Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Steam Showers + Aromatherapy and Chromotherapy Explained.
Steam showers have long been a staple in spas and health clubs, but they've made their way into our homes in recent years. These luxurious fixtures offer more than just a refreshing cleanse; they provide health, relaxation, and general wellbeing benefits. In this article, we'll delve into the advantages of steam showers, aromatherapy essential oils, and the benefits of chromotherapy lighting.
The Power of Steam
Steam therapy, often experienced in steam showers or saunas, has been used for centuries to promote health and wellbeing. Here's a more detailed look at the benefits you mentioned:
Detoxification: When exposed to the high temperatures of a steam shower, the body responds by inducing a fever-like state, including sweating. This process helps the body rid itself of toxins and waste products. Sweating opens up the pores and allows these toxins to exit the body and support the function of the kidneys and liver, the primarily responsible for detoxification.
Respiratory Relief: A steam shower's warm, moist air can help soothe the respiratory system. Steam can benefit those with asthma, bronchitis, or common colds. The moisture can help open the airways, reduce inflammation and congestion, and improve breathing. It's also thought to help expel mucus or phlegm and soothe irritated throat tissues.
Muscle Relaxation: Heat from the steam helps to relax the muscles, reducing tension and relieving pain. A steam session can be particularly beneficial after a hard day or long workout at the gym. The heat can help to increase circulation, bringing more oxygen and extra nutrients to the muscles, thus aiding recovery and reducing muscle soreness.
Skin Health: Steam showers can do wonders for the skin. The heat opens up the pores, allowing for deep cleansing and the expulsion of dirt and toxins. This can result in a healthier and more radiant complexion. The moist heat also helps to hydrate the skin, which can improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Back Pain: The heat from a steam shower can help to alleviate back pain. The heat can help to relax, increase circulation, and tense muscles, reducing pain and inflammation. Those with arthritis, sciatica, and similar conditions would find this beneficial.
Legs, Hips, and Joints: Steam therapy can also benefit the legs, hips, and joints. Through the steam heat and moisture, any swelling and inflammation are helped and thus alleviating pain and improving mobility. Conditions like arthritis or gout, or for those recovering from a joint injury, could also benefit.
While steam showers can provide numerous health benefits, only use them in moderation as they may not suit everyone. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health regimen.
Aromatherapy in Steam Showers
Essential oils added to your steam shower can provide further health benefits. This practice, known as aromatherapy, involves using aromatic plant extracts to promote health and wellbeing. Here are some popular essential oils and their benefits:
Lavender: For its calming properties, use lavender oil to help reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Peppermint: This refreshing oil is known to boost energy and aid digestion.
Eucalyptus: Often used in respiratory relief products, eucalyptus oil can help clear the sinuses and relieve congestion.
Tea Tree: This powerful antiseptic is an ingredient in some skincare products to treat acne and other skin conditions.
Lemon: Known for its purifying properties, lemon oil can help to cleanse the body and boost mood.
Chamomile: This calming oil is known to help reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
Rosemary: Known for its refreshing properties, rosemary oil can help to stimulate the mind and body.
Frankincense: Often used in meditation, frankincense oil is known for its grounding and balancing effects.
Ylang Ylang: This exotic oil is an ingredient to promote relaxation and lower high blood pressure.
Sandalwood: With a warm, woody scent, sandalwood oil can help to calm the nerves and help with focus.
Jasmine: This sweet, floral oil is used by many for helping with depression and childbirth.
Bergamot: This citrusy oil reduces stress and improves skin conditions like eczema.
Clary Sage: With antidepressant effects, Clary sage oil is known to help with menopause and menstrual cramps.
Patchouli: This earthy oil is for helping with skin conditions, depression, and anxiety.
Geranium: This floral oil often balances hormones, relieves stress, and improves skin health.
Always dilute essential oils before use and consult a professional if you're pregnant, nursing, or have any health conditions.
The History and Origins of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils and plant extracts for healing, has a varied and rich history dating back thousands of years and crosses numerous cultures. The origins of aromatherapy can date more than 5,000 years to ancient civilizations, including the Indians, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, with evidence discovered in perfumes, cosmetics, and some drugs. These Essential oils were also commonly used for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes.
Ancient Egypt: One of the most notable early aromatherapy uses was in ancient Egypt, where aromatic plants were incorporated into the embalming process. Egyptians also used oils for medicinal purposes, cosmetics, and religious ceremonies. The Ebers Papyrus, dating back to around 1500 BC, mentions using many essential oils and aromatic plants, including garlic, juniper, cannabis, and myrrh.
Ancient China and India: Around the same time, in ancient China, Shen Nung's Herbal Book, considered the oldest surviving medical book in China, listed 365 medicinal plants and their uses. In India, Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing system practiced for over 3,000 years, extensively uses aromatic herbs and oils.
Ancient Greece and Rome: The Greeks furthered the use of essential oils in medicine. Hippocrates, often called the "father of medicine," believed in holistic treatment, including aromatherapy massage. The Romans also used aromatic oils for their antibacterial and antiviral properties, pleasure, and relaxation in baths.
The Renaissance and Middle Ages: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, essential oils became more commonly used in public sanitation and in attempts to combat the Plague.
Modern Aromatherapy: As it is known today, the word aromatherapy was first coined in 1937 by the French chemist and perfumer Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. On applying lavender oil to a hand burn, Rebe-Maurice found this to have certain healing powers. He then began to analyse the chemical properties of essential oils in treating skin infections, burns, gangrene, and wounds in soldiers during World War I.
In the 1950s, massage therapists, beauticians, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, and other healthcare providers began using aromatherapy. Aromatherapy became popular in the United States in the 1980s. Today, it is a thriving industry with many applications, from stress management to mood enhancement and boosting immunity to promoting skin health.
Despite its long history, aromatherapy is often considered an alternative medicine—clinical studies are conducted to this day to understand the exact benefits and potential risks of aromatherapy. Discussing with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health treatment is recommended.
Chromotherapy in Steam Showers
A holistic healing method, Chromotherapy uses colour and light to balance energy in the body. Many steam showers come equipped with chromotherapy lighting, allowing you to bathe in various colours. Here's how different colors can affect your mood and wellbeing:
1. Red: Stimulates the body and mind, increasing circulation and raising energy levels
2. Blue: Promotes relaxation and calm and is often used to alleviate stress and anxiety.
3. Green: Known for its balancing properties, green light can help to promote harmony and reduce fatigue.
4. Yellow: This bright and cheerful colour can help to uplift mood and stimulate the nervous system.
In conclusion, steam showers can offer a wealth of benefits for both physical and mental health. By incorporating aromatherapy and Chromotherapy, you can enhance these benefits and create a wonderful, holistic wellness experience in your home.