Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's better - Steam or Sauna?

The contents provided are for your information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your medical doctor or other qualified health professional for further medical advice.

Know where to go to heat things up and cool off the stress.

Sauna: As your circulatory system feels the heat, it starts working harder. "The blood-flow boost can lower artery plaque, which is the primary precursor of heart attacks," says Angela Bonner, spa expert. Time to stock up on some dry heat eh?
Steam Room: "Breathing and holding in the hot, moist air relieves muscle soreness, as well as improving airflow in the lungs to loosen tight airways and relieve asthma," says Dr Atul Mathur, director of interventional cardiology, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Delhi.
Result: DRAW

Sauna: You can lose up to 500gm in 10 minutes. Japanese researchers found saunas actually work your heart hard enough to constitute light exercise.
Steam Room: You can lose up to 125g in 10 minutes. Your heart won't be working as hard as it would in sauna therapy, so virtually every gram of weight you lose will be in the form of sweat.

Sauna: "Your capillaries will dilate more to push the heat out of your system, but your body will sense the dry heat and try to resist, in order to retain moisture, trapping dirt in your follicles," says Dr Shehla Agarwal, a New Delhi-based dermatologist.
Steam Room: "The 'wet heat' encourages your pores to open more fully, which helps release dirt and chemicals trapped in them. Best shower afterwards if you don't like the 'sticky' look," says Dr Agarwal.

Sauna: A recent study in the University of Otago found a post-workout sauna can actually impair recovery. "A cold plunge will help you recover faster," says Vishhal Chand Mehra, spa director, Ranjit's Caasa, Heritage boutique, wellness resort and spa.
Steam Room: "The steam will ease your breathing and you're less likely to suffer dehydration than in a sauna, which basically gives your body a greater chance to recover," says Mehra.

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