Both Saunas and steam rooms are built on the concept of using heat to encourage wellness.
For thousands of years sauna’s and steam rooms, they have been utilised by mankind for their health benefits. 3000 years ago, Mayans used sweat houses to recover and help cure ailments. Japanese bathhouses have a rich history of using natural hot spring steam baths to help the sick. Traditional Turkish steam rooms, more commonly known as hammams, are famous for using a moisture filled heat and a post soak body scrub. A Finnish sauna is the most recognisable type of and uses dry heat. Finnish Saunas have wooden interiors, temperature controls and include rocks that absorb and give off heat.
An alternative, more modern option is an infrared sauna. This kind of sauna uses infrared lamps to warm your body directly instead of heating the air around you.
To take the sauna experience one step further, Kok Oslo (a travel and hospitality award winner), offer a unique floating sauna experience where you can follow up soaking in the heat with a cold Fjord bath.
Whichever way you look at it the use of saunas and steam rooms are clearly valued. If these aren’t part of your usual wellness routine here are six reasons why you should consider adding it in.
A “Healthy Sweat” – Cleansing the Skin
Deep sweating induced in a sauna or steam room cleanses the skin. Sweating flushes out toxins through pores and rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer. This improves the capillary circulation while giving the skin a softer look.
The sweating process requires a notable amount of energy and you will burn more calories in a sauna or steam room than you would sitting anywhere at room temperature. However, this should only be considered as one of many weight losses tools in your arsenal.
Not an obvious reason, but it’s worth thinking about when you consider some of the great civilisations who value heat as a treatment. In addition to those mentioned above Romans, Greeks, Victorians and the Indus Valley civilisation were big on steam baths. Native Americans used hot vaper baths to treat illnesses and Hanjeungmak, a Korean sauna, is found to have been invented in the 15th century. The rich history does make you think they were all on to something.
Muscle relaxation and recovery
There are three ways using a Sauna and steam room can aid muscle relaxation and recovery.
The first is that the heat causes your body temperature to rise which in turn causes blood vessels to dilate and increase blood circulation. The increased blood flow speeds up the body’s natural healing processes.
The second is that the heat causes your body to release endorphins which have a mild “tranquilising effect” and minimise joint pain and soreness.
The third way is that the sweating releases a toxin known as lactic acid thus promoting muscle relaxation.
Bathing in a sauna and steam room has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and simulate the production of Serotonin. Cortisol is a hormone released when were stressed and high levels can lead to several health issues whereas serotonin is known as the “happy hormone” and makes us feel good.
Saunas and steam rooms are generally considered private areas for personal relaxation and solitude. However, they can easily be utilised as a social activity, shared with family and friends. The environment is the perfect place to have a quite intimate conversation.