On the underrated virtues of a steambath.

January 9th, 2010


Who knows how long it had been since I had had one? For that matter, how long has it been since YOU had one? To quote an old chili commercial: “Well, partner, that’s too long.”

For several days now I’ve been wrestling with a case of sinus/cough crud that may have started as allergies, but has morphed into something much more dire, not to say bordering on the eldritch. At least, I think of ancient wizards and mummies when I hear my own raspy voice.

Remedies abound, and I’ve tried several: lots of fluids, lots of rest, hot tea, cough syrup, and so on. Though whatever this is has never given me a fever, I felt bad enough on Friday that I stayed home from work — my first sick day in ages. (The two-hour nap in the afternoon was priceless.)

This morning, I woke up before six a.m. coughing like an elderly emphysematic, and with a new twist: my left eye and temple ached from sinus pressure. I’ve had worse, but it wasn’t pleasant, and although I plied myself with lots of hot drinks, a nap (sitting nearly upright), and later a long, hot shower, nothing really took the pressure away.

(Cue two friends of mine who have recommended that I use a neti pot for these occasions. I’m sure they’re right — I just haven’t gotten my act together to acquire one yet.)

So, this afternoon I headed to my gym for a proper old-fashioned steam. I don’t know why I haven’t used the steamroom there more often. The whole place is kept extremely clean, and the pool / hot tub / steamroom area especially so. Anyway, today I finally wised up.

The experience was simple — I sat for a good while in the steam, then soaked in the hot tub, then went back to the steam — and remarkably effective. My sinuses, throat, and lungs felt much better, but so did my skin and muscles. (I’ve missed most of a week of weightlifting sessions because of this crud.) It felt . . . elemental to sit there in the heat, sweating and breathing and thinking of nothing in particular.

My agenda for tomorrow is still pretty loose, but I’ve already inked in one thing: steambath.


(Photo by essers.)

One Response to “On the underrated virtues of a steambath.”

  1. What I’ve Learned So Far » Blog Archive » Workout update, 18 January 2010. Says:

    […] As I mentioned in my recent encomium on the steambath, I’ve been wrestling with a cold/cough/crud for a little while. It kept me out of the gym for a week, but in the past few days I’ve had two weight workouts to knock the rust off. Both of these were full-body workouts, and I liked them enough that I may continue with a full-body routine (rather than the legs/back/chest split I’ve been doing) for a while. […]

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