Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Are Steam Rooms Bad For You?

Also Known As: steam shower, steam bath



Short answer

Steam rooms are excellent for you and carry several health benefits. It should be noted, however, that the extreme levels of heat can pose various complications on those with preexisting heart conditions.



Long answer

Steam rooms are very good for you provided you don't spend too long in one at any single time. While too much time in a steam room can lead to dizziness and rapid heartbeat, a moderate amount of time spent in one can do wonders for your health. A steam room is built so that a steam generator boils water and releases it as steam into the air. Due to a steam room being primarily airtight, humidity builds to 100%, with water condensing on the walls. And if you haven't previously been in a steam room, this condensation does not lead to people getting soaked with water, because of the sloping ceilings found in (most) steam rooms. 

As is the case with saunas (which produce dry heat), the heat in a steam room helps improve blood circulation, promotes muscle relaxation, and induces sweating. Sweating helps to clean the pores, purifying the skin and helping to detoxify the body. Furthermore, sweating helps in weight loss. Steam is also good for thinning and opening mucous membranes, which can alleviate sinus pressure, give relief to people with bronchitis, and reduce an asthmatic fit. 

Besides its benefits for the respiratory and circulatory systems, a steam bath simply feels good. It is an excellent way to relax and reduce stress, thereby reducing the risk of hypertension.

Although rare, people with heart conditions should note that the intense levels of heat can pose various complications. As an example, the American Heart Association states that using a steam room with high blood pressure can cause the blood vessels to dilate, and thereby cause shortness of breath and / or chest pain. It is always best to err on the side of caution and immediately exit the steam room upon noticing any unusual feelings or pains. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • may cause dizziness if used for a long time
  • may cause rapid heart beat if used for a long time
  • may cause complications in people with heart conditions


  • opens up mucous membranes
  • relieves sinus pressure
  • reduces stress
  • increases blood circulation
  • aids in weight loss
  • aids in detoxification

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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-22-2016

Written by Jeff Volling
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