Just about everyone enjoys the beauty of springtime. The blooming flowers, inviting sunlight, and blossoming trees are a joy to behold after the cold conclusion of winter. However, seasonal allergy sufferers may hate, as much as they love, the first signs spring. More than 50 million Americans experience some time of allergy each year. The sniffling and sneezing that accompanies seasonal allergies can be incessant and frustrating. While there exists a multitude of ways to treat this pesky bug, what your respiratory system may be in search of is a full body cleanse.
Allergy irritants can land on our skin, eyes, nose, and lungs; eliciting all kinds of obnoxious reactions. One of the best ways to get relief from these persistent buggers is to wash them away. A shower is always a great place to start after you’ve spent time outside or exposed to your most common allergens. You can cleanse surface dwellers from your skin and hair to reduce your reaction. To breathe even easier, make plans to hit the steam room.
Steam rooms generally run at 110°-114° F. Fueled by boiling water in a generator, that cranks the humidity to >100%. Although cooler than a sauna, steam rooms will feel even hotter because it strips the body’s ability to cool itself by sweating. That hot moist air loosens airways and clears nasal passages (if you’re stuffy, be prepared with towels or tissues!). While pollen itself is harmless, our bodies response is what makes us sneeze and cough. Your body sends signals to launch histamine which increasing blood flow and inflammation. It tells your brain to sneeze to remove pollen particles. You start to create more mucus which can lead to stuffy or runny noses, which in turn can lead to coughing. Histamine can also cause itchy eyes, nose, or throat.
So that warm, moist air in a steam room comes to the rescue. Free of foreign particulates, steam can safely allow your body to naturally remove allergens and dust that can aggravate your symptoms. Steam rooms encourage deep, measured breathing which can open up airways and clear the lungs. Paired with an essential oil such as eucalyptus, a steam room session can be the strongest tool you have to fight persistent respiratory allergies.
If a steam room isn’t available, it’s a common recommendation to place your face over a hot bowl of water, draping a towel over your head to create a tent. While mildly effective, a fully body steam has amazing capabilities of relaxing and cleansing you from head to toe.