go get steamy.

XOXO- Things-We-Heart


Katie said...

I have never been in a sauna. And definitely not with my naked parents. Eww. :)

Saunas and Steam Rooms said...

Steam rooms and saunas are two totally different enclosures, though they provide close to the same benefits. An easy way to tell the difference is to look at the construction of the enclosure.

Saunas are made of porous material, such as wood, while steam rooms are made of something non porous such as tile or plastic. In a sauna, even when water is poured on the stones to create steam, the humidity is still under 20%. In a steam room, however, the humidity exceeds 100%.

Vicki said...

I've always loved saunas but saw something in the news recently about people dying in Sweden in a sauna competition and I'm not sure if it's safe anymore.

Anonymous said...

Re: Dead guy in competition. These guys COMPETE to stay in the sauna as long as possible... NOT what a normal sauna experience should be... Take 15-20 minutes tours and you'll only get benefits, not death... Please people, read and inform yourself, do not judge as per what you read in the news...!

Anonymous said...

Also, relative humidity cannot exceed 100%. Once the air is saturated with water vapor you hit 100%. More than that is liquid water.