Imagine yourself surrounded by the movement of warm air, particles of water traveling through like a warm mist from a tropical waterfall. The mist collecting on the skin encourages the gentle opening of the skin pores and as the body warms, the muscles relax. As the muscles relax, the mind calms and the activity of the body is given priority to the bustle of daily life.
As the body warms, the blood flow shifts to the periphery. As the blood moves to the periphery, it leaves the interior and the organs end up with a reduced amount of blood. This serves the purpose of maintaining the desired internal temperature and keeping the organs cool. The skin pores open with the hope that the effect of moisture on the body surface will meet a cool breeze and carry away the excess heat, allowing the body to cool overall. While in the containment of a steam room, there is no hope of cooling as the surrounding air becomes warmer and warmer. The body temperature increases. More blood flow shifts to the skin and the pores open larger and the body fluid exits as sweat.
The great benefit of this process is that a large amount of environmental toxins get stored within the subcutaneous tissues. This is the layer just beneath the skin. As the pores open and sweat is released, these toxins have a direct route to exit the body. Increasing the body temperature activates the immune system, similar to the effect of a fever. This results in even greater detoxification as the macrophages and other mechanisms of house cleaning come alive.
When a person leaves a steam room, the circulatory shift has left the blood at the periphery. If the person departs and goes about their daily business, the heat leaves the body gradually, the pores stay open and the interior grows cooler and cooler. Unless the person has a high body temperature to begin with, this process leaves the person in greater detriment than benefit with a reduced core body temperature.
In the traditional practice of hydrotherapy, the balance of body temperature is of utmost importance. When the pores are opened to entice detoxification, they must then be closed. Ending a steam with cold contrast is an essential piece of the therapy. The cold temperature on the skin surface not only provides a relief from the heat but also closes the skin pores, shrinks the peripheral capillaries and encourages the blood flow to move toward the interior. The net effect is an immense circulatory exchange, as if the organs of the body were wrung out like a towel with the blood flow drifting to the periphery, then rushing back internally.
At the Natural Health Center we provide steam therapy in a traditional Russian Steam Bath. This is a device that a person sits in upright with the head exposed to the open air. As the steam fills the container and surrounds the body with warmth, the head is kept cool and able to breath easily. This helps prevent the internal body from overheating. Additionally, the shift in temperature happens so gradually that the effect of the steam is very comfortable. For people who dislike heat or who do not like to sweat, the Russian Steam is a great way to train the body to be more productive in eliminating through the skin. Midway through the treatment, a salt scrub is applied to the extremities to again encourage the pores to open. Then the steam ends with a cold scrub from feet to head to close the pores and return the bloodflow to the interior.
This treatment is a 60 minute appointment. Cost is $20. Add a 30 minute massage after the steam for an exceptional treatment! Call the Natural Health Center to schedule your appointment today. 503-552-1551