How Steam Baths Can Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergies
Are you feeling the itch?
Come spring, summer, or fall, most environments are releasing some sort of nose scratching irritant into the air. Whether that's beautiful blossoms or handfuls of hay, sometimes our bodies retaliate with a whole host of unpleasant side effects. Rather than loading up on anti-histamines and medicines that make you drowsy, invigorate yourself with a relaxing steam.
Steam rooms generally run at 110°-114° F. Fueled by boiling water in a generator, that cranks the humidity to >100%. Although cooler than a sauna, steam rooms will feel even hotter because it strips the body's ability to cool itself by sweating. That hot moist air loosens airways and clears nasal passages (if you're stuffy, be prepared with towels or tissues!).
While pollen itself is harmless, our bodies response is what makes us sneeze and cough. Your body sends signals to launch histamine which increasing blood flow and inflammation. It tells your brain to sneeze to remove pollen particles. You start to create more mucus which can lead to stuffy or runny noses, which in turn can lead to coughing. Histamine can also cause itchy eyes, nose, or throat.
So that warm, moist air in a steam room comes to the rescue. Free of foreign particulates, steam can safely allow your body to naturally remove allergens and dust that can aggravate your symptoms. Steam rooms encourage deep, measured breathing which can open up airways and clear the lungs. Paired with an essential oil such as eucalyptus, a steam room session can be the strongest tool you have to fight persistent respiratory allergies.
If a steam room isn't available, it's a common recommendation to place your face over a hot bowl of water, draping a towel over your head to create a tent. While mildly effective, a fully body steam has amazing capabilities of relaxing and cleansing you from head to toe.