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Pros & Cons of a Steam Room

Updated April 17, 2017

With temperatures reaching 45.6 degrees Celsius, steam bathing provides a host of physical benefits but can also pose certain risks. These risks range in seriousness, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons before using a steam room.

Relaxation

One benefit of using a steam room is the relaxation it provides. The moist heat slows down the heart rate, which creates a calm feeling. The heat also causes blood vessels to open wider, which has the immediate effect of lowering blood pressure. People with certain temporary or chronic breathing conditions may find that the moist air provides temporary relief for their symptoms.

Skin Effects

The skin responds to a steam room by opening the pores and sweating, which can lead to a significant loss of water in the body. This provides temporary weight loss, although the weight is gained back from rehydrating. Sweating causes the body to eliminate electrolytes such as sodium, which may also relieve excess water retention. Still, the warm, moist environment is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that cause infection. For this reason, one should always wear shower shoes in a steam room.

Warning

A steam room's effect on heart rate, blood pressure and circulation make it a risk for pregnant women, people with known heart conditions and those taking certain medications that affect the circulatory system.

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About the Author

Katrina Josey is an exercise physiologist and health education specialist in Ohio. She is experienced in the full life cycle of developing health and wellness programs. Katrina was the managing editor of a major website's fitness channel and has over 10 years of professional experience including clinical exercise testing. Her volunteer experience includes AmeriCorps service and wellness ministry work.