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Steam and Sauna

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Aromatherapy History

For thousands of years, people of all cultures have indulged in the soothing warmth of aromatic steams baths. The Romans are well known for their elaborate baths. The wealthy of 200 B.C. India did not consider their mansions complete unless it included a bathhouse with a steam room. The Muslim Hamma, or bathhouse, with its domed, central steam chamber is still an integral part of life in Muslim countries. A derivation of the Humman, the Turkish bath, has been popular in Europe for centuries. In the New Worlde, stone houses or temezcals were used by the Toltecs and the Aztecs to treat physical and mental problems. These were small rooms of adobe or stone built adjacent to the temples. Opposite the tiny entrance was a section that contained a little lake of hot water and stones. The lake was covered over with all manner of fragrant flowers, heating them and releasing their essential oils into the steamy vapors, creating a stimulating effect on circulation and the metabolism.
In Finland, sauna-bathing is a way of life. They say it gives them as much strength as rest or sleep. Most people think of the finnish sauna as a dry heat bath, but in fact, the Finns throw water on the the hot stones that warm the sauna to create what is known as "loyly," a sudden burst of steam that creates a moist heat in the sauna. According to an old proverb, the steam sauna was called "the hospital of the poor" and "the medicine of the poor" and "the medicine of Finland."
The steam bath has been enjoyed for the benefits of total relaxation of mind and body; to ease stress; relieve muscle tension and stiff joints; sweat out body toxins; stimulate circulation; increase body metabolism; keep skin glowing and youthful and to alleviate sinus congestion due to colds, asthma or allergies.
Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, used steam bathing, stating "Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease." This is the exactly what researcher are finding to be true. Fever is one of the body's most powerful defenses against disease. Fever raises the body's temperature above normal in an attempt to destroy invading organisms and sweat impurities out of the system. Fever is a highly effective and natural process of curing disease and restoring health, and has been recognized as such for thousands of years. Hyperthermia deliberately creates fever in the patient in order to utilize this natural healing response. Steam bathing is the most effective method to create a state of hyperthermia.

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