T Nation

Are Steamrooms Effective for Recovery?

My new gym has a dry heat steam room, so I’ve been going in there for about 15 minutes after I workout. I can’t tell if it makes a difference. Today I actually lost track of time pondering the stock market shitting itself and ended up in there for almost a half hour at 189 degrees…THAT was probably over doing it…but when kept within reasonable bounds has it been shown to have a positive (or negative) effect on recovery?

couldnt tell you any scientific reasoning but i love the feeling of sitting in the sauna, steamroom, ice cold shower, than repeat after a workout

Steam rooms are great for overall health, and a steam room then a cold shower will get the blood flowing post workout which is good, but I wouldn’t go into a sauna at the expense of getting in post workout nutrition

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Do you understand the differance between a steam room and a suana?
A suna uses dry hot air, and cuases you to sweat.
A steam room uses wet steam, the steam builbs up on your skin making it look like you sweat.

Both of these are good to loosen up the muscles. Loosening up the muscles is good because then they are more pliable. For example you could do a nice long stretching session after this and take full advantage of the loose muscles and try to get your ROM back or even increase it. By lengthening the muscles you are helping them recomvery.

Also by sweating you are elminating toxins that are there.

I wouldnt do it after training,unles you goal is pure weight loss.

After a training session I always cold bath or cold shower. Then maybe 2 days later do the sauna or steam room.

I spend 10min in, 1 min cold shower, 10min in & finish with another cold shower whenever possible - minimum once per week.

I spend 10min in, 1 min cold shower, 10min in & finish with another cold shower whenever possible - minimum once per week.

I find it best as a means of relaxing on off days.

I would put a postworkout shake and geting rehydrated in higher priority than this for recovery.

Definitly bring a bottle of water in with you if possible.

I’ve always preferred a hot tub, with maybe an attractive female massage therapist. Oh and she is into bodybuilding and wants to help me relax my muscles so I can do better on stage.

We can all dream right. lol

DG

I’ve suspected it might be countering recovery but I often go for a super hot bath just because it feels so good. A cold bath sounds unbearable. I don’t think I could do it.

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’ve suspected it might be countering recovery but I often go for a super hot bath just because it feels so good. A cold bath sounds unbearable. I don’t think I could do it.[/quote]

I used to do an ice bath after my baseball games (catcher). It isn’t fun during the bath but later on you feel great.

DG

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
IMO (and from info I have read on physiology), a steam room, or any other hot environment is counterproductive to recovery.

I believe this is because the heat exacerbates the inflammatory response induced by muscle damage during exercise.

If pro athletes use ice baths to enhance recovery, it makes sense to avoid the opposite.

BBB[/quote]

I could be totally wrong here, but don’t athletes use ice baths not because of muscle damage, but for joint recovery? You don’t want inflamed joints, but I thought inflammation was important for muscle growth. That is why anti-inflammatories aren’t recommended for optimal gains.

I start off hot and do my stretching in the shower.

Then after I finish stretching I switch it to cold.

Been doing this for a long time and it works like a charm, feels amazing too.

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I used to love going in the steam room at the YMCA after i worked out. All it took was one fatass who was sitting above me to stand up and wipe the sweat from his naked thighs off, which landed all over my face and shoulder.

As far as if it is effective or not, I really couldn’t say, but I would doubt it would make much of a difference. If you enjoy it, go for it.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Thomas Gabriel wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
IMO (and from info I have read on physiology), a steam room, or any other hot environment is counterproductive to recovery.

I believe this is because the heat exacerbates the inflammatory response induced by muscle damage during exercise.

If pro athletes use ice baths to enhance recovery, it makes sense to avoid the opposite.

BBB

I could be totally wrong here, but don’t athletes use ice baths not because of muscle damage, but for joint recovery? You don’t want inflamed joints, but I thought inflammation was important for muscle growth. That is why anti-inflammatories aren’t recommended for optimal gains.

You might be right, however I suspect it also has to do with the fact that endurance athletes are training every single day. Yes we need a degree of inflammation to aid muscle breakdown and hence repair, but generally the inflammatory process goes a little too far and moderating it has benefits, especially when you need to use that muscle again the following day.

Also consider that engurance athletes don’t want big muscles but place more importance on vO2max, so whilst the ice bath might not be optimal for muscle growth, that doesn’t matter to them, since they want to go out and improve their vO2max again tomorrow, on muscles that are not sore.

BBB[/quote]

I don’t think the jury is in as to whether anti-inflammatories effect muscle growth or not.

Athletes do use ice for joint recovery but it is also used for blood flow, and recovery. Supposedly the process of putting ice on an area causes the vessels to constrict and limit blood flow, and when you take it off you get more of a rush similar to a backed up pipe. It’s supposed to be more effective alternating ice and heat. It’s also supposed to limit the first half of the muscle damage repair cycle. The weights cause the micro trauma, but repair doesn’t begin right after. First the body is supposed to stop the blood flow to the area similar to a scab/scar then rebuild the tissue under. The ice limits the scab/scar process after it’s done the new blood starts the repair.

These are just added theories I’ve heard, not an argument for or against.