The Skin and Heat
If you regularly participate
in saunas and steam baths your skin is also likely to look better
and feel more shiny. Skin contains many blood vessels and oil
glands. These glands often become clogged. Healthy skin is more
likely when the skin regularly sweats because it has an opportunity
to release bacteria and other impurities from the body. A sauna
and steam bath is idea for this.
As far as overall health, many
clinical studies suggest heat provided by saunas and steam baths
may help relieve certain chronic conditions resulting in pain,
most notably stiffness including that caused by certain forms
Stiff muscles may also benefit
from saunas and steams because the muscles are more likely to
relax in a heated environment. Think of the last time you put
a hot pack on a tired or worn out muscle. How did that feel?
Pretty good undoubtedly. The sauna and steam bath help to relax
the entire body, which is probably filled with tired, stiff and
achy muscles at times. In fact, you may not realize just how
tired and stiff your muscles are until you enjoy a couple of
sauna or steam sessions.
Is one better than the other?
Some people prefer the sauna because it provides a dryer heat,
one that allows the body to sweat on its own. The steam bath
however, tends to provide more moisture and is good for individuals
with extremely dry skin or those that require a more humid environment.
Not sure which is right for you? Be sure to consult with your
healthcare provider for practical advise. He or she can also
provide you with any health precautions you should take prior
to embarking on routine sauna use or steam bath use.
Onsen For Health
One way to take advantage of
natural steam baths is by using onsen. An onsen is a word often
used by Japanese to describe hot springs. This term may also
describe the public bathing area surrounding the hot springs,
at least in Japan.
Many of these structures are
outdoors, using natural hot springs coming from geothermal areas
in the earth. An onsen should not be misinterpreted to represent
a sauna or steam bath, although you may meet some people that
use the term interchangeably, meaning they assume the two are
In some areas of the world there
is a certain etiquette or formality involved with using these
hot springs. Here are some tips you can keep in mind if you use
an onsen for cleansing or for healing and comfort.
First locate an onsen, and take
some time to get to know the place and its policies and procedures.
You may or may not be comfortable with them. Some places for
example host anytime, anywhere sessions whereas some facilities
offer same sex bathing or hot springs sessions but this varies
tremendously from place to place.
Make sure you wash and rinse
your body prior to entering the onsen. Most facilities will offer
a faucet or source of water and shower head so you can clean
before you enter the water. This enhances everyone's experience
and prevents unnecessary dirt from entering the hot spring.
Make sure you relax and avoid
unnecessary chatter. Most of the time visiting an onsen is a
time of reflection and solitude. Incessant chatter may disrupt
the quiet and solitude of the experience. Try to avoid too much
banter if necessary.
Be sure to follow the surrounding
atmosphere. In Japan for example most people use the hot springs
without swimsuits. This may not be the case everywhere you visit.
Check in ahead of time to see what is norm and not to make sure
you go somewhere you feel comfortable.
Medical Health Benefits of
Hot Springs, Steams and Saunas
Many people and even therapists
and healers believe onsen offer therapeutic benefits including
healing chronic pain including pain associated with arthralgia
or fibromyalgia. Others believe it is helpful for curing disease,
including arthritis, chronic headaches or migraines, acne or
even metabolic problems. It's almost as if heated springs, saunas
and steam baths are the miracle drug of the century when you
put it that way! If you aren't booking your ticket to one of
the three, now would be a good time to do so.