Steam Bath Benefits & Tips
What’s in it for you & steamy suggestions

Through thousands of years in many cultures steam bath benefits were something almost magical, even spiritual sometimes. How such a simple treatment could have such positive effects was often as misty as the steam rooms themselves

steam bath benefits

The ancient Greeks already made heavy use of it and the Romans perfected and spread the use of it throughout their empire. But also the Turkish, Russian & Native American or Mayan steam baths (called Temazcal) can be traced back through the mists of time (enough with the mist jokes now…)

The difference between a sauna
and steam bath?

A steam bath and sauna are basically alike, they both make you sweat, but there are some subtle differences, most notably the atmospheric conditions

steam bath benefits

The sauna has very low humidity which means it can be much hotter than a steam bath. Saunas are usually between 176°F (80°C) and 212°F (100°C) with low humidity +/-10%, while a steam bath is usually around 104°F (40°C) to 116°F (46°C) with a relative humidity of around 100%

If it would be any hotter in a steam bath it would feel too hot or even scald your skin. The dry heat of the sauna makes that the high temperature is not only safe but also quiet pleasurable seeing its popularity

In a steam bath the room should also be constantly filled with steam. For all scientific purists: yes we know it should actually be called mist, but who are we to change the name into mist bath…although it has a fresh and foggy sound to it we have to admit

Steam bath benefits

The steam bath benefits can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Physical health benefits
  • Mental health benefits
  • Skin health benefits

Physical steam bath benefits

This healthy sweating is known to be helpful with respiratory troubles like

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughs
  • Hoarseness
  • Allergies

It helps to clear the mucus from your lungs; and the warm, humid air soothes your airways

But it has also proven helpful for detoxification, having positive effects on liver and circulation problems

For many people, taking a steam bath also has proven beneficial in relieving symptoms of

  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatism
  • Stiff joints
  • Muscular pain
  • Muscular tension

These last two are especially useful after you have done a serious bodily workout. In this case a steam bath works in two ways; it eases the pain and speeds up the healing of hurt tissues and muscles

The heat enlarges your blood vessels which in turn boosts your blood circulation, this makes that oxygen and nutrients can get to the injured parts of your body more easily

Mental steam bath benefits

Steam baths can also be very healthful when it comes to your state of mind; it loosens you up mentally. It is a well known relaxant that can help you overcome

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping disorders (especially through over-excitability)
  • Negative energies

Sitting in a steam bath = total relaxation

Feeling both relaxed AND recharged when you come out of it

steam bath benefits total relaxation

Steam bath benefits for your skin

Finally there are of course the steam bath benefits for your skin, something us ladies are most interested in

Better than soap and water

steam bath benefits better than soap and water

A good sweat is perfect to keep your skin healthy; every dermatologist will tell you that serious sweating cleans the skin better than any soap and water. It stimulates the blood flow under your skin, opens up your pores and washes out more dirt, dead skin cells & more yucki stuff than whatever product you can think of

The heat also opens up your veins bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your skin surface, which is no punishment to say it gently

It will make your skin feel clean, soft, supple and smooth as silk; no doubt you’ll come out of it with a healthy glow as well, feeling re-energized and recharged

This of course makes it also a good natural way to fight the symptoms of

  • Dry skin
  • Chapped skin
  • Eczema or Dermatitis
  • Acne

...and more skin conditions

Steam bath suggestions and tips

To get the most steam bath benefits the most effective way would be to install a steam bath cabin or upgrade your shower to a steam shower status. This is also the most expensive way and doesn’t really fit within everybody’s budget or available floor surface

There are however more affordable options to give your health and skin some steamy treatments

Steamy hot shower

steam bath benefits, steamy shower

Close all doors and windows, seal with a towel if necessary but make sure there is still enough ventilation. Crank up the hot water, set it as hot as you can stand or simply totally open the hot water without standing under it

This will work almost the same as a full blown steam shower and opens up your pores just as well

Facial sauna system or facial steamer

A nice and helpful appliance especially designed for steaming your face. No doubt very useful, but whoever is on a tight budget can make one right there at home

Homemade facial steam bath or facial sauna 

Take a pan or pot and fill it with preferably spring or distilled water. Heat it up until it starts to boil

Add essential oils, herbs or leaves of choice (more about them later.) Stir a little and there you go, your home spa experience begins

steam bath benefits, homemade facial steam bath

Put it in front of you on a table and hang over the pan at a comfortable distance +/- 10 in. (25cm) so you can inhale the healthy steam and/or let it clean your face. Close your private "steam room" by covering your head and the pan with a towel; this will make it more powerful

Do we need to say to be very careful with hot steamy water and your skin? Ah...I think we just did…

It's getting hot in here...

Whenever it’s getting too hot or you feel the need to get some fresh air take away the towel and take a nice deep breath and cover up again, no problem

We finish a "facial steam room" by splashing our face with cold spring ordistilled water just like in a regular spa. Makes your really feel refreshed and clean. After that gently pat your skin dry

Clean even before you start

Make sure you clean your face before you start, take off dirt, make up etc, this way the steam treatment will be more efficient for your skin Ah yes and also be careful with metal necklaces, rings etc (we talk experience here…)

Warm compress

steam bath benefits

Yes we know it’s not really a steam bath, but for opening up your pores to give them a good cleaning this one is also very useful

Put a warm compress on your face for about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure it’s not too hot and that the cloth or towel you use is clean

Aromatic essential oils to promote your steam bath benefits

steam bath benefits, essential oils

For the ultimate steam bath experience you can add some healing aromatic essential oils to the equation. Good for your skin and health in general

Mix some drops of your favorite essential oil or oils with some carrier oil like olive or sweet almond. Put it in a dispenser or simply in a small bowl so that the oils will mix with the steam from your steamy bath. When you use a simple homemade facial steam bath or facial sauna add 4-5 drops to the steaming water

This will definitely be a satisfying and relaxing end to your day

Some useful essential oils

  • Almond
  • Angelica
  • Bergamot
  • Bois de rose
  • Cajeput
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Carrot
  • Carrot seed
  • Castor
  • Clary-sage
  • Cedar wood
  • Coriander
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Evening primrose
  • Fennel
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper berry
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Marjoram
  • Melisa
  • Myrtle
  • Neroli
  • Niaouli
  • Orange
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Petitgrain
  • Red mandarine
  • Rosalina
  • Rose
  • Rosewood
  • Sandalwood
  • Soy
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver
  • Wheat germ
  • Yarrow
  • Ylang-ylang

Herbs for more steam bath benefits

steam bath benefits herbs

Another option is of course adding fresh or dried herbs to your home spa sauna experience. You can simply put them in your steam room/ bath room while you steam it up, the steam will do the rest

In case of the facial sauna or steam bath you add one or some of these to the water before or after you heated it up. We prefer to put the herbs in the water before we heat it up, this way you probably get more of the benefits

Some useful herbs and leaves

  • Anise hyssop
  • Burdock root
  • Calendula
  • Camphor
  • Chamomile
  • Comfrey
  • Dandelion root
  • Elder flower
  • Eucalyptus
  • Evening primrose
  • Fireweed
  • Goldenseal
  • Horsetail
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Milk thistle
  • Pine
  • Red clover leaf
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Wintergreen
  • Spruce
  • Yarrow

There are of course many more essential oils and herbs or leaves that can boost your steam bath benefits. Take a look around and find out which one(s) are to your taste or suit your specific needs


We know a steam bath is very relaxing, but you should make sure that you don’t stay in a steam bath, steam room or use any other steam option for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Also drink enough water to replenish yourself

If you do several steam baths in succession, start a fresh session only when your body has cooled down. Use fresh air or water for this. If you don’t you could overtax your circulation

When you do use essential oils in an aromatherapy mix, make sure you use therapeutic grade essential oils

When you are pregnant or a nursing mom, it's better not to use essential oils, just to be on the safe side

If you have sunburned or hypersensitive skin, broken veins or inflammation, you should NOT use any steam treatment


And of course if you have high blood pressure, heart or other conditions that could be worsened by a steam treatment, make sure you talk to your doctor first

Continue with facial masks, homemade skin care recipes, natural hair care recipes and natural beauty ideas

...and always remember you're already gifted with the

most effective natural solution available:

Natural home remedies with a genuine smile

And in case that doesn't help, you can find one here at

If you would like to learn more about a steam bath and its benefits you can read this Livestrong steam bath page or try the Wikipedia steam bath page

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