aromaSpa Benefits: Dry vs. Steam
Dry Heat vs Steam
The effectiveness of hyperthermia directly correlates with the ability to eliminate heat loss during treatments. As the patient's temperature begins to rise, the body's natural response is to perspire so that the evaporation of the perspiration will cool the body. In dry heat or in radiant heat sauna, undesirable cooling undermines hyperthermia by the natural evaporation process. However, in a steam bath, evaporation is not possible and therefore allows little or no loss of valuable body heat. The moisture level actually causes condensation on the body to become the primary heat transfer mechanism heating the body. You still perspire as heavily, it just doesn't evaporate and dry on the skin. The powerful cleansing and healing process of hyperthermia does not take place until the body reaches 101 -103 F. With steam, this is accomplished quickly and effectively and does not require long periods of time. "Heat loss by evaporation in a dry sauna is considerably greater than in a humid sauna or steam room." Annuls of Clinical Research, vol. 20, pages 240-243, 1988 According to the book Alternative Medicine, compiled by Burton Goldberg Group, and published by Future Medicine, Puyallup, Washington, 1993, on page 303, "Doctor Lewis describes a patient who was being treated at the Natural Health Clinic at Bastyr College using hyperthermia produced with a steam cabinet."
In a 1989 study, researchers conducted experiments which showed the desired higher heat stress ratings attained with the use of humid heat rather than dry heat. This study consisted of two groups of healthy males age 24 +/- 4 years. Both groups were exposed to 22 minutes of dry heat at 80(C). Following this, both groups showed an oral temperature of 37.3 +/- 0.4 (99.14 F). Group A was then exposed to 16 minutes dry heat at 80 C for an oral temperature of 37.5 +/- 0.3 (99.5 F) and a heat stress rating of 3.8 +/- 0.4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Group B on the other hand, was exposed to only 10 minutes of humid heat which was much less time than Group A, yet exhibited an oral temperature of 39.5 C +/- 0.7( 103.1(F) with a heat stress rating of 8.4 +/- 1.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (1989), vol. 58, pages 543-550. Haemodynamic and Hormonal Responses to Heat Exposure in a Finnish Sauna Bath.