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Steam Rooms and Sauna's?

I recently joined a gym and the ammenities are amazing including a steam room and sauna... I have zero experience with either one. Was hoping some of you could tell me about them, your experiences, what you like, what you don't, benefits? Which should I try... You know... that kind of stuff. Thanks.

Tue. Jun 12, 11:17pm

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good question???? I am curious to see what people have to say about this. I don't know either.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 8:54 PM

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this is a good question, too bad no one is responding other than us who want to know... obviously one is wet steam and the other is dry but what's the benefits of each?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:01 PM

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I recently read in UltraMetabolism by Dr. Mark Hyman, that saunas and steam baths help with weight loss. It is relaxing, which lowers cortisol levels and consequently reduces hunger. He also says that saunas help detoxify your system and increase circulation, so everything works more efficiently!

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:12 PM

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Eskimo Macki aka Steam Bath.

I was raised with a steam bath in the back yard. A barrel stove covered with river rocks placed in an area dug out lower than the sitting bench.
The ladies and the men steamed seperately and in the nude.
The steam baths were a couple hours long and were a time for long discussions.
If something was "said" in the "steam" it was considered gospel truth.
First we would bring private wash cloths and a small towel to sit on and a private washing pan, which was placed under the bench beneath your seat.
A large bucket of water on the hot stove soon heated up. Another bucket of cold water was kept on the floor.
A small bit of splashing water is thrown against the hot rocks and makes steam which hits the low ceiling and rolls down on your back.
A person can breath thru a dampened washcloth to protect the face.
This is done for quite some time, just steaming. When a person gets too hot they go outside and stand in the -15 degrees cold air and watch the Northern Lights dashing back in to steam again.
After and hour or so, the wash pan is filled with parts hot and cold water and soaps brought out. A full washing and splashing happens. This usually signals the end of the Steam for that group.
The benches are washed down and the fire stoked back up and the water buckets filled for the next group.
A good hot steam has many health benefits.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:19 PM

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to 10:19--- Sounds like you have a short story on your hands.... I'm a writer and would love to get more details... WOW. very captivating, ritualistic, and beautiful. Do tell more, if not for the threads sake, for my own "new material".

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:24 PM

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saunas are great... here's some good info to convince you

During a 10-20 minute sauna session, the heart rate increases by 50-75%. The increased cardiac load is the equivalent to a brisk walk. There is a nominal effect on blood pressure because the heat also causes blood vessels in skin to dialate, accommodating increased blood flow.

Blood vessels become more flexible and there is increased circulation to the extremities. During a sauna, blood flow to the skin increases to as high as 50-70% of cardiac output (compared to the standard 5-10%). This is due to the blood vessels in the skin's surface expanding to accommodate the increased blood flow, a process known as vasodilation. This increased blood flow brings important nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue, promoting cellular activity and growth.[citation needed] It is especially beneficial to areas of the skin which normally suffer from poor circulation. Along with nourishing the skin, the high temperatures also cause the skin's 2 million eccrine glands to excrete sweat to cool down the skin and blood capillaries. Research has shown that sweat is much more effective than water at emulsifying fat located in the skin's sebaceous glands, and thus at removing the sebum and bacteria lodged in the fat. The vasodilation caused by the high temperatures also allows essential fluids to be transported to the skin's surface. This enhances the development of collagen, giving the skin a continued elasticity and wrinkle-free complexion.

Steambaths and saunas induce perspiring to provide a comprehensive cleansing of the skin and sweat glands. Skin is the largest organ in the body. 30% of body wastes are passed through the skin. Profuse sweating enhances the detoxifying capacity of the skin by opening pores and flushing impurities from the body.

When taking a sauna, skin temperature rises to 40°C (104°F) and internal body temperature rises to about 38°C (100.4°F). Exposure to the high heat creates an artificial fever state, a process known as hyperthermia. Fever is part of the body’s natural healing process. Fever stimulates the immune system, resulting in increased production of disease fighting white blood cells, antibodies and interferon (an anti viral protein with cancer fighting capability).

Steam inhalation is an excellent treatment for many respiratory problems. For example, the moist air in saunas can relieve throat irritation. Steam also loosens secretions and can stimulate discharge of mucous from the lungs and throat, giving relief to sufferers of bronchitis. Finally, steam can also aid sinusitis by relieving congestion and inflammation of the upper respiratory mucous membranes. An occasional secondary occurrence caused by breathing in the steam-- In some cases and with some people, if they have a weak respiratory system, example; the infection of a common cold or sore throat, may be carried into the lungs causing it to spread. This is uncommon but does occur. However, to counter this from happening a small opening for the head in the wall of the sauna at the level of the seat will allow the persons head to be outside the sauna (on a small shelf) and thus the benefit of the 38°C (100.4°F) still takes place without the fear of increasing the infection.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 10:45 PM

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would you please cite your source for the above article? i'd love to read more. thanks!

Friday, June 22, 2007, 1:52 PM

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here's a hint - do not wear your sweaty clothes or dry clothes into the steam room - swimsuit works best. Never sit in the steam room/sauna if you are sweaty from working out. First shower. Do not wear wet swimsuit into the dry sauna. Only a towel.

Friday, June 22, 2007, 2:16 PM

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Lifetime Fitness has both and I rarely use the sauna (the dry one). It's unisex and out by the hottub...bathing suits are mandatory and I really don't care for the dry heat.

The steam room is in the womens locker room and I LOVE getting in there after working out. If it's not during the busy times, I'll put some deep conditioner in my hair and/or rub down with a moisturizing and exfoliating body treatment (taking care not to get it all over the place, of course)..push back my cuticles,'s like a mini-spa treatment in there. :)

take full advantage of it!

Friday, June 22, 2007, 2:42 PM

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thanks for the "hint" 2:16 but would you like to be more specific? Why no bathing suits in the dry sauna?

Monday, June 25, 2007, 1:01 AM

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You could wear a dry bathing suit in a dry sauna, but a wet bathing suit will change the humidity of the room (by drying in the sauna). The suggestions really were for the benefit of others, I think. If you're the only one using the sauna, a wet bathing suit probably doesn't matter much, if you don't mind "steaming" yourself dry! Though, alternately, the water could end up so hot before it evaporates that it might hurt!

Monday, June 25, 2007, 12:09 PM

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You can wear dry swimsuits, 2:16. But wearing wet creates a steam room, not a specifically "dry" sauna. The dry air has specific qualities that you may not want change.

Thursday, July 12, 2007, 3:45 PM

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Growing up in a finnish family, we always took saunas. It is fabulous dry heat, but the finns use the wet heat too. There are rocks on top of the stove and you pour water on to them and feel the steam as it rises up to the bench you are on. A sauna is a bath...There is water, maybe not at a work out place but in any "authentic" sauna.

Thursday, July 12, 2007, 4:45 PM

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