What Is the Best Way To Use a Steam Room?

Woman relaxing in spa
woman relaxing in steam room (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Dating back to ancient Greece, the steam room is a common amenity in pools and fitness centers. Normally consisting of a simple tile room with a steam generator, the steam room is popular for its relaxing effects. Follow some simple steps to make the most of your next steam room visit.

Step 1

Shower first. A shower will keep the steam room pleasant for both you and other visitors by removing any dirt, body odor or perfume. If you use a swimming pool before you take a steam, a shower will also remove chlorine.

Step 2

Stay protected. The moist, wet tile in the steam room can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. According to AthleticBusiness.com, bacteria such as athlete's foot and MRSA are serious concerns in shared facilities. Keep yourself safe by sitting on a towel and wearing shower shoes while in the steam room.

Step 3

Watch the temperature. A steam room should maintain a temperature between 110 and 116 degrees Fahrenheit. If the mist remains constant, the humidity in a steam room should stay above 100 percent.

Step 4

Set time limits. Spa expert Reinhard R. Bergel, Ph.D., recommends steam sessions of no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. For multiple sessions, take a break between steams using cool air or water to lower your body temperature. Alternating between hot and cold helps stimulate circulation.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel

  • Shower shoes

Tip

If you are new to the steam room, it may take you a while to get used to the high temperatures. Start out by limiting your exposure to only five minutes at a time,

Warning

The high temperatures of the steam room can have potentially dangerous effects. Do not use a steam room if your body temperature is already elevated due to exercise or climate. Avoid dehydration by drinking water before, during and after your steam bath. Consult a physician before using a steam room.

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