Other Than Naked Comradery, Why Use The Steam Room?
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I recently joined the Equinox. And I fucking love it. Granted I feel like the token uncool kid there in a place that is so chic and flawless, but nevertheless, me and my shower cap hang out for extended periods of time in the locker room with a big smile on our face.
My favorite thing to do at the Equinox, hands down (and towel off) is to use the steam room. Fuck yeah, the steam room. To relax you, I’m going to put in a little gif of some steam in here.
Steam baby, steam. I love it.
My usual routine is working out, coming down into the locker room, getting buck naked, and setting down a towel in the steam room to lay out naked and sweat. I’ll stay in there for about 10-15 minutes, ponder life, and occasionally wipe sweat off when it starts to trickle down into my eyes. Then I leave, and hop into the shower.
Am I doing this right? I have no fucking clue!
I want to make the most of the moistness.
Maybe it’s gross that I go in there already sweaty. Maybe I should be drinking water while I’m in there. Maybe that sweat is supposed to trickle into my eye and I’m missing out on some killer health benefits by wiping it away.
So I turned to the experts to find out what the proper way to use the steam room is, and what we get out of it other than subtle peeks at naked girls (heterosexuals, I don’t know why you’re in there).
Are there health benefits to the steam room? Yes
This was my main question, and I was happy to see that there are in fact benefits to steaming. The main benefit here (which is something the steam room has over the sauna) is wet humidity.
1. Improves circulation
Steaming is officially good for the heart! Sitting in there helps your cardiovascular health, particularly in older folks, and moist heat can especially help your extremities, and heal broken skin tissue.
2. Lowers your blood pressure
Research has shown that in a steam room, some of our bodies release a hormone that can change our heart rate. One of these released hormones is called aldosterone, which works to regulate your blood pressure.
3. Reduces stress
Steaming can reduce your cortisol - the hormone that regulates your levels of stress. When your cortisol drops, you feel relaxed and in control. Spending a few minutes in this relaxed state improves your health, and also helps to improve your focus.
4. Good for your skin
I was praying that this one would make it on the list. I always walk out of the steam room feeling like my skin is better, but not knowing if it actually is. Steam rooms use moist heat to open your pores, and the warm condensation cleans your skin and prevents breakouts. This helps to leave your skin clear, and even helps even out the tone.
There are also a host of other benefits, such as
Helping your muscles recover after working out
Loosening stiff joints
Burning calories (seriously)
Boosting your immune system
What’s the right way to use the steam room while I’m in it?
Time: 15 minutes, no more than 20 (anything more is dehydrating)
Showering before: Recommended to for your skin, but not necessary
Towel or bare: Bare all on the towel, a lot of germs can live in a steam room
Drinking water: Best to do before, during and after, feel free to bring a water bottle in!
And there you have it! Tell me where else you get to see naked women, burn calories, and clear your skin at the same time. Maybe if you’re watching porn on an elliptical as your dermatologist gives you Fraxel, but otherwise the odds are pretty low.
So the next time you see that mythical steam room in the gym and walk by it, consider dropping trou and heading in for 10 minutes. It could change your fucking life.