There has been a boom in the fitness industry and many gyms are educating their clients propagating this as a method of weight loss for those who don’t want to exercise hard. What’s actually happening here?
To understand this, we need to know about the types of weight loss that can occur:
1. Fat loss
2. Muscle loss
3. Water loss
4. A combination of any of the above.
Fat loss occurs when the situations are right, and the body utilises fat for energy and burns it right off.
Muscle loss occurs when you starve. This is not a very healthy way to lose weight, and the weight lost will rebound, and be even harder to get rid of than before.
WATER LOSS: since water occupies 70% of our body, it is common sense that water loss occurs whenever you exercise, via sweat, or urine when one drinks water to hydrate after exercise.
STEAM BATHS make use of the last method and make you sweat loads, while keeping you relaxed. While this may be an easy way to ‘weight loss’ for some, this does not improve your health in any way, and the weight lost will rebound once you drink water to hydrate!
ARE STEAM BATHS TOTALLY USELESS?
I wouldn’t say no, because they help one to relax following a good workout, and relaxation is essential for the mind – body- connection and for good results. Saunas have the same effect, except they use dry heat instead of moist heat.
WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE?
Treating steam baths like an ordinary hot shower or warm compresses at home is the way to go about things. Use it for relaxation, and not for weight loss. There is nothing dead wrong in using this method, but use it with the right intention.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO STEAM BATHS?
The side effects for these are the same as when our bodies lose excessive water normally – that’s dehydration. Make sure you drink lots of water following your steam bath. Prolonged and continuous exposure can cause kidney damage when one does not hydrate properly.
Use steam baths to relax, keep exposure time limited, leave the room when you feel dizzy. Hydrate well and don’t give up on exercise and diet just because you are going for ‘steaming therapy’.
Remember – true weight loss is fat loss, not water loss!
(I’m a certified fitness trainer and eye surgeon from Trichy, India)